Commonwealth Preservation Group

Virginia Ice & Freezing Corporation Warehouse, Norfolk, VA

Krispak after

Krispak before

In the early twentieth century, Norfolk was one of the largest producers and distributors of oysters and fish in the country. Local ice and cold storage facilities served as vital support to this industry. The Virginia Ice & Freezing Corporation, est. 1920, had one of the largest ice and storage operations in Norfolk. Its warehouse, located along the narrows of the Elizabeth River, was likely designed by notable Norfolk architect B.F. Mitchell.

A three-section concrete block building, today it represents the best-preserved cold storage warehouse in the City of Norfolk. Operated for many years by Krisp-Pak, the building once had this logo brightly emblazoned across its second level. The warehouse was found significant under Criterion A of the National Register of Historic Places, owing to the important role it played in the seafood industry vital to Norfolk’s economy since colonial times. Due to the building’s well-preserved 20th c. Commercial architecture, it was recognized a second time under Criterion C.

Commonwealth Preservation Group nominated the Krisp-Pak building to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The following year, CPG served as tax credit consultant for the building’s renovation. New ownership decided to divide the warehouse into 71 residential units. Floor plan changes included a rooftop addition and the introduction of two light wells to provide sunlight to the warehouse’s interior section. Updated electrical and HVAC systems made the residences habitable. The final result, the Riverview Lofts, retains its industrial appearance, preserving a remarkable building that may have otherwise fallen into disuse and disrepair.

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