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5 benefits of selecting adaptive reuse for your next commercial project

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Framework Architects recently had the pleasure of partnering with Gathered Foods to help them realize the vision for their new headquarters at The Yard in Austin, Texas. Gathered Foods, a plant-based consumer packaged goods startup making Good Catch plant-based seafood products, needed a new headquarters that would allow them to manage the business, develop and evaluate recipes, and create original video and photo content. The company’s differentiator is culinary-inspired plant-based foods, and their mission of sustainability was the “north star” in looking for the perfect fit-out space in Austin, Texas.

We propel change through craveable, plant-based food so that all beings, and our planet, can thrive.

- Gathered Foods mission statement

There was a myriad of reasons why Gathered Foods selected The Yard as its home. The Yard is a new development that celebrates community-minded businesses, local entrepreneurs, fresh tech ideas, proper homemade beverages/eats, and South Austin culture. The Yard’s creative and collaborative energy and the sustainable aspects of renovating existing space, made adaptive reuse of a 10,000 square foot portion of warehouse space in Unit-D at The Yard the clear winner. A bonus? The previous tenant began a build-out but could not finish. Fortunately, 30% of the framing and infrastructure already in place aligned nicely with the Gathered Foods program!

As a startup with dreams of highly-functional space, Gathered Foods' budget was tight. But, thanks to existing infrastructure and creative design, the final cost per square foot was low, especially considering the culinary aspects of the program and post-pandemic market conditions.

An article from 2019 on drives home the many levels of sustainability that were realized by the Gathered Foods Team, by opting for an adaptive reuse opportunity instead of a first-generation shell building or a greenfield site.

According to the article, of the ten benefits of adaptive reuse mentioned, the new Gathered Foods Headquarters closely aligned with five of the topics highlighted.

  1. Adaptive reuse is sustainable. Adaptive reuse is sustainable because of the reduction in building materials needed to transform a space. Having the envelope in place and much of the walls and infrastructure available for reuse meant more dollars could be allocated to creating a one-of-a-kind plant-based office headquarters.

  2. Reuse honors the environment. Finding new uses for old buildings significantly reduces the energy consumption associated with demolishing a structure and building a new one to replace it. The founding chefs at Gathered Foods promote a sustainable diet that includes a commitment to respecting the environment.

  3. Financial sustainability is a smart play. Adaptive reuse affords multiple cost benefits by avoiding development or zoning issues and minimizing environmental impacts.

  4. Reuse is a great option for start-ups or niche businesses. According to the article, adaptive reuse can be 16 percent less costly than other forms of construction. Combined with the environmental and sustainability components, reuse makes sense in both the short and long term.

  5. Preserving local identify and sense of place. Cities across the country tend to embrace the concept of adaptive reuse because restoring a historic space helps preserve the sense of place and authentic experiences that cannot be replicated elsewhere, e.g., exactly what The Yard aims to achieve!

Framework’s focus is on honoring the spaces we are entrusted to develop. A city as unique as Austin must have sustainable and authentic experiences for both residents and business owners. Partnering with the Gathered Foods and the Cooley Capital Construction team was an extremely rewarding experience; we looked forward to our regular Wednesday meetings, where we were reminded of the budget but the larger concern was ensuring how the adaptive reuse of this building fully supported the Gathered Foods audacious mission of propelling change in the plant-based market and helping to save our planet. A lofty goal and project? Certainly, but one the project team achieved through dedication and collaboration.

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