Armour office building to get facelift

Rendering of the office building at 301 E. Armour that Mac Properties hopes to redevelop.

Rendering of the office building at 301 E. Armour that Mac Properties hopes to redevelop.

On Armour Boulevard, an office building with Soviet Union ambiance stands out among the historic terra cotta properties.

The 1960s structure at 301 E. Armour that is nicknamed the “zebra building” for its vertical black and white stripes will soon be reborn.

It will be redesigned, renovated and turned into commercial on the two lower floors and 56 apartments on the four upper floors.

Peter Cassel, director of the Silliman Group and MAC Properties, announced that Tuesday at a meeting for the neighborhoods.

The development and management companies responsible for market rate renovation of more than 20 historic buildings on Armour bought the zebra building at a foreclosure sale.

The building as it looks today.

The building as it looks today.

It was built in “a decade when I think the architects weren’t working very hard,” Cassel said, but it can be prettied up some and put to good use.

For one thing, the parking lot behind it will provide 250 parking places, enough for the building tenants and renters and for other renters in nearby renovated buildings, he said.

The developer will also be looking for commercial tenants who can serve people living in the 1,500 apartments it has put in along Armour, he said.

One possible tenant prepares take out food and sells beer or wine to go with it, he said.

Cassel said there would be no attempt to put in anything like a 3 a.m. nightclub.

“We recognize this is a residential neighborhood and most importantly we are the neighbors,” he said.

Among other options for up to four commercial spaces would be a gym, he said.

Bryan Gross of Helix Architecture showed outside renderings of the improvements intended to “make the building more welcome and transparent and get more eyes on the street.”

Along Armour, the redesign of the “dark and foreboding” entry way would include transparent glass and warmer materials, possibly wood or material that looks like terra cotta, he said.

Cassel said they hope to get the project through the city council and into the construction process by February.

Several neighbors spoke in favor of the changes and the other work Silliman and Mac have done along Armour since 2007.

“It was like a slum,” said Steve Mitchell. “It’s like yuppieville now.”


  1. Eddy says:

    The apartments will be section 8? What king of “commercial tenants” there will be?

  2. Miguel says:

    The apartments will most likely be market rate like all of their properties. I think a grocery store would make the most sense there. Trader Joes?

  3. Hillary says:

    Miguel, all of MAC Properties are not just market rate. I know of at least 2 of their properties that I’ve lived in have Income Based apartments available.

  4. Joseph says:

    Some of the buildings are required to have 20% of the units be income restricted (not section 8). Many of the buildings are all market rate. The Gillham Plaza Building will be all market rate tenants. Look forward to having who ever is going into the retail space! Walking distance.

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