The Belden-Stratford


Award of Merit

Submitted by: Bulley & Andrews LLC

Owner: Mansueto Office

Lead Design Firm: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

General Contractor: Bulley & Andrews LLC

Civil Engineer: V3

Structural Engineer: TGRWA Structural Engineers

MEP Engineer: IMEG Corp.

Architect (Historic Expert): Vinci Hamp Architects

Owner's Representative: Waterton

Landscape Architect: Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects

Although a Beaux Arts design and amenities distinguished the Belden-Stratford from other venues, the passage of time and a series of modernizations compromised the property’s architectural and structural integrity. Built in the 1920s, the property has new ownership that pulled together a team of architects, historic preservationists, artisans and trade partners to execute this renovation and historic restoration.

The 285,000-sq-ft adaptive reuse project uncovered the building’s hidden architectural elements while updating functionality and adding amenities to its 297 apartment units, completing work within budget and on time in May 2023.

Pandemic-related restrictions prevented crews from entering the apartments to verify existing conditions, so instead the team replaced much of the main mechanical equipment while the building was occupied, which required significant planning and sequencing. Resequenced work had the team complete renovations to the building’s exterior entrance, lighting and sitework before renovating the residential units, minimizing disruptions to the neighborhood.

Since original drawings didn’t exist, laser scans of the entire building created a workable model. Working with preservationists, the contractor carefully researched and identified originally used materials. Crews meticulously stripped countless layers of paint to uncover the original gilding and color palettes. Other materials, such as the Carthage stone in the lobby, were irreplaceable as the quarry that supplied the original stone is permanently closed. To replace the historic stone, the team harvested remnants from less visible parts of the building for reuse in the lobby. Artisans then repaired and recreated plaster moldings and gilding using original construction techniques.