By Matthew Power Although much of this old Florida brewery looks like a carefully restored antique, the true story is more real world: Truckload after truckload of useless infrastructure was carted to the landfill to make way for modern building codes.

"We found it in pretty bad condition," notes architect Stephanie Gaines. "You had to have a map to find your way through it. There were two or three layers of concrete separated by cork. We had to remove all those and pour our own patterned concrete. Some of the 60-foot trusses had been cut away to remove the beer vats. We had to rebuild those."

Using reams of documentation and old photos of the original building, Gaines and builder Joe Kokolakis carefully reconstructed the building. "We repointed every brick in the place," says Gaines. "We also borrowed brick from one old section to replace those in other sections."

Now complete, the building offers 49,217 square feet of leased office space. Design upgrades include many more windows, high-tech wiring hidden behind wide baseboards, and Galvalume steel awnings that suggest storefront openings. The city intends to change the street from a dead end to a thruway and add streetcar service.

Photo: Chroma

Category: Adaptive re-use; Entrant/Architect/Interior Designer: Curts Gaines Hall Architects, Tampa, Fla.; Builder: Kokolakis Contracting, Tarpon Springs, Fla.; Developer: F.B.C.B. LLC, Tampa

Hidden Treasure

To cover the expense of removing old wiring, plumbing, and even floors, architect Stephanie Gaines used a secret weapon--a kickback from the National Park Service. By restoring the building as a landmark in a national historic district, the project got $1 million from the government--enough to bring the hard construction costs below $100 per square foot. The building also qualifies for a 10-year property tax freeze at pre-renovation appraised value.

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