Sakoian International, LLC |

Liberty Building

PROJECT: Liberty Building

LOCATION: Charleston, WV

FIRM: Sakoian International, LLC

PIC: John Michael Sakoian, Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C

DESCRIPTION: Formerly the DuPont Hotel and B&B Loans, this 22,000 SF building is located in the heart of Charleston’s landmarked “Village District”. The site is a key to the city’s current urban redevelopment plan. The plan includes renovations to neighboring Brawley Walkway and Slack Plaza, which are also vital pedestrian pathways linking the city’s “walkable city” shopping/ gallery district with its civic district. The intent is to redevelop the building for restaurant/retail with residential condos above.

CURA (Charleston Urban Renewal Authority) owns the Liberty Building and the ground-floor retail spaces of the neighboring multi-story parking garage. The ground-floor tenants include restaurants and eateries such as, the local favorite, Black Sheep Burrito & Brews. “CURA’s primary motivation in purchasing the (Liberty) building is to get it into motivated private hands (instead of a disinterested owner) and to stop the deterioration of this critically located historic building.” – James H. Edwards, CURA Executive Director.

The building’s reinforced concrete structure is in excellent condition and the exterior is to be restored to its original condition. Proposed work is to replace the storefront with operable glass doors. When opened, the storefront transforms into protective overhangs for sidewalk dining. The building’s 80 degree entry corner results in an acute floor plate; however this is viewed as an opportunity to maximize light and transparency through the ground floor, improve air circulation and exploit the strong visual cues between Summers St. and Brawley Walkway.

The proposal also includes a glass canopy over Brawley Walkway to create both a physical and psychological “protected” outdoor marketplace. This iconic visual element signifies this pedestrian corridor as a “gateway” between the city’s vital districts.

Historic photo on Left is courtesy of J. Waters Photography (