Explore the Transformation

Take an Inside Peek at Artspace Feed & Grain in Loveland

Artspace has done a brilliant job of reimagining the historic Loveland Feed & Grain building on West 3rd Street in Loveland. 

Brilliant Adaptive Reuse Project

Loveland’s Senior Planner in Sustainable Preservation, Marian Duran, set up a tour of the historic Loveland Feed & Grain building just weeks before the extensive rehabilitation project finally wraps up. Members of Loveland’s planning staff, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Loveland Historical Society, and Historic Larimer County were able to walk through all nine of the apartments as well as the 5,000 square feet of commercial space during an hour-and-a-half-long tour of the property on Thursday afternoon.

The work that has been done, and the open airiness of the building despite its industrial weightiness and lack of windows in the old grain elevators, is quite astounding. The created spaces are full of visual interest, and the variety of textures throughout the building entice a visitor to run their fingers along the walls. If you’re able to get in and see the building, I highly recommend it. 

Grain elevators were often built with stacked plank walls. These walls were able to withstand the force exerted by the grain as it filled the elevators. Given the danger of fire with the amount of dust and combustibles, the stacked plank construction also worked to slow the spread of flames. The walls of three former grain elevators can be distinguished framing the living area of one apartment. (Look for the end pieces of the boards to indicate where the wall sits perpendicular. One is easy to see, but the other wall is just visible behind the pole at right.) 

History of the Building

Loveland Farmers Milling & Elevator Company, 1892

Image from the Loveland Reporter, January 28, 1892. 

The Loveland Farmers Milling & Elevator Company was incorporated in February 1891. Henry Spatts, Eliza Danrough, and John Westhall were the initial stockholders. By February, materials were being delivered to begin construction of the building. By 1892, the mill was up and running.

An article in the Loveland Reporter on January 28, 1892 declared that, “No building ever has been or ever will be erected in the town of Loveland that will possess the history that does the Loveland Farmers’ Milling and Elevator Company mill.” According to that same article, “Two hundred and fifty sacks of flour every 24 hours is what this mill can turn out as soon as the machinery is well under way: 300 sacks is what it will turn out if run to its full capacity—and the flour is to be of the very best quality.”

The building continued to be used as a mill until 2003. In 2014, the non-profit organization Artspace purchased the building and an open lot next door.

Gabe Bergeron, lead architect from Ratio Design, led the tour group I was a part of. Here Gabe was showing us the porch with entrances into four of the apartments. From this shared porch, residents will be able to look out over the central courtyard between the Feed & Grain and the Artspace Loveland Lofts.

The painted red brick indicates the earliest iteration of the historic Loveland Farmers Milling & Elevator Company building. 

Newly constructed apartment building in Loveland made up of several segments in varying colors of brown, yellow and... skin tone (of all things).

The Loveland Lofts are also owned by Artspace and form the other half of the bracket around the Feed & Grain courtyard.

Living in this building will mean often looking up. The views are surprising and delightful. Where the stacked-plank walls of grain elevators were cut away, metal bands hold the remaining boards in place. 

Signs of the buildings’ former life are everywhere, from the worn bricks in one apartment to the ladders left intact in another apartment, and a floor plate in the third. 

Where a cool original door stood between what is now two apartments, the door was retained on one side and covered on the other. 

No two apartments are alike, but several are two stories with a kitchen, laundry, and living space on the lower floor and bedroom, closet space, and bathroom on the second. Wood, metal, and brick are often exposed, though not always, providing a variety of textures and colors throughout the apartments. 

Old structural stars and signs have been retained. The original wood floors were kept as much as possible, and though cleaned and sanded, still show signs of their former life. 

Repurposed brick feed & grain building with wood, brick, and metal additions.

The old scale that trucks once drove over to be weighed remains along the western side of the building. The bay window is where drivers would interact with mill workers in the building. Today that window lets glorious amounts of light into one of the apartments. 

One apartment even retains this incredible piece of machinery, complete with belts that pass through the floor to machinery a level below. 

Each apartment has its own exterior entrance as well as a doorway into the interior of the building. But to reach the commercial spaces, visitors will first enter this room that will likely double as a gallery. (The building entrance is at left and the rest of the building was behind me as I took this photo.) 

Each commercial space is a single room with a shared bathroom off of the main hall. There’s also a meeting room available to residents. 

Artspace, Ratio Design, and Spectrum GC have done an absolutely phenomenal job on this building. In addition to 30 units of affordable live/work space for artists and creatives in the Loveland Lofts next door, the Loveland Feed & Grain will soon host 9 additional affordable living spaces as well as 5,000 square feet of affordable work/retail space. Great care has been taken to retain the patina of the historic building so that it can continue to tell its own story as an integral part of Loveland’s history and identity. And the building has been reimagined as a delightful place to live, work, experience art, and support creatives that will continue to shape Loveland’s story into the future.