Marshall Street Armory

Adaptive reuse to house Collaborative Non-Profit Headquarters.

This 41,000 square foot military armory and training facility is being adapted for a new life as a collaborative non-profit headquarters which will also house its redeveloper, the Gillespie Group


Marshall Street, Lansing, Michigan


The Gillespie Group


Download Marshall Street Armory Profile PDF

From 1924 to 2005, the Marshall St. Armory of Lansing, Michigan was home to the 119th Field Artillery of the Michigan National Guard. This year, the Armory will be home to a new unit – the Gillespie Group, along with seven nonprofit organizations.


As Gillespie Group’s first historical renovation, this ambitious project shows excellent Practical Environmental Stewardship™ through innovative applications of adaptive reuse.

Throughout its nearly 90 years of service to the Lansing community, the Armory has hosted a variety of events, including the training sessions of the National Guard, dances, weddings, circuses, boxing matches, WWII rallies, and St. Patrick’s Day parties. Gillespie holds fond childhood memories of events at the Armory and saw it as a natural opportunity to expand his firm’s expertise. Five years after lapsing into disuse, the Gillespie Group purchased the building in 2010 and began renovations.

Designed by WWI veteran Lynn W. Fry, the Armory’s structure echoes with historical significance. When the gym’s tin ceiling was removed, a stunning ceiling of steel trusses was revealed, with the dark green military paint still in excellent condition. The entire color scheme of the building was changed to match this accent.


The original wood floor of Vadnais Hall was in pristine condition and is now the flooring in the newly renovated office spaces. A sweeping hallway through the middle of the gymnasium also features historic photographs from the military community that inhabited the Armory for so many years. The stage area in the gymnasium was turned into three separate offices, with a glass pane displaying the symbol of the 119th Field Artillery in remembrance.


Situated below the main floor, the officers’ lounge, armament lockers and the militaryhorse stable, have all been repurposed to fit the needs of the Armory’s newest tenants. The officers’ lounge, originally decorated with shag carpeting and little natural light, is now a high-tech, airy conference room. The salvaged red stable doors now stand proudly in their new location as the entrance for the conference room. Obstructions were removed from windows to allow for more natural light and windows were replaced with highly efficient models. The accounting department of the Gillespie Group now calls the old armament lockers their new home.

By revitalizing this building Gillespie was already making a positive impact on their communities’ environment. They saved on material consumption by using the elements of the older structure, minimized the community’s carbon footprint by building in anurban core and on a previously developed site, causing minimal wildlife disruption. Ninety percent of the demolition and construction materials were recycled, reducing the burden on landfills.

In an historical irony given the building’s use by the American military during World War II, a highly efficient Mitsubishi HVAC system was installed during renovation (Mitsubishi manufactured the infamous and formidable Japanese “Zero” fighter plane).


This system regulates temperature by efficiently moving air between rooms to achieve equilibrium.The Energy Star rating system was only recently able to provide a score high enough for this system because of its superior efficiency. Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient products developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agencies.

Additional insulation was installed along the building perimeter, and a reflective white roof was added, substantially increasing the structure’s solar reflective index and reducing its urban heat island effect. Lighting in most offices are motion activated, and all sinks and toilets meet the highest efficiency standards.

By providing a common space for nonprofits with similar goals and practices, the Gillespie Group also reduced the environmental footprint of the building by creating shared copy rooms, break rooms, kitchens, conference rooms, and bathrooms.

This innovative historical renovation shows that the Gillespie Group truly understands the meaning of Practical Environmental Stewardship™, as they integrate a community’s landmark and its identity into a fresh new facility that honors tradition and the environment simultaneously.

For more information Contact: the Gillespie Group at (517) 333-4123 or visit them at