Commonwealth Preservation Group

2330 Bowdens Ferry Road Norfolk, VA

The complex at 2330 Bowdens Ferry Road was built in c.1939 as the home of the Union Carbide Industrial Gases company.  It is situated on the corner of Bowdens Ferry Road and West 25th Street directly adjacent to the Norfolk & Western Railroad and includes a total of four resources; the main building (c.1939), the gas filling station and loading dock (c.1939), a c.1959 metal garage, and a c.1973 metal garage.  The complex is an example of several buildings associated with the early railroad industry in Norfolk, Virginia and is a contributing resource to the Norfolk and Western Railroad Historic District.  Three of the four resources on the complex are contributing to the district. 

2330 Bowdens Ferry – Before

In addition to the typical concrete and asphalt driveways that take up a large portion of the site, the property also features large grass lawns surrounding the parking areas and along the perimeter of the property, along with several bushes and a large tree.  Atypical of industrial complexes, this property historically featured numerous bushes and several trees.  Many of these were replanted as a result of the tax credit project. 

2330 Bowdens Ferry – After

The main building (c.1939) is primarily a one-story brick building with a small one-room two-story section located at the southeast corner.  The building featured two historic concrete loading docks, and several modern concrete block and metal additions followed throughout the mid-to-late-twentieth century.  At the start of the project, the building incorporated multiple exterior wall surfaces, including painted brick veneer, concrete block, and metal panels.  EIFS siding and decorative elements had also been added to the main c.1939 section.  A mix of historic steel windows, modern windows, and a mix of historic and modern garage and pedestrian openings lined the majority of the historic elevations.  In contrast, the modern concrete block and metal sections of the building, were fairly plain with limited openings.

As a result of the tax credit project, the complex was rehabilitated for commercial use.  The main building, along with a portion of the modern additions, were rehabilitated to support different office functions, while the remainder of the additions and secondary resources were rehabilitated for use as tenant space.  The modern EIFS wall covering and parapets were removed to re-expose the historic brick walls, and a glass curtain wall was added to the main loading dock in order to accommodate an experience center.  The historic barn doors were replicated and the historic steel windows were retained and restored.  Likewise, the historic concrete floors, exposed walls, exposed ceilings, and open spaces were retained, thus maintaining the historic industrial character and feel.  Additionally, a new entrance was added at the junction of the original c.1939 section and additions, sensitively blending the historic and modern sections of the building.  The project at 2330 Bowdens Ferry Road is an excellent example of a historic industrial complex rehabilitated for commercial use.

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