Location: Lansing, Michigan
REO Town Depot, Lansing, MI
The Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) had purchased the 5.3 acre REO Town site located in Lansing, Michigan for their new steam and electricity cogeneration facility. This site contained the Historic REO Town Depot. The REO Town Depot is a historic train depot constructed at the turn of the century that served the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. According to the National Historic Register, it is significant for “its association with the golden era of the Grand Trunk Railroad system in Michigan and in Lansing, and for its expression of a major project by Detroit architecture firm, Spier and Rohns”. This Tudor revival style masonry building was converted to a restaurant in 1972, but has remained vacant for the past several years.
Cornerstone Architects’ Role:
The goal of the project was to return the building to a functional capacity as a corporate meeting place for the BWL. The interior was to provide meeting space for up to 125 persons for both public and corporate meetings, with a serving kitchen, accessible restrooms, and office space.
It was important to keep as much of the original detailing as possible while accommodating the change in use for the space. The exterior required masonry restoration, woodworking and reroofing (the same company who furnished the original roof tiles in the early 1900’s is still in business and able to supply replacement tiles). The site received a complete redesign to coincide with the rest of the REO Town site.
Interior restoration required a complete overhaul. While keeping much of the original floor plan and detailing, the interior work had to adjust to new building codes, technology needs as well as dealing with the challenge of sitting next to an active rail line.