NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What do you do with a shuttered potato chip factory sitting on sought-after real estate?

Through a challenging adaptive reuse project, Crain Construction, Inc. transformed the greasy, leaky chip factory on Kraft Drive into attractive commercial office space, offering tenants a convenient location and lower lease prices than downtown Nashville or office parks to the south.

“The 1960s structure had sound construction, but cosmetically it was horrific,” said Michael Rankin, president of Crain Construction.

The interior walls and floors were layered with 50 years of grease that also filled the air. Decades of flour, salt and moisture had formed stalactites that hung from the leaky ceiling and touched the floor in places.

“We gutted everything and opened the place up to create ventilation,” said Rankin. “Nothing was left that had, or could, absorb odors.”

Built in the 1960s, the factory stood at 2926 Kraft Drive near Interstate 65 South in Nashville, an area transforming from manufacturing and warehouse facilities to office buildings and retail. The factory produced potato chips and pita chips until 2014, first under the Golden Flake brand and then as Tennessee Chip.

Like other structures built in the 1960s, 34,000 square feet of the original building had unique load-bearing, masonry walls with precast mono-T and precast roof panels. The other 33,000 square feet was pre-engineered conventional steel.

“We reinforced the precast mono-T load-bearing masonry walls in a 34,000-square-foot portion of the original building and created a new office shell from the original 1960s building,” said Rankin.

A new roof was installed to replace the leaky precast roof panels. New windows were cut and installed on three sides of the structure to bring daylight in. Additionally, asbestos found in the boiler room was abated. A six-inch sewer trunk line was established and new HVAC was installed.

The other portion of the structure, 33,000 square feet of pre-engineered conventional steel, was demolished to create parking space and make the facility more attractive for tenants.

It took approximately five months to transform the hodgepodge of four buildings, totaling 67,000 square feet on a two-acre site. But the challenging adaptive reuse project was successful and the new one-story office space on Kraft Drive was 100 percent leased four months after renovation was completed.

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