It’s difficult to imagine a time when our Charlotte NoDa location was merely a forgotten industrial warehouse with shuttered doors.

The building boasts an ideal location, surrounded by eclectic galleries and music venues in the heart of the city’s historical arts and entertainment district. But before it could become an Industrious location, the structure needed to be brought back to life through adaptive reuse projects — the process of retrofitting a building after it’s been abandoned or its original purpose is rendered obsolete.

Today, bold murals commissioned by a local artist Mike Wirth adorn the interior and exterior of the former warehouse, which is now a bustling office space where artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses gather every week to work towards their goals. But even more shocking than the site’s extreme makeover is the fact that despite opening up April 2020, this location remained effectively full throughout the pandemic. 

We caught up with the teams that undertook this adaptive reuse project to gain a better understanding of what made this project so successful — and why the location continues to thrive in a post-pandemic world.

The Deal

Asana Partners, the landlord of this location, is known for owning and enhancing character-rich properties in dense urban and near-urban locations. With a number of historic properties in their portfolio, they have deep expertise in adaptive reuse and understand the importance of celebrating a property’s history while improving it for today’s consumer. They were involved from the beginning in a collaborative process with the Industrious team—both sides shared a similar vision for a single story office building integrated into the surrounding community.

Charlotte NoDa is the perfect “spoke” location for a company seeking a hub and spoke model approach to working. Through Industrious’ local network, a company has the option to have an office at our Uptown Charlotte location while offering employees the option to work from our Charlotte Noda location for easy access. 

“Industrious strives to work with placemaking thought leaders like Asana. This project, from deal structuring to the construction process was incredibly collaborative. If it hadn’t been for Asana’s support during the beginning of COVID, this project would have taken a different turn,” said Peri Demestihas, Senior Director of Real Estate Growth. 

The design process: how adaptive reuse projects come to life

Charlotte Noda wasn’t always the modernized, creative, well-lit building that it is today. Our design team worked closely with Asana Partners and our team in Charlotte to make sure this warehouse fully transformed to a functional office space. 

“The entire space is a mixture of the original building design elements with modern updates. Quality acoustics are one of the most important design considerations for office productivity, so the biggest challenge at Charlotte NoDa was creating a ceiling for the individual offices while maintaining the architectural open space throughout the building.”

—Astrix Ferris, Design Manager at Industrious

Aside from building acoustics, the entire space was the perfect foundation for a modern facelift with beautiful exposed brick and space for large floor to ceiling windows. The design team spread out three different common spaces throughout the building and added in an outdoor terrace and cafe. However the most striking element is the mural above the front desk. The muralist, Mike Wirth, is highly regarded in the local artist community and was brought onto the project by a local Industrious team member to integrate the building into the local art scene.

The design’s end result is a case study in everything adaptive reuse projects can be: modern, but with style rooted in the city’s past; functional, but with dynamic accommodations to suit the needs of building tenants; and a refreshed presentation organically integrated with the neighborhood community.

The lobby of Industrious Charlotte NoDa, featuring a colorful mural designed by local artist Mike Wirth.

Thriving during the pandemic

While other office spaces in Charlotte sat empty for 2020, how did this location maintain 80% occupancy during 2020 after opening at the height of the outbreak? It all came down to design, layout, and location. 

The location is a single story building with no elevators, open air parking, and conveniently located in a mixed-use neighborhood close to where our members reside in Charlotte. Locals felt comfortable biking, walking, or driving to work and heading straight to their private offices. Also as the sole occupier of the building, the Industrious team was able to maintain a standard of cleanliness and mask-wearing policies that would have been difficult to maintain across a building with multiple occupiers. 

“Asana had the foresight to open office space early before the major boom that we’re seeing today,” said David Poland, an Industrious Area Manager for the region, NoDa resident, and VP of the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association.

This neighborhood has been a destination for arts and entertainment for years, but now we’re starting to see more residential and business opportunities pop up in the area with the addition of the light rail. Being in the heart of NoDa, I believe we’re the best office experience in the city.”

—David Poland, Industrious Area Manager