J: Furbish Company/ Lucky’s Warehouse

By D’Arcy Placilla

Lucky’s Warehouse, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore, is an excellent example of sustainable adaptive reuse of a historic building in an urban industrial setting. Creating and reusing buildings in this way is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. The Furbish Company—owned and operated by Michael Furbish—used a process called total building performance or whole building design, which leverages the strengths of several systems to create an extremely efficient, sustainable building. Formed in 2003 to install and service green roofs in Baltimore, the Furbish Company is dedicated to providing sustainable buildings services that benefit the environment, offer greater comfort to occupants, provide healthy indoor space, lower operating costs, increase asset value, and give customers superior aesthetics. Their goal is to mimic original conditions and biohabitat of the site and to create more energy than is consumed while fostering environmental wellness and respecting local communities and encouraging diversity and social equity.

Lucky’s Warehouse was originally built in the 1920s as a structure to house a millwork shop and was later converted into a storage facility. Then in the last century, like so many in the area, the warehouse fell into disrepair. But the warehouse has been rehabbed into a green building using simple, durable strategies, which provides a healthy, affordable, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly commercial space in an area of Baltimore that has suffered from deindustrialization over the years. As a project undertaken by the Furbish Company, Lucky’s Warehouse sustainably rebuilt the warehouse and turned the once dilapidated building into their company headquarters in 2008. In a recent interview, Mr. Furbish explains, “the first step in sustainability is to reuse an existing building,” and went on to describe his basic philosophy of relying on simple effective ways of delivering a high performance sustainable building. This philosophy applied to what was once a broken-down ware- house transformed Lucky’s from a place of abandoned industry into a powerful building—the home of a revolutionary and sustainable company—and sets the bar for future developers and planners on adaptive reuse projects.

The Furbish Company and Lucky’s Warehouse symbolizes a green economic future for the Baybrook community of Baltimore.