Accident Fund National Headquarters/Ottawa Street Power Station

Lansing, Michigan

Award Type: Honor Award

In 1939, residents of Lansing, Mich. were surprised to see a giant flame rising over their downtown – not from a fire, but from the newly built Ottawa Street Power Station. The nine-story Art Deco building’s colorful brickwork which changes from black to red to orange to gold, symbolized the coal combustion taking place within. An instant local landmark, it powered the region for years until it was decommissioned in 1992.

Disuse took its toll until Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. approached a developer about turning the building into 122,000 square feet of office space with a compatible addition. The Christman Company enthusiastically agreed to take on the project.

Workers repaired or replicated severely deteriorated windows and removed drywall and dropped ceilings to reveal the high-style lobby. Every single brick was cleaned or replaced. The LEED Gold certified new headquarters for Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. retained 600 jobs in Lansing and has sparked additional downtown revitalization efforts.

“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “Whether it’s the restoration of an iconic post office in Philadelphia or the transformation of a Greyhound bus station into a Civil Rights museum in Montgomery, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places is bolstering local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country.”