Home Recycler True to Name

June 23, 2010 : The Republican, by Jim Kinney

SPRINGFIELD – In keeping with its mission of reusing building materials in environmentally friendly ways, ReStore Home Improvement Center touted its plans Tuesday to move into expanded quarters in a former furniture warehouse at 83 Warwick St. by next summer.

The building located near Gurdon Bill Park was most recently a warehouse for Kavanagh Furniture Co. but was once a distribution center for the Steiger Department Store chain, said Robert J. Greeley of R. J. Greeley Co., the real estate broker representing the ReStore. It’s got 32,000 square feet of first-floor space, four times as much space as the current ReStore in the Gasoline Alley complex on Albany Street.

ReStore sells everything from used shingles and chandeliers to secondhand doorknobs and ductwork at bargain prices. Its deconstruction teams have recycled entire homes.

“This will be our ‘big box,’” said York Mayo, chairman of the ReStore’s Capital Campaign Committee. “It will be a Home Depot for the ReStore.”

ReStore Director John E. Majercak said besides a more “retail-like” experience with wider aisles and new sections featuring recycled appliances and environmentally-friendly home products in addition to expanded sections of trim, windows, doors and other building materials. Majercak said there will also be space to educate builders and home owners in environmentally-friendly and energy-saving ways.

ReStore will also add about five employees to its current staff of 10, not counting the additional deconstruction crews it will need to collect inventory for the expanded retail operation, Majercak said.

ReStore itself received $900,000 in federal stimulus money through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to make the building itself more weather tight and efficient. Once the work is completed, the building will use half as much electricity and natural gas as it would have if it was reopened conventionally.

“I think getting carbon-smart is something we all have to work on,” said U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, who was a guest at Tuesday morning’s ribbon cutting.

Philip M. Giudice, state commissioner of energy resources, said Massachusetts received $10 million in federal stimulus funding for energy grants but received 10 times that amount in requests.

Majercak said the project will total $3.1 million. ReStore has raised $940,000 of its $1.1 million fund-raising goal, a number that includes $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant from the city of Springfield. ReStore, a unit of the Center for Ecological Technology Inc. in Pittsfield and Northampton, will also borrow $1.1 million via MassDevelopment and Westfield Bank.

Add in the $900,000 federal stimulus energy grant and it adds up to $3.1 million.

Greeley said he’d been looking for space on ReStore’s behalf for years. But it was hard to find something large enough that was located in Springfield’s urban core and close to highways. ReStore was also looking for parking and the former warehouse has a now overgrown lot on the Armory Street side of the building.

Majercak said ReStore bought the building last week at a cost of $580,000. It totals 60,000 square feet. But the 30,000-square-foot second floor won’t be renovated until a later date.

© Copyright 2010 The Republican.