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A look inside the adaptive reuse of 52 Broadway, now home to Momentum Gallery

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Historic brick building on Broadway Street in downtown Asheville

Samsel Architects recently finished a 3-year design and renovation of 52 Broadway St., a 100-year-old downtown building | Photo by David Dietrich

How do you preserve the character of a 100-year-old landmark and make sure it will be around for another 100? Enter: Samsel Architects. The local firm recently completed an adaptive reuse project focused on renovating 52 Broadway St., a 3-story building that has been part of the downtown landscape since the 1920s.

Black and white photo of Farmers Federation building from 1944

Farmer’s Federation, a frozen food warehouse, moved into the building in 1944 and stayed until the 1960s | Photo from The Buncombe County Special Collections Library via Samsel Architects

Previously an automotive dealership, a farmers’ cold storage warehouse, and an armory, the building is now home to Momentum Gallery on the first 2 levels with extended-stay hotel suites on the third floor. Previously located in a smaller space on Lexington Ave., this is an exciting move for Momentum, which has been designed to be a world-class art gallery that elevates the standard in Asheville.

Open floor plan art gallery with white walls

Samsel Architects removed several columns to open the gallery space up, designed permanent walls to define larger spaces and created moveable partitions for flexibility | Photo by John Warner

Momentum’s new, 2-story gallery space features:

  • dark walnut flooring
  • 13-foot gallery walls (think: high ceilings + calm backdrops)
  • walnut and steel staircase with glass handrails
  • 2-story columns wrapped in a mirrored mosaic tile
Open gallery space with staircase and columns

The columns’ subtle chevron pattern is a nod to the 1920s | Photo by John Warner

The 6 extended-stay hotel suites on the third floor overlook downtown Asheville and were designed to showcase the original heavy timber roof structure of the building. Each boasts at least 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, and laundry facilities.

The original exposed pine timbers and exterior brick were “soda blasted” with high-powered sodium bicarbonate that gently removed the tarnish of age and restored them to their original quality.

Apartment interior

Interior of one of the Elevation Lofts on the third floor of 52 Broadway | Photo by David Dietrich

In addition to this complete renovation of the building’s interior, Samsel Architects also upgraded the structure, roof, exterior envelope, life safety, and accessibility. At the end of this 3-year design and renovation process, 52 Broadway’s long-term viability was renewed.

Bonus: Samsel worked closely with Sundance Power Systems to install a 21.7 kW solar array on the rooftop, which now provides the electricity to power Momentum Gallery. In an effort to be good neighbors as well as sustainable ones, they collaborated with a local metal fabricator to design an attractive visual screen, shielding the mechanical systems on the rooftop from the view of taller buildings nearby.

Solar panels on a roof downtown

Samsel considered the visual impact for nearby buildings, creating a custom screening on the rooftop to shield mechanical systems from view | Photo by David Dietrich

Learn more about Samsel Architects’ renovation of 52 Broadway St. here. Ⓟ