Studio GWA announces the restoration of the Old Courthouse in Woodstock

Studio GWA, an architecture & design firm, announces the restoration of the Old McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, Illinois.

The historic landmark courthouse, sheriff's house, and jail, originally built in stages between 1857 and 1887, sits on the west side of the historic Woodstock Square, occupying approximately 30,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space.

The major renovation includes all three stories of the building with the addition of a glass and brick stair and elevator, enabling public accessibility to all levels. The space will be home to five main tenants and three micro retail units, which amounts to five bars, two full-service commercial kitchens, a brewery, a catering kitchen, a large event space, and additional meeting spaces.

The Old Courthouse Center, as it will now be known, has new gas, water, sanitary, storm and power systems in all spaces, including geothermal heating and cooling, which adds up to an estimated 40% in energy savings.

"The Old Courthouse has been an icon in Woodstock for over a century. Many similar buildings have been torn down in communities all around the Midwest, losing a part of their history that they'll never get back," says Studio GWA partner Aaron Holverson. "The City of Woodstock is fortunate to have forward thinking leadership that recognizes the importance of these historic structures and the determination to develop innovative solutions to difficult challenges to make a project like the courthouse work. We're proud to have been able to be a part of not only preserving but injecting new life into downtown Woodstock with this project!"

For over 10 years, Studio GWA has worked alongside the City of Woodstock in their efforts to restore and redevelop the Old Courthouse.

The leadership at the city has had the foresight to recognize the importance of the Old Courthouse to the community and has found ways to secure its future. Aside from the full renovation, Studio GWA has provided design assistance for critical items including restoration of the copper cupola, lightning protection, structural modifications, woodwork restoration, and entry stair restoration to both buildings.

"The 19th-century details and feel of the building have been retained while technology, energy-efficiency, accessibility, and conveniences have all been greatly enhanced," says City Planner Darrell Moore. "In short, this looks like a very old building, but it functions like a modern one. With these renovations, we believe The Old Courthouse Center will be a point of pride for many generations to come."

The restoration project would not have been possible without Historic Tax Credits.

Having been added to The National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Old Courthouse already had in place a key factor for Historic Tax Credit eligibility. However, as a tax-exempt entity, the City of Woodstock was unable to monetize the credits. To side-step this obstacle, the city partnered with PNC Bank and ownership and management was transferred to a for-profit LLC to which the city belongs, thereby opening the door to more than $5 million in state and federal Historic Tax Credits.

State and Federal Historic Tax Credits have been a powerful financial resource for many historic projects, providing tax credits to revenue-producing entities for building projects listed on the National Register of Historic Places or within a National Register Historic District. Studio GWA has been at the forefront of historic tax credit consulting for over 40 years, helping clients navigate the requirements of the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, resulting in a historically sensitive approach to a dynamic new use for any historic building.

About Studio GWA

Studio GWA is a full-service architecture and design firm known for its expertise in historical preservation and adaptive re-use, bringing skill and enthusiasm to all types of projects across commercial, retail, mixed-use, and multi-family residential spaces. The firm's dynamic and forward-thinking team of urban planning, architecture, interior design, and development professionals support all phases of projects from master planning through construction.

Studio GWA continues to expand their historic adaptive re-use portfolio with Colman Yards in Rockford, Illinois, and The Eugene Hotel in Monroe, Wisconsin.

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