The 1934 Coast Guard Station on Lake Michigan was transformed into the new home for the Oliver Art Center.

QEA created a two level gallery, light filled classrooms, demonstration kitchen and additional support spaces. An excellent example of sustainable stewardship, this abandoned building has been brought back to community service as a gathering place for the arts and a premier rental space for local events.


  • Adaptive Use of Former U.S. Coast Guard Station
  • 10,000 SF renovation and 2,700 SF addition
  • Built in 1927
  • LEED Platinum Certified


  • 2014 Building Award, Michigan Historic Preservation Network

Past, Present, and Future

Built for a very specific purpose, the Frankfort Station served the Coast Guard well for over 70 years. Rehabilitated as the art center the community is able to embrace the building. No longer just an icon marking the entry to the city from the water, it is a public building that all are welcome to enter and enjoy. Providing classes – art, dance, cooking and more, gallery shows, music, lectures, and many, many community events including high school prom, weddings, and benefit dinners, the art center has become a new social hub for the city.  

Sustainable Stewardship

In November 2012, the art center became the first certified LEED Platinum commercial project in northern Michigan. The predicted savings in energy costs from building improvements and the new mechanical design earned the project a perfect 10 of 10 points for the Optimizing Energy Performance credit. 
The LEED point system recognizes the environmental benefits of this project which included redeveloping an existing downtown property, abating the lead paint on the historic siding, properly managing storm water, and preventing exterior lighting from spilling to adjacent properties or into the night sky.  

“The City of Frankfort, as owner, should also take pride in this accomplishment as a demonstration of how individuals and government agencies can support creating a healthier environment for future generations.”

Mike Quinn