DCA REPURPOSES CENTURY-OLD NABISCO BUILDING AS HQ, AIRBNB, COMMUNITY SPACE
WAYNE RISHER | THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
DCA, the communications consulting firm of Doug Carpenter, is seeking $144,941 in Downtown incentives to spend on its new headquarters at 11 West Huling, the 108-year-old former National Biscuit Company building.
The firm, which has championed civic initiatives ranging from bike-sharing to the Tennessee Brewery’s rescue, says the incentives would advance plans to rebrand the building and activate part of it as community space.
DCA’s applications for a $100,000 development loan and $44,941 exterior improvement grant are scheduled to be heard by the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday.
Carpenter bought the property, 11,000 square feet on ½ acre, for $1.48 million from photographer Charles “Woody” Woodliff last April and moved DCA offices there from 431 S. Main in December.
DCA also plans to operate as an AirBnB a 2,200-square-foot residence in the building's old carriage house and rent first-floor space, including a cyclorama photography cove, for events, concerts and photo shoots.
“11 West Huling allows DCA to open our culture to other people and projects,” Carpenter said. “We’re fortunate to work for and alongside many community-minded, inclusive organizations and initiatives, but we don’t want to stop there.”
The applications say the building owner would invest $48,849. Development work covered by the loan would include roof repairs, brick work, window and door repair and new interior walls.
The exterior improvement grant would pay for items such as custom door handles made by the National Ornamental Metal Museum, signs reading “Eleven W. Huling,” landscaping, a canopy, fencing and gate.
Carpenter believes DCA shares an affinity with the original building designers, based on its reading of an employee handbook and architectural documentation dating to 1912. The document said the company hoped its new building “would, in a measure, express to the public the purpose and ideals of the [Nabisco] Company.”
“We pride ourselves on honoring history and shaping a trajectory that enhances and adds value to the original intent. We enjoy the creative process,” said Carpenter.