10 Repurposed Industrial Buildings That Were Previously Abandoned

2. Abandoned Nuclear Power Plant, Germany

Wunderland-Kalkar-abandoned-nuclear-plant-Germany (Image: via Inhabitat)

In 1972, West Germany began construction of a nuclear power plant. The project – which ended up costing about $4 billion – was plagued not only by delays, but by protesters that worried the presence of the power plant was going to make the entire area rather unsafe. It took ten years for the project to be completed, but once the cooling towers and reactor buildings were complete, it never opened as a power plant.

Wunderland-Kalkar-abandoned-nuclear-plant-Germany-3 (Image: Koetjuh, public domain)

The site sat abandoned until it was bought in 1991 by a developer with a pretty wild idea. The grounds were redeveloped into an amusement park that, today, sees more hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. In an absolutely brilliant display of thinking outside of the box, the buildings once meant to house nuclear power now house 40 rides and attractions – including a 190 foot (58 meter) tall vertical swing that was built inside the old cooling tower.

Wunderland-Kalkar-abandoned-nuclear-plant-Germany-2 (Image: via Inhabitat)

Wunderland Kalkar has something for every member of the family. There’s also hotels, as well as bars and pubs… there’s lots of those, including an Irish pub, a Dutch pub, and a saloon modeled after the American west. Visitors can check out the wine cellar, hop on the carousel, brave the high-flying swings, and ride the roller coaster all around a site that was once developed to power a huge part of West Germany.

1. The Angus Shops, Canada

angus-site-canadian-railway-shops-montreal (Image: Lori Zimmer via Inhabitat)

At one time, the Canadian Pacific Railways maintained a maintenance complex in Montreal called the Angus Shops. During World War Two, there was enough work that needed to be done in maintaining trains, engines and locomotives that the complex employed 12,000 people; entire neighborhoods grew up around the industrial complex, but by the 1970s, sections of the train maintenance yard began to close little by little. When the shops finally shut down completely, it wasn’t like a single factory closing in a major city – it devastated the area.

In the early 1970s – before everything had even closed completely – there were already plans in place for using the space that had previously been devoted to fixing trains and engines. By the end of the decade, some of the space had been converted into commercial areas, but there was a massive backlash from the city about what should be done with the space. There was so much debate, in fact, that the original group that was going to spearhead the redevelopment backed out.

angus-site-canadian-railway-shops-montreal-2 (Image: Lori Zimmer via Inhabitat)

In 1983, the land passed to a non-profit agency that specialized in parceling land and buildings into the hands of other non-profits and for-profit companies. Students from Montreal’s universities also got on board the project, outlining a complete remodel of the entire industrial complex into a series of shops, storefronts and low- to mid-income housing. The result is an entire community with an industrial feel, right down to their grocery store. Local Canadian chain Loblaws moved into the old Angus Locoshop, while other buildings were converted into office blocks and a complex of technology companies. It’s a strange mix of high-tech and old-school industrial; walk into the main technology complex, and all the steel girders and catwalks still criss-cross the ceiling when it was train engines that sat inside the building instead of hard drives and servers.

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About the author: Debra Kelly




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