Neither historic nor sexy, concrete block and masonry buildings find new life in Northeast Pennsylvania as homes, offices or gyms, springing out of the region's industrial past.

Adaptive reuse advocates say the old cement block is sturdy. After standing for a century, it can be reused for another century. Not to mention, reusing the masonry shell of a building can cut down on cost.

The commercial building stock in the region tends to be a century to a century-and-a-half old. The savings potential and desire to preserve buildings that show even traces of charm has made some local architects and builders adept at turning old block and brick into something different.

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