Building Reuse Initiative Sets Sights on Baltimore, Philadelphia

National Trust, ULI partnership identifies and addresses obstacles to reuse

Following a successful pilot of the project in Los Angeles, the Partnership for Building Reuse – a collaboration between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to remove barriers and increase building reuse of older buildings – is expanding to Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Over the next sixth months, representatives of the National Trust, ULI and local partner organizations will conduct research on local building and development trends, interview key stakeholders, and convene discussions with community leaders to identify major barriers to reuse and recommend strategies for how to overcome them. The recommendations will be summarized in an action plan, which will be presented to local officials in both cities.

“Baltimore and Philadelphia present great opportunities for accelerated building reuse,” said Jim Lindberg, planning director of the Preservation Green Lab, a sustainability-focused initiative of the National Trust. “Both cities have seen population increases for the first time in decades. We hope to build on this momentum and find ways to encourage more building reuse projects and provide support for continued community revitalization in these historic cities.”

The Partnership for Building Reuse will focus on ways to overcome key financial, technical and regulatory barriers to reuse of historic properties and unlock the development potential of vacant commercial and residential structures. Research conducted by the National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab highlights the environmental, economic and social benefits of retaining and recycling existing buildings. Unfortunately, numerous factors encourage the abandonment and, in some cases, demolition of older buildings. Both Baltimore and Philadelphia have demonstrated how older buildings can be repurposed to meet new market needs and spark community revitalization through successful reuse projects. Yet, thousands of older buildings in these two historic cities still remain vacant and underused. 

"We are thrilled that the National Trust has set its sights on Philadelphia, which continues to gain attention for its recent economic growth and urban revitalization," said Chris Hager, chair of ULI Philadelphia.  “Adaptive reuse of historic properties is critical to Philadelphia's continued growth as the city looks for new ways to attract development and investment."

“Our real estate development community is always seeking ideas for how to encourage the reuse of vacant buildings and Baltimore is a natural fit for this initiative,” said           Pauline M. Harris, ULI Baltimore District Council coordinator.  “It’s an honor to have    been selected by The National Trust for this partnership.”




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About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through its Preservation Green Lab, strengthens the fabric of communities by leveraging the value of existing buildings to reduce resource waste, create jobs and bolster a strong sense of community. The Preservation Green Lab integrates sustainability with historic preservation by developing research, demonstration projects and policies that decrease demolition and promote building reuse. Guided by a belief that historic preservation is essential to sustainable development, the Preservation Green Lab works with partners to create new pathways to shared prosperity and bring people together around a common vision for their neighborhoods, towns and cities.


About the Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.  Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.




The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces