Reuse and Rehabilitation of Redlands’ Rondor Building

From trolley car barn, storage unit and mechanic shop, rehabilitation of this historic warehouse turned state-of-the-art brewery and tasting room was no small task!

The City Transfer and Storage Company Warehouse (locally known as Rondor) is a one-story brick warehouse constructed in 1906. As one of the last remaining examples of the property type in Redlands’ train-oriented industrial district, the Warehouse was ripe for preservation and rehabilitation. In 2018 Property One, LLC acquired the building and contracted ARG to help transform the Warehouse into a commercial restaurant and brewery.

 

While originally constructed for capitalists Henry and John Fisher as a trolley car barn for their new venture, the Redlands Central Railway Company, it never served as one. Instead, it was utilized by the City Transfer and Storage Company, whose innovative approach for moving furniture and baggage included offloading from adjacent trains, indefinite storage, and delivery to new residences upon request. This operation was crucial for the city’s population and development boom during the late 19th  and early 20th century.

Moving truck in Redlands, CA. The historic Redlands Santa Fe Depot in the distance. Date unknown.

The rehabilitation of the Warehouse was a comprehensive transformation of a neglected and exceedingly dilapidated building. Early site inspections revealed crumbling and spalled brick, rotting wood features, and leftover built-in equipment from previous tenants. The design team worked quickly to devise a treatment plan, and the restoration of at-risk historic materials commenced soon thereafter. In addition to requiring significant restoration measures to address life safety concerns, the team faced the task of ensuring that all work met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard for Rehabilitation (the Standards) in order to achieve federal historic tax credits and local historic review approval.  While this higher degree of scrutiny required additional coordination and redesign, the resulting rehabilitation cleverly showcases the age and eccentricities of the historic building as well as the contemporary interventions.

 

ARG served as the architect for Rondor’s rehabilitation, from concept design through construction administration. Working with the structural engineer, Structural Focus, ARG coordinated the extensive seismic retrofit and exterior restoration that brought the unreinforced masonry building up to current code requirements while conforming to the Standards.

We provided conservation services, including an existing conditions assessment, mortar testing and analysis, and conservation treatment recommendations. Mindful implementation of the numerous structural interventions made the building safe for occupation and did not compromise the building’s character-defining features – striking a delicate balance between the oft-competing objectives of preservation and modernization. (Reference to “Big Things are Happening at Rondor”)

 

As part of its reuse, the project team aimed to incorporate new systems and infrastructure without compromising the historic industrial character of the Warehouse. This included maximizing daylighting by utilizing all existing and previously infilled openings and designing sensitive but transparent door and window infill.

 

ARG also assisted the new tenant, Escape Craft Brewery, in tenant improvements and design of the bar, kitchen, and brewing facilities along with the Food Service consultant, Dieli Murawka Howe. strove to retain the historically open floor plan while incorporating the extensive requirements of an operative brewery and restaurant by locating enclosed spaces at the perimeter to maintain visibility from building end to end. This project also implemented the first public all-gender restrooms in the City of Redlands. These multiple accommodation restrooms are more inclusive and utilize a smaller, less-impactful footprint.

 

 

Serving as the project representation to local preservation agencies, ARG successfully secured designation of the property as a historic local landmark for its association with the Santa Fe Railroad and Redlands’ development during the period of significance (1906-1925). ARG is in the process of completing the Historic Preservation Certification Application on behalf of the owner in order to obtain federal historic tax credits for the building’s rehabilitation. The building will be listed in the National Register following completion of Part 3 of the tax credit application.

 

The City Transfer and Storage Company Warehouse is significant as an excellent example of Redlands’ early 20th century industrial architecture and for reflecting the city’s early patterns of industrial development, which was once abundant along the Santa Fe Railway line through the city. It’s a part of ARG’s rehabilitation work in historic downtown Redlands, including the Santa Fe Train Depot (1911) and the adjacent Redlands Chamber of Commerce Building (1912) which are currently in-progress.

Professional photography by Here and Agency, LLC

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