American Can Slide 1
American Can Slide 2

American Can Company Building

Preservation Merit
for the preservation and rehabilitation of the 1921 American Can Company Building, 4101 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, as the American Can Lofts

Neither financial meltdown, nor environmental contamination, nor construction delays could crush the can-do rehabilitation of the former American Can Company factory in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood. After years of vacancy, decay and vandalism, the reinforced-concrete complex on Spring Grove Avenue has been converted to 110 apartments and 12,000 square feet of commercial space by Cincinnati-based Bloomfield/Schon + Partners. The $22 million renovation's complex financing package included historic tax credits, loans, plus stimulus and Brownfield funds.

 

American Can is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Cincinnati City landmark. Built in 1921 to manufacture can-making machinery and spare parts, American Can remained in active operation until 1963. The vast Commercial Style complex contains 120,000 square feet on five floors. It was massively constructed to house heavy manufacturing machinery and processes.

After the canning operation ceased, various small businesses utilized small portions of the building for the next 40 years.

Planning for the rehabilitation began in 2005. Numerous delays ranging from the 2008 financial collapse to significant environmental issues were overcome and the rehabilitated building finally opened its doors in the fall of 2011.

The renovated building retains its industrial character throughout. Distinctive features and spaces were preserved in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, including the soaring brick smokestack, flared-top "mushroom" columns, steel trusses, the power plant, and the machine shop with its 40-foot ceiling. Among other tasks, the steel casement windows were reconditioned using double pane glazing for improved energy performance. The loft-style living units feature high ceilings, open plans, concrete floors and an appropriately minimalist aesthetic.

The American Can project serves as a model for the reprobing of a large, decaying industrial complex with multiple challenges. It also reinforces revitalization efforts already underway in Cincinnati’s Northside, a vibrant and diverse historic neighborhood. The complex is highly visible both from within the Northside Historic District and from Interstate-75. American Can is planned as the first phase of a larger, mixed-use development called Factory Square.

Bloomfield/Schon development projects have included both LEED-certified new construction and rehabilitation. They previously renovated the National Register-listed Ford Factory in Cincinnati's Walnut Hills neighborhood, which won a Preservation Merit Award in 2005.

2011 Awards Presentation Image. Click to view slides of the awards presentation.

Click here for a list of past Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.