EJ Victory Lofts, Paulus Development
Mixed-Use Redevelopment, Johnson City, NY
VIP Architectural Associates
The Victory Lofts project is the adaptive reuse of a 275,000 SF, five-story former shoe factory that had sat vacant for nearly 40 years in Johnson City, NY. The transformation of this iconic building plays an instrumental part in revitalizing the community. The developers came to VIP’s design team with a clear proforma and a target of 150 apartments (20% 2BR and 80% 1BR), one floor of covered parking, and amenities including a fitness center, community room, tech lounge, pet spa, and outdoor patio. Our design team was tasked with creating a program to accommodate the developer’s goals and designing the renovations of the building within State Historic Preservation guidelines. Per the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), any portion of the building that is original must be restored to its period of significance.
VIP worked within SHPO and the owner’s parameters to create a contemporary living environment in a building rich with history. On the interior of the building, columns span the entire building, which runs 704 feet long and only 60 feet deep. The design team cleverly used the existing column bays to inform a unique design layout to visually and programmatically break up the long, symmetrical corridor to space, minimize the disruption of columns within the apartment units, and allow for minor variations with the one- and two-bedroom apartments. Equal consideration was given to the efficiency within each unit through small but strategic decisions to maximize living space in bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms by minimizing the square footage in the corridors, entryways, and bathrooms. Creating such efficient spaces makes even the smaller apartments feel spacious, considering their size. On the exterior, large envelope openings were replaced with operable windows in all living areas to resemble the original design of the factory. In its last operational years, the building openings, 334 in total, were replaced with metal panels penetrated by small windows, making restoring and enhancing the exterior a challenging endeavor.