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Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft's Historic Renovation: The Beacon – Rialto and Capitol


One of Coco's favorite projects is the renovation of the most famous Art Deco building in the middle of Jersey City – The Beacon. Originally the Jersey City Medical Center, the Beacon includes 10 major high rise buildings, as well as many lower-level facilities. Original construction began in 1928, and the project wasn’t completed until 1941. Today, the Beacon is the home to multiple residential condominiums, apartments, entertainment spaces and more.

Because of the historical significance of The Beacon, it was important that these buildings be preserved and repurposed. In 2005, the renovation of The Beacon began, now considered the largest restoration project in the country and in the history of New Jersey. The Rialto and Capitol buildings were restored first, and took a total of 4 years to complete. The cost of renovating these two buildings alone was $133 million, which also makes it the largest Historic Preservation Tax Credit project in the nation.

When completing a historic renovation, especially one listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is important that the contractors and architects comply with a strict set of restoration standards in order to qualify for the applicable tax credits. The work must be consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which includes repairing and protecting original building materials and finishes.

The goal of the project was to restore The Beacon to its original state, so the execution came with many challenges.

Anthony Guglielmo of Metal Man Restoration was selected to restore the buildings’ metal work. He reached out to Coco Metals in 2007 for our help in restoring the buildings’ deteriorating architectural grilles.

Coco Architectural Grilles & Metalcraft's Historic Renovation: The Beacon – Rialto and Capitol

To recreate the original grilles, we traced the perforated patterns of the original castings and fixtures that had deteriorated or broken over time. We then were able to completely restore the original finish and design of all the grilles in the two buildings. Some we reproduced in brass, and some we reproduced in steel. The steel grilles were finished with a proprietary 3-step process to match the brass finish by Metal Man Restoration.

In addition to the decorative perforated grilles that were required, we also provided some aluminum bar grilles with a gold anodized finish and assisted with some bronze railings.

The renovation project was considered an unqualified success. In 2009, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Historic Preservation Office awarded an Outstanding Contribution of Excellence Award to these contractors and architects and others who participated in the Rialto and Capitol Buildings.

Coco Architectural Grilles and Metalcraft is proud to have worked on this monumental restoration. Our ability to design, engineer, form and finish metal products on site allows us to participate in historical renovations like that of The Beacon. For more information on metalcraft in your next historical restoration, contact us today.

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