Railroad Freight Shed Earns Silver LEED Status
First renovated historic building in Alaska to meet LEED standards
Jim Kubitz, Alaska Railroad VP for Corporate Planning & Real Estate and Becky Nourse, US Forest Service Deputy Regional Forester unveiling the building's Silver LEED status.
Alaska Railroad Corporation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) is proud to announce the receipt of a Silver LEED Certification award for the renovation of the Alaska Railroad Freight Shed. This is the first historic building in Alaska renovated to meet the stringent standards of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. ARRC, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service — building tenants since 2012 — conducted a formal unveiling and presentation of the Silver LEED Certification at the Freight Shed, located at 161 E. First Avenue in Anchorage, May 27.
Eligible for the National Register, the Freight Shed was constructed in 1941 primarily with a heavy timber frame over a raised concrete floor. It allowed the railroad to double freight tonnage in its first year of operation and was used through 2008 to store customer goods. Renovation was coordinated with the Alaska Office of History & Archeology. The project included site improvements, utility upgrades and selective demolition of the 36,000 square-foot structure as well as a new raised and heated walkway for pedestrian access, and installation of curb and gutter along First Avenue. Utility upgrades include new gas, water and wastewater services and relocation of the electrical services underground.
The core-and-shell improvements include reinforcement to the structural supports, roof and wall systems, as well as upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems. These renovations fall under the LEED “core and shell” category, and design and construction activity must meet stringent LEED standards for site sustainability, water efficiency, energy conservation, material reuse and indoor environmental quality. The Freight Shed’s historic designation is verified by the Alaska State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and SHPO expertise was used to maintain the building’s historic integrity during the renovation.
In 2007, architectural firm ECI/Hyer was hired to develop a LEED-oriented design that also retained the building’s historic nature. Conceptual design was complete by early 2008. Final design and engineering was accomplished by the end of 2008. Waterson Construction Inc. was awarded the construction contract. Demolition and indoor renovation began in January 2009. Utility and major site work began in spring 2009. Building core-and-shell was completed November 2009. Site construction was complete in July 2010.
“Preserving and repurposing a historic building helps to maintain a sense of place in the community that is important to future generations,” said Jim Kubitz, Alaska Railroad Vice President for Corporate Planning and Real Estate. “The renovation of the Freight Shed offers Alaska businesses a unique historic and green commercial real estate option in lower downtown Anchorage.”
The Freight Shed serves as a cornerstone of any Ship Creek revitalization plan, which aims to develop the area for multi-use and livability, an d to promote a pedestrian destination for visitors and residents alike. The first tenant, the Alaska Humanities Forum, moved in October 2010. The U.S. Forest Service, the largest tenant in the Freight Shed, relocated in June of 2012.
“Sustainable operations are emphasized throughout the Forest Service and residing in this repurposed building aligns with our agency vision,” said Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor of Chugach National Forest.
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