At Warehaus, we often hear the same reactions when guests visit our studio for the first time.
“Wow! What a great space.”
“I’d love to work in an office like this.”
Not only is the building an impressive space, but our headquarters also has a deep history in the city of York, Pennsylvania.
Warehaus’ corporate headquarters is located in the former Thomas Somerville Building, a once abandoned industrial building within the York Historic District. The building, constructed in 1920, was built by the P.A. & S. Small Company. The Smalls were an enterprising family in York. George Small, a builder, opened a hardware store on the square in 1809. In 1833, his sons, Phillip Albright Small and Samuel Small, established the P.A. & S. Small Company. Building on the hardware business begun by their father, the P.A. and S. Small Company expanded into a wide variety of industries, including flour milling, banking, iron production and hardware sales. The Thomas Somerville building was constructed in approximately 1920 as a warehouse to store pipe and steel for the Small’s hardware business.
The front block of the building was used as storefront and show rooms, with offices on the second floor. Warehouse space was located to the rear of the building. The building is located in York’s Northwest Triangle, once a bustling industrial area of the city shaped by rail lines and a bend in the Codorus Creek. This was an opportune location for a warehouse – a rail siding was constructed to directly enter the building through large doors along the West elevation. This allowed supplies to be unloaded within the warehouse itself, saving time and labor. During the second half of the 20th century, the P.A. and S. Small Company evolved into a wholesale supplier of plumbing, heating and industrial supplies. The Thomas Somerville building became the headquarters for this operation. The company was sold in 1984, after which the Thomas Somerville Company bought the building and continued to use it as office and warehouse space. Like other the industries within the Northwest Triangle, the Thomas Somerville Company eventually moved out of the City, and the building was abandoned. Eventually, the property was acquired by York’s Redevelopment Authority. In 2009 Warehaus embarked on a full-scale rehabilitation to convert the Thomas Somerville Building into our corporate headquarters.
Though vacant for several years, the property retained much of its industrial character. On the exterior, former storefronts, evenly spaced steel windows, simple brick corbelling and a large clerestory monitor communicated the building’s industrial past. On the interior, the building retained the large open spaces characteristic of a historic warehouse, with utilitarian finishes including unfinished brick walls, a dirt floor and exposed steel columns. As a historic industrial building, the Thomas Somerville Building contributes to the significance of the York Historic District and symbolizes the industrial history of the Northwest Triangle. Warehaus’ goal for the project was to preserve the historic character of the building while designing a highly sustainable facility that fostered communication, creativity and a shared identity among building users. The large open warehouse space was converted into open design and production studios. The office block at street level was designed as leasable space for a restaurant or merchant, returning that portion of the building to its original function as an active storefront. On the second level, the front office block serves as conference and library space.
The final product achieved LEED Platinum certification while preserving the character-defining features of the building.
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