Clay Rockefeller and Nick Bauta, Neighborhood Revitalization Award, Providence Steel & Iron Company, 1 Sims Avenue
When the Providence Steel & Iron Structural Building, built in 1903, was purchased by Milhaus, llc in 2002, the windows had been filled in, the interior as well as exterior brick was in dire need of repointing, and the roof leaked like a sieve. Due to number of complex issues mostly stemming from the fact that the building was situated on a brownfield, it took Milhaus, LLC nearly a decade to complete the building's historic rehabilitation. In an effort to counterbalance the trend of converting historic mills into residential lofts it was Milhaus' mission to develop this building for commercial/industrial use. The 15,000 sf building has been completely renovated and subdivided into 10 units varying in size from 500 sf to 3,000 sf. Thus far, 8 of the 10 units are occupied by a diverse group of businesses and individuals rooted in the creative economy— ranging from TellArt, LLC, an information architecture and design firm, to Ben Watkins Studio, a sculptor and high-end wood worker. Although it is still early in the process, Milhaus, LLC is also excited to be in negotiations with a potential restaurant/bar tenant to occupy one of the two remaining spaces.
In carrying on the historic renovation, Milhaus tried to incorporate as many green features as possible. Their efforts included tightening up the building's envelope (including repointing, double pane argon insulated windows, and insulating the roof), reducing the heat index by choosing to use a white top roofing membrane, the use of high efficiency systems and the implementation of water barrels to harvest roof run off. Furthermore, with the assistance of Alteris Renewables and the RIEDC, this summer Milhaus will be installing and 80 KW solar array on a section of its roof to help offset the buildings utility usage.