Adaptive Reuse:  Cline Design Reimagines History
June 26, 2019

Adaptive Reuse: Cline Design Reimagines History

There is a long history of architects and designers breathing new life into vacant, neglected and underutilized buildings.  Adaptive reuse, the art of connecting the past with the future, is a practice that is rewarding for designers, clients, neighborhoods and communities alike.  It is a method that provides a new thriving project while still retaining much of the architectural character, history and memories of the existing structure.

The practice of adaptive reuse has gained momentum across the country in recent years, especially in de-industrialized urban neighborhoods where relic buildings from bygone economies now occupy prime geographies.  Our clients and communities haven’t been immune from this trend.  Together with Cline Design, they are imagining the new possibilities including the conversion of old warehouses to new mixed-use campuses; former factories to high tech hubs; and outdated retail and office buildings to urban housing projects in a live, work, play environment.

Cline Design is proud to serve as a trusted and experienced partner to clients seeking to capitalize on these opportunities, helping feed the unprecedented growth in the region.  By thoughtfully evaluating the sites, the structures and the challenges a potential adaptive reuse project presents, Cline Design crafts unique connections to place, bridging the past with the future.

Early concepts of the Bowers Fibers Campus


White Point Partners approached Cline Design with a unique opportunity.  They were interested in a site that was home to a vacant, fibers storage warehouse during a time when adaptive reuse for this project seemed unlikely.  This project, nestled tightly on a corner site with a neighboring transit stop, was positioned to be a destination for young professionals either working in or near the community. 

Envisioned to be a live, work, play environment in Charlotte’s LoSo neighborhood, Cline Design was tasked with converting the original over 120,000-square-foot warehouse into a vibrant, 75,000-square-foot mixed-use community.  The development, design and construction teams worked together to overcome various challenges including rezoning the property to allow for mixed-use at a lesser parking requirement; demolishing a big portion of the original warehouse to make room for adequate parking and open spaces; maintaining the original character of the buildings while modernizing them for today’s tenant requirements; and designing the buildings to embrace the context of the surrounding neighborhood.

“This project is really special to us.  It’s not every day we get to work on a project that has this much history, which needs to be respected, preserved and enhanced to meet today’s high-tech needs.” expressed Orlando Pizarro, Director of Cline Design’s Charlotte office.  The thriving Bowers Fibers project is now home to restaurant and brewery, Brewers at 4001 Yancey, as well as several office and retail spaces. 

Cline Design reimagined the former CP&L car barn and automobile garage into the firms’ Raleigh office


Powerhouse Square is a collection of masonry buildings that have occupied Raleigh’s West Jones Street for almost a century.  Cline Design was challenged with the renovation of two of them, the Carolina Power and Light Company (CP&L) car barn and automobile garage and the Raleigh Electric Company Powerhouse (circa 1925 and 1910 respectively).

The former CP&L facility was transformed into a mixed-use development and is currently home to Cline Design’s Raleigh office as well as Clouds Brewing.  The Raleigh Electric Company Powerhouse is now the flagship brewery location for Tobacco Road Sports Café.  Each building is on the National Register of Historic places which meant the design team had to adhere to strict guidelines from the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service while they carefully preserved the buildings’ rich histories during their transformation. 

Cline Design continues to work closely with their clients to realize a diverse portfolio of adaptive reuse projects.  From reimagining 2001 W. Morehead to the conversion of the Pavilion at South End, the firm is well versed in the complexities and rewards of these redevelopment achievements.  With the shifting economy, the advent of opportunity zones, and the impact of construction and labor cost increases, the firm anticipates continued growth in the adaptive reuse market and champions its impact on design innovation.

To learn more about Cline Design’s portfolio of adaptive reuse projects visit or their online portfolio at