Rehabilitate.

Chambers, Murphy & Burge led the effort to establish historical significance and place the Akron Soap Company property, 237-243 Furnace Street, on the National Register of Historic Places, thereby establishing the complex’s eligibility for federal and state historic preservation tax incentives. Retained by White Hot Properties to rehabilitate the 1893 masonry and timber framed Akron Soap Company warehouse into office space, CMB provided guidance throughout the project development, design and construction phases.

The Akron Soap Company building is representative of the late 19th century industrial building type, in both its construction methods and its location near an important railway just north of downtown Akron. A simple expression of the Romanesque Revival Style, the building consists of two remaining portions of the original manufacturing complex. The taller portion is a three-story, red brick, bearing wall structure with a heavy timber wood frame interior. The lower portion is two stories tall with the same style and type of construction. Both portions are constructed on a stone foundation with a basement.

Akron Soap Company

Before

Akron Soap Company

After

The Akron Soap Company building represents the development of manufacturing in Akron from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, illustrating changes from a craft-based family business to an industrial corporation. The building was constructed in 1893 by Adam Duncan for his Akron Soap enterprise. The facility produced about 1,125,000 pounds of soap per week. The Soap Company was forced to move because of complaints from neighboring residents about the smells from the rendering process. The Pioneer Cereal Company then purchased and expanded the building. Pioneer was an endeavor by the second generation of Akron's famous Schumacher milling family. The manufacturing use is still evident in the extant features of the building, which have been incorporated into the rehabilitation program.

Akron Soap Company

Before

Akron Soap Company

After

This adaptive use project encompasses a transformation for the soap factory from an industrial space to a creative studio space, now occupied by WhiteSpace Creative, a leading graphics and marketing firm.

Several remnants of manufacturing remain, including gears for belt driven equipment suspended from the third floor trusses; the original freight elevator equipment mounted on a beam on the first floor; and the original steel rainwater cistern re-located to the south as a functioning cistern integrated into the proposed landscape.

After restoring the brick and stone work by gently removing paint and re-painting the masonry, a standing seam metal roof to replace the old enhanced the buildings industrial persona. The remaining original windows and doors were restored, including one metal plated fire shutter and two bead board doors. The wood floors were restored along with the deteriorating wood structural elements.

New MEP services included the following: water service meters, plumbing distribution, and fixtures; electrical service meters, power distribution and fixtures; and, simple, contemporary lighting fixtures compatible with the industrial character of the building; HVAC system.

Services Provided:

  • Contract Documents & Contract Administration
  • Site / Building Evaluation
  • Public Meeting Presentations
  • Historic Research & Building Chronology
  • Document Existing Conditions
  • Code and Regulation Review
  • Building Assessment
  • Preservation Planning
  • Materials Restoration
  • Tax Credits
  • ADA
  • Code and Regulation Review
  • Historic Preservation Certification / Tax Incentives
  • State Historic Preservation Office Coordination