The 1916 Desmond Building once served as the Downtown hub of the Willys-Overland Car Company. For the past two decades, however, it stood mostly empty, a defunct space as glossy new housing complexes rose on surrounding blocks. Now, after two years of renovations, the Desmond is seeing new life. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is consolidating more than 500 employees from offices around the city into the building.
Lincoln Property Company and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill worked hand-in-hand with the tenant to customize the Desmond. The biggest challenge was structural, as the building needed significant retrofitting to bring it up to seismic code.
“The building is a real jewel, and it’s hard to re-create that kind of character and spirit in new construction,” said Paul Danna, design director for SOM. “Our structural team came up with a very elegant solution that didn’t have to touch any existing columns or add visible framing.”