Lofty Aspirations

As the Girl Scouts celebrate 100 years of cookie sales, one of its former bakeries in Richmond finds new purpose.

At night, against a darkening Richmond sky, bulbs light up a vintage “Home of FFV Cookies and Crackers” sign atop a once-closed factory.

The former headquarters of the Southern Biscuit Company/FFV Cookies underwent a $24 million transformation and reopened in 2012 as stylish, urban apartments.

“We often get compliments on how we were able to preserve so much of the historical structure,” says property manager Michelle Henry of Aneka Guna & Affiliates. “We do have people come by all the time that want to see and share stories of when they worked here.”

The 178 apartments feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, and original floors, ranging from cement to wood. (Branch Construction in Roanoke completed the renovation.) Marks of the past appear on the refinished floors—perhaps scrapes from the wheels of old industrial carts. Two of the apartments were built into the original oven area. One of the apartments has an arched exposed brick ceiling which originally allowed the large oven wheel rack to rotate within the 30-foot high ovens. 

Girl Scouts cookie poster 1962.

“When we opened, we gave away lots of boxes of Girl Scout cookies to our first residents. We have had open houses with cookie treats and we continue to try to incorporate the history of the building into our community social activities,” says Henry.

Built in 1927, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located between the Fan and industrial chic Scott’s Addition. A contemporary mural on the building’s water tower, painted by the artist Mickael Broth, depicts the Girl Scout logo as well as city images—a mix of the old and the new.

“All of the residents love being close to the growing area. They mention walking to the restaurants and breweries and enjoying all this area has to offer,” says Henry.

The cookie loft attracts people of all ages, from young singles and families, to empty nesters. “There is a good sense of community here at Cookie Factory.”

For more about Virginia’s Girl Scouts and the organization’s 100 years of cookie sales click here to buy our April 2017 issue.

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