Peters Cartridge Company, Mainesville

Preservation Merit Award

The historic Peters Cartridge Factory has been brought back to life! What had been a derelict, abandoned, brownfield site for many years has been repurposed into a community of apartments, a multi-purpose facility and a popular brew pub/restaurant.

Located next to the Little Miami Scenic River and the Little Miami Bike Trail, this complex of six industrial buildings was constructed between 1916 and 1919. The Peters Company manufactured gun powder and munitions that supplied armed forces in World War I and World War II.

The six renovated buildings are all that remain of a larger complex of factory buildings that were demolished years ago. The structures that were left include the shot tower, the power building and smokestack, and manufacturing and administrative spaces.

In 2012 the site was declared a Superfund site and the cleanup was completed in 2017. The developers, Bloomfield/Schon, purchased the property in 2015 and oversaw the environmental remediation. Bloomfield/Schon then secured proper zoning, prepared architectural plans and secured historic tax credits that were part of a complex financing arrangement.

Construction began in late 2018. By then the vacant buildings were in very bad condition, open to vandals and exposed to the elements. But they had “good bones” and today there are 134 contemporary apartments in a large variety of floor plans, all of them displaying connections to the building’s industrial heritage. Large windows, saw-tooth windows, clerestories and light monitors allow plenty of sunlight. Almost two acres of damaged glass were replaced with historically appropriate new windows. All building systems were brought up to current standards. The original concrete floors remain, and the concrete ceilings are visible, showing the form marks from the construction process. Demising walls that partition spaces in the apartments and elsewhere in the complex occur along the original column lines.

Rehabilitation of these buildings has transformed them from being an eyesore into a vibrant community. Peters Cartridge finally stands proudly again; in every sense, it is a renewed, stand-alone neighborhood.