The challenges of revamping a 140-year-old industrial structure into a modern apartment building proved numerous and continual on W.C. Bradley Co.'s residential development in Columbus, Ga.

Photo by Scott Wang
The Eagle & Phenix Mill No. 2 renovation project won the Best Renovation/Restoration project in this year's Best Projects contest.

The developer hired contractor Brasfield & Gorrie to transform the Eagle & Phenix Mill No. 2 into a 44-unit apartment building. Originally constructed in 1872 as a storage facility for cotton, the 10,000-sq-ft, five-story structure was built of masonry and heavy timber.

Contractors restored the building's exterior skin to its original aesthetic appearance by repairing mortar joints and replacing brick work where necessary. Retrofitted windows were designed to reflect the architectural style of the mill's 19th-century construction.

But re-doing the windows was no open-and-shut case. Crews had to reconstruct 273 masonry window openings to a more standard, uniform size that allowed for the use of more cost-efficient metal units, and cost savings to the owner.

Also, while crews were framing floors, they discovered that existing wood piers and floor joists below the first level had been so damaged by termites that they could not structurally support the lightweight gypsum concrete topping that was to be placed atop the existing wood flooring. To address the issue, Brasfield & Gorrie reinforced the piers and rebuilt joists.

Two months prior to completion, the team determined that steel stairs needed to be installed from the fifth floor to the roof. Despite the late notice, Brasfield & Gorrie completed the work without impacting the schedule.

After reviewing subcontractor pricing, Brasfield & Gorrie opted to self-perform the demolition, masonry, wood framing and wood trim work, thus achieving schedule and cost savings.

The contractor also saved time by providing floor layouts to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing firms early in the process, enabling them to get a jump on coring and sleeving floor penetrations.

As a result of the project's timely completion, tenants were able to move in two months earlier than originally planned.

Best Renovation/Restoration Project

Eagle & Phenix Mill No. 2 Renovation, Columbus, Ga. Key Players

Contractor Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, Columbus

Owner W.C. Bradley Co., Columbus

Lead Design Firm Barnes & Co. Architects, Columbus

Structural Engineer Wright Engineering, Columbus

MEP Engineer Zachry Engineering, Columbus