How We Redesigned An Early 20th Century Structure Into A 21st Century Sensation

 In Development

Sitting prominently on Charlotte Avenue, our recent adaptive reuse project, L&L Market, has attracted much attention since its completion. With nearly a century of history behind the building, it was important to building owner Tamay Ozari that we maintain its historic charm while adding a much-needed architectural facelift. 


Built in 1929, the building was originally the Se-Ling Hosiery Mill, where much of the neighborhood worked, making it a well-known structure there. It then went through a series of different owners and new identities, including the Genesco Factory and the Madison Mill. After the closing of the Madison Mill, the building sat vacant for many years.

About 23 years ago, Tamay Ozari entered the picture, buying the building for his business, L&L Restaurant Equipment Company. With a run-down brick exterior and barbed wire fence, it had lost its curb appeal as the city continued to develop around it. 

With offers left and right, Tamay could’ve taken millions of dollars and let someone knock the building down and start over. Instead, he wanted two things: 1) to save the building and maintain its character and 2) to create a place that contributes to the community. And he needed a great architecture and design team to do it.

When tasked with redesigning this West Nashville building, our team, partnering with Dowdle Construction Group, put their heads together to create an attractive and trendy spot for locals to enjoy for years to come. Here’s how we did it:

The Vision

The building had faced years of disuse, making for some challenges early on. With no HVAC system and an outdated structure , we had to find a way to fix up this old building in a way that preserved as many of the original elements as possible, while meeting 21st century structural requirements. With help from the owner and Dowdle Construction Group, our team turned this vision into a reality.

Repurposing Through the Roof

One of the biggest issues we faced was trying to salvage the existing 40-50 year-old roof, which was in complete  disrepair. To honor the owner’s wishes to preserve as much of the original structure as we could, we replaced about 30 percent of the actual roof, but we managed to save and repurpose a good bit of the roof decking. It was true tongue and groove panelling, which is hard to find these days. But we did some digging and found a mill in Kentucky that would replicate it for us. 

Little Details

We didn’t stop at the roof. We were able to salvage all the original flooring, which we resealed and diamond polished. The building also had some charming original brick, which we decided to keep in several areas, including the restrooms and the courtyard, where we created a unique two-tiered patio. One of its most prominent elements is a 70-foot smokestack, which used to be connected to a coal-fired furnace for the original factory.

Windows Galore

If there’s one thing that stands out about the L&L Market, it’s the windows. The old steel frame windows weren’t practical anymore, but they were a signature design element of the building. We were able to save all of the old windows by stripping away the paint and adding insulated window panes to improve efficiency. Now scattered both inside and outside of the building, the original windows encompass what the new design is all about: industrial history and charm. 

It wasn’t easy, but the best things in life never are! This renovation entailed a lot of redesigning and fiddling with the outdated architecture, but it came together in a way that made both the owner and the locals proud. Since its opening, L&L Market has been pretty busy, proving itself to be the perfect fusion of Nashville’s past and present.