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Hans Fedderke

The Berdan Warehouse: An Adaptive Reuse Study

         In its peak, Toledo, OH, was a thriving port city and glass production powerhouse.  However those days have passed and downtown Toledo suffered extensive suburban flight.  An impressive collection of warehouse buildings remain and are severely underutilized.  This thesis proposes an adaptive reuse of the Berdan Warehouse located at 1 S. Erie St. in the heart of downtown Toledo.

         Originally built to house the Berdan Wholesale Grocery, the elegant utilitarian building is both historic and a visual landmark.  Redevelopment efforts have begun in the area known as the “Warehouse District” that largely radiates outward from the Berdan Warehouse.   Directly across the street is Fifth Third Field, the new home of the Toledo Mud Hens, an AAA minor league baseball team.  The completion of the stadium caused a surge of activity in the Warehouse District.  The Berdan Warehouse is a formidable structure of 140,000 square feet spread over five floors.  The detailing is minimal with strong Richardsonian Romanesque influences.  Completed in 1901 – 1902, the building was designed by George Stratford Mills. 

         This thesis will detail the reuse of the Berdan Warehouse.  Historic buildings require a much more comprehensive plan than new construction because of unforeseen obstacles inherent in older buildings.  Further, historic rehabilitation requires extensive knowledge of historic building methods so the proper materials and methods can be specified.  A large component of this thesis is the onsite existing conditions survey and the history of the building.  Recommended remediation is specified based on what will provide the most effective, and historically accurate, final product.  Following the remediation of the shell of the building, interior redesign plans will be presented.  This will include floor plans for all five floors highlighting the conversion from warehouse to residential. 

         Marketing will form the next component of the thesis.  Determining the demand for this project will help tailor the end product to best suit the resident.  A comparative market study was completed on a neighboring project.  To make this project more attractive and environmentally friendly, the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) will be applied.  This section will highlight the benefits and specifications used to obtain LEED Certification.  It will also discuss the inherent efficiencies of preservation and adaptive reuse. 

         The next section will detail the economics of this project.  This section will include information on the application of Historic Tax Credits and an easement as financial tools.  Completing this section will be a functional proforma proving the potential for this project. The summation of all these components will prove the potential for the adaptive reuse of the Berdan Warehouse.


           Hans Fedderke received his BA in Advertising Design from Boston University.  Prior to SAIC, he traveled extensively in Asia.  Always interested in architecture, it was during these travels he decided on seeking further education in Historic Preservation. He plans to continue working with historic buildings and their adaptive reuse while incorporating sustainable design principles.


Thesis Advisors:  Roark Frankel, US Equities
Brad White, LR Realty

Second Reader:  Martha Frisch Okabe, DePaul; SAIC


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