Altman-Charter Completes Historic Renovation of former YMCA into Living Spaces

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

Artists, military veterans and other residents are moving into the newly renovated and restored historic building that was once known as the Tri-City YMCA in downtown Granite City, IL.

The 48,000-square-foot building, located at Edison Avenue and 20th Street, stood vacant for 14 years before nonprofit developer Rise Community Development and the City of Granite City solidified a plan and multiple sources of funding to redevelop the century-old structure into 37 affordable residential units.

Altman-Charter Co. was the general contractor, with Rosemann & Associates the architect. Total construction costs are approximately $8 million. Construction began in January 2020 and wrapped up in July 2021.

Travis Gocken, Altman-Charter project manager, said about 20 tenants have moved into the one- and two-bedroom units.

“We were able to refinish and restore many of the building’s original doors, its oak trim, much of the flooring and other significant elements of what had long been the Tri-City YMCA,” said Gocken. “A racquetball court – part of a later renovation done by the YMCA – is now a space that includes two-level loft units. The old boiler room off the back of the building will be reimagined as an artist’s space or gallery.”

An old fireplace and a reception desk are also original features of the 1924 building that project partners were able to retain and refurbish.

Four living units are located on the plaza level, some four feet below grade, with large windows that look out onto the Edison Avenue sidewalk. On the main level, former office space, meeting rooms and a dance studio are now home to residents with the original lobby still intact as a common area.

A total of 11 apartments exist on the structure’s main level, said Gocken, including five full-height loft units with 25-foot ceilings – each of which includes a mezzanine that occupies one-half of the living space.

“Each space has its own unique character,” Gocken said. “There is an artist-in-residence unit on the plaza level that the city hopes will attract visiting artists who stay for a time and commission pieces that may remain there at the property. The City of Granite City has been envisioning this transformational development for years. We’re proud to be part of the project team that brough it to fruition.”

Funding for the redevelopment included affordable housing tax credit equity and historic rehabilitation tax credit equity and community development block grant dollars from the federal government via Madison County Housing Authority and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

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