When opening in 1915, Cleveland's May Company building was Ohio's largest department store. In 2020, it opened its doors again as The May on Public Square, a luxurious 307-unit apartment building. Its revival tapped into two trendsthe disruption of business districts and the push to add housing downtown. Department stores often offer great views, are aesthetically appealing inside and out, and let property owners collect tax credits for historic preservation. The May's entire block offered enough room to create interior parking. They also added a three-story open-air atrium that lets natural light into interior apartments. While plenty of department store conversions are not residential, most have some ground-floor retaila reminder of the vibrancy that originally made it a destination for generations.

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