Adaptive Reuse/of a Prison and a Hospital

Model 3

Jill Shook and Anthony Manousos introduce this the model of adaptive reuse by looking at some of the history of re-using buildings for a new purpose, the  environmental wisdom of this model, some of theological underpinnings and policy implications, such as building codes that are established mostly for new construction, must be make more flexible for reuse projects.

Atlanta Stockade Prison

In Making Housing Happen, Bob Lupton tells the riveting story of the Atlanta stockade built in the 1800s, its demise, and its transformation into affordable housing more than a hundred years later. This project was fully paid for and completed within a year, bringing together some of Atlanta’s top architects and general contractors who would normally be competing against each other. Tom Brokah, the mayor and others helped publicize this historical transformation, as hundreds of churches and volunteers came together to make this vision a reality. Even the franchise tax board got involved by making the property tax free—part of the reason the stockade-turned-GlenCastle maintains some of the most affordable rents in all Atlanta. Here minimum wage workers pay only a third of their income on rent allowing them to live meaningful lives without the daily stress of wondering how they will make it.

FCS ministry and links and resources:

The headquarters of FCS Urban Ministries is also now located at GlenCastle. From this place a beautiful and expansive array of ministries and neighborhood development has been birthed. They have been able to redevelop a state of the art golf course (100 CEO’s invested $100,000 for the sole rights to the use of the upgraded course with the double bottom line of improving the neighborhood. The adjacent neighborhood was then made it into a mixed income community with green golf areas meandering as the glue to create a real community. This is only one of many more community, economic development projects they have done.  They also focus on spiritual development by having chaplains live within each community the redevelop.

Bob Lupton now travels throughout the US speaking on principles of community development and his new book Toxic Charity.

My favorite of his books is Theirs is the Kingdom.

Model 4

Reuse of a Hospital/Chicago

In Making Housing Happen Mary Nelson pens the amazing story of how Bethel New Life, a nonprofit of a small Lutheran Church, transformed a rundown 9.2-acre, 437-bed, seven-building hospital campus into national award-winning model of affordable housing. Today, the campus is comprised of 125 units of subsidized housing for seniors, 85 units of assisted living, adult day services, a health clinic, an 80-person child development center, a cultural and performing arts center, small business center, and headquarters for Bethel New Life’s administrative operations. Over $30 million was brought into this credit-starved community to complete the campus reuse.

Before the Bethel Lutheran Church attempted such a huge adaptive reuse endeavor, they had already put their church building up for collateral five times to buy apartment building to make into affordable housing projects. When they were unable to find financing for some of their projects, Mary Nelson came up with the idea of tax credits as part of a presidential task force on affordable housing.

What motivated a church to do this? They saw too many of their church members forced to leave the community due to rising housing costs. They were committed to making is possible for people to stay in their community and transform their neighborhood. 

Bethel New Life made sure the community played a role in this transformation as very stage, and one very visible way is through the creation of public art. This instills pride, a voice, and community “ownership” of the many affordable housing buildings they have developed in their community. For example, on one side of the hospital children from the neighborhood created a monument pictured here for their friends killed in drive-by shootings—those who died too soon.


Bethel New Life: