Members of the Town of Florence Historic District Advisory Commission (HDAC), and Town staff recently visited the City of Tucson to analyze successful adaptive reuse and historic preservation projects throughout the metro area. It was a fruitful trip intended to analyze current trends and techniques within the historic preservation community and see what redevelopment and adaptive reuse concepts are applicable to projects here in the Town of Florence.

Cathy Adams, Vice-Chair of HDAC was one of the many attendees.  “The Tucson trip expanded our knowledge of revitalizing historic districts.  We learned Florence is on the right track with our Historic District Guidelines, and our Adaptive Reuse and Infill Programs. We should feel positive about our own revitalization,” says Cathy Adams.

Rick McLain, Partner with Repp+McLain Design and Construction served as a great resource guiding the commissioners and staff to the various rehabilitated historic properties.  Several notable adaptive reuse projects were visited, including the Broadway Village Shopping Center project, which exemplified how individual 1930’s strip center buildings were repurposed into modern restaurants, bars and retail spaces using provisions of the International Building Codes, adaptive reuse policies, and professional partnerships. One of the successful strategies utilized on this project included the phasing of occupancies and improvements that allowed for meeting fire, life and safety codes through a gradual and more affordable process.

The Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink restaurant was another stop on the tour. This project showcased how creative a business can be in re-visioning a historic building. The group truly appreciated the façade enhancements, maintenance of its wood floors, preservation of unique architectural materials and features and the conversion of the former underground mortuary space. This project highlighted design accommodations for modern Codes while preserving historic character.

The trip concluded with an informative meeting with the City of Tucson Historic Preservation Officer, Dr. Jonathan Mabry at Illegal Pete’s.  Illegal Pete’s is another successful adaptive reuse project that was recently completed adjacent to the Main Gate for the University of Arizona.

This trip and future endeavors assist the Town and HDAC in exploring approaches to help with downtown redevelopment and the adaptive reuse of historic buildings.  For any information on historic preservation, adaptive reuse or infill development, please contact the Town of Florence Community Development Department at (520) 868-7546.