A nearly 100-year-old shoe factory has been reimagined as affordable housing in Lebanon, Pa.

Despite the building’s severe state of disrepair, The Woda Group recognized the opportunity to convert the blighted structure into safe, beautiful homes for low-income seniors 62 years and older. The developers turned their vision into reality by combining advanced green building principles with the adaptive reuse of a historic building.

They transformed the former A.S. Kreider Shoe Co. into Kreider Commons, a 50-unit affordable housing community. The development recently earned LEED Platinum certification, confirmation of the building’s big turnaround.

The team repurposed the brick building into one- and two-bedroom apartments, with all units having custom-made insulated windows, individually controlled heating and cooling systems, and Energy Star appliances.

From the beginning, the developers worked closely with energy and historic consultants and architects to design the all-electric building, says Andrew B. Cohen, senior vice president at Woda.

Kreider Commons, which is equipped with new building systems, provides residents with a community room with a kitchen, a library, a computer room, and a grandchild room to visit with family members. Each unit has an emergency-call system.

In addition to providing needed housing, the renewal of the lifeless factory has been important for the overall neighborhood, which includes the Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging office and activity center, a Salvation Army center, an elementary school, a grocery store, and other retail shops, plus many older residences. “Right in the middle was this derelict building,” Cohen says. “This was an opportunity to remove that blight from all of those good things.”

The project took part in the state Department of Community and Economic Development Industrial Site Reuse Program, which provided funds for site cleanup. The $12.1 million development was also financed with low-income housing tax credit equity from PNC Real Estate.