Reuse old buildings: Finding New Purpose in Unique Spaces

reuse old buildings

Reuse old buildings: Finding New Purpose in Unique Spaces

We live in a time where if something is broken, we toss it. We are no longer a culture of “fixers” but a community of “wasters”.  Have you ever tried to reuse old buildings? I haven’t. How long does it take for you to buy the newest iPhone even though your old one probably still works just fine! When was the last time you repaired something that was broken? Of you say, “within the last year” Cheers to you, that is awesome! That is not of most of us though!

We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling. Neil LaBute

Michael and I recycle as often as possible. We recycle everything from aluminum, glass, paper and to plastics, but we still see so much waste around us. That point brings me to our blog post for the week. I want to showcase businesses who have managed to restore old buildings to new structures! In doing so, these companies add to the economy, jobs and services and reduces stress on our natural resources. This might even turn into a fun series, later.

Do you ever see an abandoned building and think, “If I owned this, I would reuse old buildings and turn it into this or that!”? Pensacola, FL has taken numerous spaces and remade them into a different function. I have found 5 incredible spots that showcase this and are perfect for this first installment of unique spaces.

Unique Spaces:


1.Wisteria Tavern: Located on the scenic, tree-lined 12 Avenue, this white shed started out as a grocery and supply store sometime in the late 1920’s to early 30’s. Now, it is a thriving bar, serving only beer and decorated with Christmas lights and neon signs. Wisteria Tavern will continue serving its patrons in this residential zone. 3808 N 12th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32503

2.East Hill Market and Cafe: What was once a gas station on a bustling 9th Avenue, is now a market and eatery. Our favorite dishes include the meatballs, beef brisket, and any of the sandwiches! 1216 N 9th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32501

3.The Rex: Downtown Palafox street, offers an array of activities to indulge in. In 1939, the Rex Theatre was the place to catch movies on a Friday night. Now, residents can be found praying and worshiping on Sundays in this new church and event center. The newly renovated Rex, is home to Generation Church, previously called Harvest. The church partakes in community outreach projects all over the city. 18 N Palafox St, Pensacola, FL 32502

4.The Vineyard on 12th: The Vineyard on 12th Avenue is a fun place to go for wine and appetizers. Dine outside on the gated lawn or play a game of corn hole underneath twinkle lights. This charming date spot use to be the Pensacola Hospital. The hospital was opened in September 1915 as the first and oldest Catholic hospital in Florida. Now, the cafeteria has been converted into this restaurant’s kitchen and wine hall. This is my favorite example of how to reuse old buildings! 1010 North 12th Avenue.

5. B&W BBQ: Do you enjoy a good BBQ feast? Well, head down Scenic Hwy to B&W BBQ, for a BBQ feast inside an old gas station. It is run by Chef Cowboy, a 5-star chef who whips up deliciousness on the smoker! They have a rule at B & W, first time customers must sample all their meats, chicken, ribs, pulled pork before deciding what to get! 8101 Scenic Highway Pensacola, Florida

You may also enjoy these Pensacola area posts:

 Outdoor activities in Destin, Florida: The Heart of the Emerald Coast

Your first time visit to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, AL

Renewing our spirits at the Fresh water Springs

Pensacola, FL: Downtown and the Beach

Things to do in Milton, FL

Sea Therapy: Leave your worries behind

Are there any places in your hometown or from your travels, that stood out as being a unique space?

Reuse let people know we that we were treating old buildings with respect. -Jim Goring, Architect


Be Well and Travel Often!


reuse old buildings

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About Author

Maegan and Michael are Adventurous Southerners who share their world journey and approach to living the travel lifestyle. You can expect humor and lighthearted banter blended with REAL travel stories and tips. Maegan is a registered dietitian, while Michael has an excerise science background, but both are outdoor lovers, and revel in the beauty of cultures unlike their own. Now, Maegan and Michael are working towards expat life through remote work. Join the adventure. Do you love to travel? Does your full time job or career prevent you from living the life you dream of? This is the duo to follow. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.


  1. My hometown is notorious for tearing down old buildings and throwing up brand new condos, big box stores, etc. I love these repurposed old spaces!

    1. Maegan says:

      That’s so sad! We also have a lot of old homes that have become skin salons or boutiques. Where are you from?

  2. Jamie says:

    I loved the intro about people getting new technology when the latest model comes out even when the older model still works fine. It was very interesting to see how old buildings have been re-purposed.

  3. I love seeing old buildings restored to new purposes! My neighborhood is called the Warehouse District because the old warehouses have all been converted to living and office spaces. It’s cool to see a new twist on something old!
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    1. Maegan says:

      Oh I love that idea for the warehouses!

  4. Nina Danielle says:

    I love the East Hill Market and Cafe, can’t believe it used to be a gas station! That’s so neat. It’s awesome when old buildings can be repurposed.

    1. Maegan says:

      It’s one of my favorites too! The cafe is a mom and pop place, so it’s perfect!

  5. I love seeing street art murals on abandoned warehouses. I remember seeing a lot of buildings like so in Amsterdam and it was truly exciting to me. We have a neighborhood in Dallas that I’m praying doesn’t get gentrified.
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    1. Maegan says:

      I love beautiful murals and old neighborhoods. There is so much culture and history there that city’s should preserve!

  6. Karen says:

    I love this post! I think it’s so important to minimize waste and this is definitely one way. My favorite reused building is a former church converted into a bookstore. It’s heavenly!

    1. Maegan says:

      haha I see what you did there! Yes, I agree!

  7. Kate says:

    Such a fun idea for a post! My sister used to live in Pensacola so it’s fun to hear about all these spots that we passed by. We share an interest in recycling and finding new ways to use things past their prime.

    1. Maegan says:

      Oh! That is awesome that you sorta know Pensacola! 🙂

  8. Megan says:

    Love the idea behind this post! We really do live in a world of instant gratification – where we always need the newest thing. Happily, urban renewal projects like this are taking off around the US. What a great way to protect our heritage and make our cities more beautiful.

    1. Maegan says:

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  9. neha says:

    Above all, I love the idea that this post is encouraging – use old buildings. I have been to several such places where old buildings were put into place, converted into markets and restaurants. It feels fancy but little do we realize that it’s the need of the hour to preserve the natural resources and avoid more wastage.

    1. Maegan says:

      Thank you! I hope to use my (small) platform to make big differences as I go along!

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