The Future of a Factory

Packing House

Packing House

Cambridge, Maryland

Our transformation of a former canning factory into a modern commercial space supports the businesses that are remaking the Eastern Shore’s economy. A fixture in the town of Cambridge since 1920, the building belonged to the Phillips Packing Company – a titan in the canning industry that once employed a quarter of the town’s residents. The plant closed in 1960, leading to widespread unemployment and civil unrest.

The Packing House’s renewal is intended to foster regional economic opportunities connected to agriculture, aquaculture, environmental technologies, and tourism. The building provides office spaces for a variety of tenants, a shared-use commercial kitchen supporting start-up food businesses, and an atrium and multipurpose rooms used for community programs and events.

In a time when conserving embodied carbon is critical, this project serves as a fantastic example of the richness and benefit that can come from working with a historic building.

A Canning Capital

The building now known as the Packing House was originally constructed for the Cambridge Furniture Company. It was soon acquired by the Phillips Packing Company as a cannery and dubbed Factory F. It was the largest fruit cannery in the country and also produced prepackaged rations for US troops during World War II.

Honoring the Past

Today, Factory F is the last remaining Phillips factory. Our design honors the building’s industrial past while updating it for present needs. The exterior has been restored to its historical appearance, while interior features the historic structure, textures, and artifacts.

Sustainable Stewardship

The revitalized Packing House is LEED Gold certified. We carefully incorporated sustainable features into the historic fabric while maintaining the building’s character, including weaving high-efficiency mechanical systems throughout the building and restoring the historic steel sash windows to daylight the space. The transformative renovation is a featured project in the AIA's Guide to Building Reuse for Climate Action.

Designing for Tax Credits

Funding for the Packing House’s transformation includes federal and state historic tax credits (HTCs) and new markets tax credits (NMTCs). Our design complies with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, a requirement for a successful HTC application. Learn more about tax credits.

Unpacking Cambridge

Learn more about the history of Cambridge and revitalization of the Packing House in Unpacking Cambridge, a documentary by Maryland Public Television.

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