The Wisconsin Historical Society has honored Baum Revision with the 2020 Historic Restoration Award for their role in the preservation of the Garver Feed Mill, an iconic landmark on Madison's near East Side that has become a production space for emerging artisan food makers, wellness studios and hospitality providers.
The Restoration Award recognizes the community effort to bring new life to the former feed mill, which has stood vacant for almost 20 years. The mill was recently restored by Baum Revision, who collaborated with the City of Madison to work towards preserving the mill and utilizing the grounds as a space for Madison’s burgeoning local food industry.
“With its focus on food and health, the restored and repurposed building continues as a surviving link between Madison and its regional agricultural heritage,” said Christian Overland, Ruth and Hartley Barker Director & CEO of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
In 2017, Baum Development began the rehabilitation of Garver Feed Mill. With extremely poor conditions to build on, preservationists tackled the challenges of entirely missing sections of the roof, general deterioration of major parts of the structure and wall masonry which were described to be in dire condition.
Today, the Garver Feed Mill is home to 11 small businesses that have continued to grow and develop their businesses in the year since the space opened.
“We get to come here every day, and you can't walk into this building, understand the history of it, the architecture, and the age and not just feel great about walking in the door every day,” said Richard Wista, owner of Ledger Coffee.
While COVID-19 has minimized current tenants' ability to serve community members in the way they often have in the past, Bryant Moroder of Baum Revision emphasized the space’s commitment to safety and continued fellowship.
“We want to let people know we are really trying to go above and beyond so people feel comfortable and confident in their experience,” he said.
Currently, Garver is offering a variety of ways for community members to engage with the businesses in the building through contactless delivery and outdoor dining, curbside pickup, and online programming and services, including yoga and cooking classes.
“The challenge with coronavirus is the very thing that made Garver successful over the last year, which is bringing the community together is the exact thing that coronavirus challenges,” said Moroder. Preceding the pandemic, in addition to all 11 businesses being open for their regular service, community members had the opportunity to attend Saturday Farmers Markets to support local farmers and the businesses in Garver.
As a destination for both formal events and gatherings, a space for community engagement, and home to a variety of up-and-coming local businesses, Garver aims to remain a welcoming community space for Madisonians and out-of-town visitors.
“All of our businesses are doing very unique and exciting things not just in Madison but in their industry, said Moroder. “Our goal is to have it continue to be a platform for our businesses to grow and be successful.”