Thanks to the combination of federal, state, and county redevelopment programs that specifically target Brownfield and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects, Ambler BH Development Partners, LP along with the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County, purchased the abandoned site and commissioned an adaptive reuse design of the building by Heckendorn Shiles Architects.
The Ambler Boiler House redevelopment project was part of an initiative to revitalize the commercial downtown neighborhood of Ambler, PA. The building that is now that Ambler Boiler House was recycled and redeveloped to preserve the industrial history of the community and to create an engine for economic revitalization for the Borough of Ambler. It was intended that Ambler BH Development Partners maintained this historically significant landmark while eliminating all environmental hazards, ultimately enhancing the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Ambler.
The vision for the Ambler Boiler House project was shaped by years of collaboration between the many stakeholders involved. Among these stakeholders were the elected officials and residents of the Borough of Ambler, the Montgomery County Planning Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Redevelopment Authority of Montgomery County, and the Department of Community and Economic Development. Throughout this project, the outreach to the community was reciprocated with willing participation from all stakeholders.
Due to the historical uses of the building, the property suffered significant contamination. After the funding necessary to commence environmental remediation was secured, the next significant barrier was the remediation itself. A Remedial Investigation and Cleanup Plan were prepared and approved by the PADEP.
All contamination was addressed and eradicated. Upon completion of the environmental cleanup, preliminary restoration work was necessary to address structural issues and deterioration of the building caused by neglect.
In the best interest of the community, the development was designed as an Adaptive Reuse project. This designation is the process of taking an existing structure and adapting it for purposes other than those originally intended. We implemented the adaptive reuse by recycling the building’s shell, which was once a factory boiler house, and transforming it into a class‐A office building.
Not only was the building preserved through an adaptive reuse strategy, but the chosen design and construction features represent a “whole‐building” approach to sustainability. This project eliminated the environmental threat to the community and is making efforts to continue limiting the environmental impact to Ambler by operating as an environmentally sensitive building, which includes the reduction of energy consumption and the encouragement of the use of existing transit systems.
Innovative design features and the proximity to Septa’s R-5 train station, as well as Ambler’s Main Street District contributed to the achievement of receiving a LEED Platinum certification. You can read more about the LEED certification and the “green” aspects of the Ambler Boiler House here.
The comprehensive innovative processes of acquiring the property, obtaining the funding, remediating the contamination, preserving the building while redeveloping it, and following a “green” approach to design and construction, represents an outstanding development approach to smart growth.
It is anticipated that the completion of this mixed‐use project will initiate a chain reaction of positive growth for the Borough of Ambler. Along with the pre‐existing revitalization efforts within the Borough of Ambler and Montgomery County, we hope to see a continued private investment in the surrounding residential neighborhoods throughout Ambler and the county.