Monday, August 20, 2018 was Prein&Newhof’s first day of operation in the historic, 111 year–old Cobbs and Mitchell Building in downtown Cadillac.
Built in 1907, the Cobbs and Mitchell building is on the national register of historic places, especially noted for the many native wood species used in finishes throughout the building. It was built to be the offices and showroom for the lumber business of Mr. Cobbs and Mr. Mitchell, who were founders of the City of Cadillac.
The building was vacant for about a decade before developer Robb Munger purchased it, with the dream of bringing it back to life. Prein&Newhof worked with Munger, the City of Cadillac, MDOT, and the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Office to design a historically-sensitive, functional, and acceptable plan for this grand-scale remodeling project. P&N provided many professional services to make this transformation a reality. Betsy Newhof led the redesign and provided overall project management for Prein&Newhof. John Verplank, PE designed the site improvements; Devin Brown, PE created the structural design for the renovation; Connie Houk, PE worked with the City and MDOT to get approval for a new entrance to the parking lot from Mitchell Street; Bill Smyth and Jeff Smith produced all of the plans that were needed for project design and approval.
Renovation challenges included:
- There was no handicap accessible entrance to the building. Visitors needed to walk upstairs or downstairs in order to enter the building.
- Once in the building, there was no handicap accessible means of getting between floors.
- There were two broken boilers and no air conditioning.
- The space was so large that it would need to be used by multiple tenants to make the remodeling project viable.
- The ceiling plaster was in poor condition and there were multiple areas with water damage.
- Adding a new lower level handicap accessible entrance by removing 4,000 cubic yards of soil from the parking lot area, redesigning, regrading, paving, adding an access drive onto Mitchell Street, abandoning the previous access alley from East Chapin Street, and replacing a window on the lower level with a main lower entrance door.
- Removing walls on the lower level to create an entrance suitable for employee and client use and in keeping with the building’s architectural design.
- Adding an automatic lift between floors.
- Removing two boilers and replacing them with new furnaces and forced air ducting, which also allowed for the addition of air conditioning.
- Adding two new handicap accessible restrooms on the main floor.
- Transforming two main floor vaults into usable space.
- Repairing wood flooring.
- Re-plastering ceilings.
- Repairing original wall coverings and repainting the walls throughout.
- Creating a new lighting plan and installed new fixtures.
- Repairing exterior brick and windows.
- Repairing National Historic sign that resides in the front lawn.
- Installing new landscaping and underground sprinkling.
Prein&Newhof is grateful to have been a part of bringing this significant, 111-year old building back to life. “Invest wisely” is one of our core values, and we think this investment in Northern Michigan is worth it!
Our new Cadillac office address is 100 East Chapin Street, Suite A, Cadillac, MI 49601.