Like us on Facebook

Roshek Building

Transforming a Historic Downtown Icon in America's First Smart City

The historic Roshek Building, centerpiece of downtown Dubuque, Iowa’s sustainable redevelopment received the US Green Building Council’s highest LEED Platinum Certification. evolveEA coordinated the project team’s approach that combined sustainable development, green building and historic preservation to galvanize redevelopment in historic downtown Dubuque.

The project shows how effective public private partnership focused on sustainable redevelopment can dramatically turn around declining small towns and cities… even during a national recession. Over 30 organizations spearheaded by the Roshek Building nonprofit owner Dubuque Initiative, developer contractor Gronen Properties, and major tenant IBM Corporation initiated a sustainable redevelopment effort to improve employment opportunities, repair the historic town fabric, and reduce Dubuque’s environmental footprint while breathing new life into both a town and the surrounding region.

The project leveraged the City of Dubuque’s ongoing commitment to sustainability to convince IBM to locate a new Technology Services Delivery Center into the underutilized Roshek Department Store Building. In addition, Dubuque became the first North American demonstration city for IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative. The historic restoration of the nine story tower, the largest building in Dubuque, upgraded the energy efficiency of the building walls, windows, roof and mechanical systems while preserving the character and detailed facade of the landmark structure. Interior spaces were upgraded to maximize daylight, views, thermal comfort, ventilation and the use of healthy green materials.

Over 130,000 sf of high quality office space was provided for IBM. In addition 10,000 sf of ground floor commercial space and 63,000 sf of office space, some of which is leased to non-profit and start-up businesses at below market rates, was renovated. The project cost is $45 million and generated 2540 new jobs with an anticipated regional impact of over $1.6 billion in business growth over the first 10 years of operation.

evolveEA worked with the project team from early design through occupancy, leading community and business district charrettes, educating the design team about sustainable strategies, developing project goals, adapting green strategies to historic preservation, managing LEED certification, and leading an effort to measure and verify building performance post occupancy.

The project effectively combined historic preservation with LEED certification to:
• Upgrade the energy efficiency of the historic façade while restoring and preserving masonry, stone, metal and wood detailing
• Train the local workforce in historic deconstruction that carefully removes, protects, preserves and reuses original building materials
• Serve as a model for how to sustainably restore Dubuque’s historic downtown millwork district

The Roshek Building LEED Platinum Certification demonstrates that sustainable projects pursuing triple bottom line approaches that simultaneously improve economy, equity and environment are succeeding to revitalize our communities, protect our environment and restore our economy.