Erie Downtown Development Corporation
The Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC) has been championing reinvestment in downtown Erie, PA, to connect natural and developed amenities, and bring vibrancy back to the city center. Erie has no shortage of character and history – it just needed amenities and opportunities for people to visit and stay in the city.
Targeting three underutilized blocks in the downtown, EDDC and Kahn established a plan to preserve and adapt the historic structures while creating new buildings to add needed housing, dining, retail, office space, and unique experiences for residents and visitors. For instance, the flagship development of a new food hall and food market will be a culinary destination with supporting retail in the adjacent storefronts. Through the creation of smaller storefronts, this development will bring independent businesses and startups into the downtown. New and renovated residential apartments will provide desired downtown living arrangements for area students, professionals, and families that have been long awaited.
A guiding principle throughout has been: if it is historic, save its character, but make it workable for contemporary needs. Some of these buildings are 150 years old and have a unique history worthy of preservation. The team has gathered research and photographs on each building, discovering that some buildings have seen anywhere between 15-20 different storefronts. Rather than creating an exact replica, they decided to replace these storefronts with something modern that shares a similar geometry or framework of the original design. To make these structures usable, additional updates to comply with new building codes include improving accessibility, replacing mechanical systems, and adding necessary fireproofing.
This development will breathe new life and vibrancy into the downtown. Kahn and EDDC are capturing the cultural and historical significance of Erie, and a renewed interest in wanting to live, work, and play downtown; a strategy that could be adapted to other cities.
Mixed-use development with an emphasis on adaptive reuse of historic structures to preserve character