The Avenue Lofts condo building at 410 East Fifth Street is officially coming down. Demolition is currently underway by construction firm AAR Incorporated this week at the 0.8-acre property at the northeast corner of East Fifth and Trinity Streets, only a bit more than a year after the 2022 buyout of this 38-unit downtown condo community by local developer Wilson Capital. Representatives of the developer say interior asbestos abatement work has been taking place at the site for some time, but crews have moved on to exterior demolition this week, with the building now almost half gone.
Plans by Wilson for a tower at this site were originally marketed as a record-breaking 80-story supertall residential building, but were officially scaled down by nearly half earlier this summer. The new apartment tower planned for the site rises 44 floors with 350 units, and is expected to break ground by the end of the year.
The Avenue Lofts building was originally constructed in 1943 as office space for the state health department, but converted for residential use in 1999 by developers the Sutton Company and local architect Charles Fisk. Funded in part by a $135,000 Public Works Administration grant backslapped into existence by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, the New Deal-era stylings of the structure are a good example of the PWA Moderne architectural style, though the building is ineligible for historic preservation due to extensive modification during its adaptation to loft-style condos. We’ve mentioned this before, but the rows of porthole-shaped round windows near the entrance people often cite as the building’s most iconic feature were added during the condo conversion, and are not part of the original design.
Though we’ll be sad to see this iconic structure go, it’s hard to argue with the logic of replacing 38 condos with 350 apartments a block from downtown’s new rail station and future transit hub. If you’d like to steal a chunk of the old building, now’s the time.