For many commercial, retail, and hospitality venues in historic districts, “old” can be preferable—even premium. Some popular historic districts even put regulations in place to ensure buildings on their prime real estate maintain the historic charm that put them on the map.

But historical renovations come with unique challenges. Often, these projects aim to accommodate growing demands on buildings’ systems while maintaining or increasing energy efficiency and preserving the building’s historical significance.

Salas O’Brien has assisted with several energy-saving historical redesigns that beautifully merged new engineering solutions with historic framework and features.

Embassy Suites

History meets luxury in Embassy Suites’ 304-suite hotel, located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, right next to the city’s historic “Old Louisville” district.

The development of this hotel was part of a larger, $80 million project that converted the former Hilliard Lyons Center building into a mixed-use center. The charming, ornate 1907 structure originally housed the Stewart’s Dry Goods Company, and its lobby still features a large clock and carefully restored architecture from the period. The building is listed as a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.

Salas O’Brien provided mechanical and plumbing solutions for the hotel, taking special care to accommodate the building’s historic features in our design.

Historic, restored whispering arch

The Battle House Renaissance Hotel and Spa

The Battle House Renaissance Hotel, located in downtown Mobile, Alabama, boasts 238 guest rooms, a luxury spa, sixteen event venues, three restaurants, and soaring rotundas that highlight the building’s 19th-century origin.

This historic 280,000-square-foot building and its systems needed to be renovated, and our client wanted to preserve and revitalize the building’s historic features without compromising on modern luxuries in the process. Our team helped make that happen.

Salas O’Brien’s experienced team provided construction administration, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, and fire protection design services for the restoration. Our design included a new 2700-ton chiller plant and 4160V electrical distribution from multiple substations to meet the guests’ energy and power usage needs.

George Washington Carver High School

George Washington Carver High School, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a partner school of the Atlanta Public School System. The campus’s oldest building, Leete Hall, was originally designed in 1922 and features an ornate Tudoresque Gothic revival tower.

This entire high school campus needed to be redesigned so it could also serve as the vocational technology transfer campus for the Atlanta Public School System. Our team provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering, fire protection engineering, and specialty lighting design services for the historic main campus building and the surrounding buildings. The redesign integrated modern systems within older infrastructure and gave new and renovated buildings the same charming feel as the rest of the historic campus.