By Clare S. Richie
Last month, Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) and its many partners gathered to celebrate the milestone of purchasing their 1116 Murphy Ave. facility on the south side of Atlanta.
The acquisition and renovation of the 70,000 square foot, 100-year-old warehouse is critical to the execution LBC’s mission.
“Improving the functionality of the space will help LBC increase our impact – more materials diverted from landfills, more dollars saved by our customers, more free materials to nonprofits, and more community support through education/outreach,” LBC Executive Director Shannon Goodman said.
LBC is a five-year old nonprofit that removes reusable building materials – like cabinets, hardwood flooring, doors, windows and appliances – from demolition and renovation projects. In 2016, LBC captured one million pounds of usable materials from the waste stream.
These materials are sold at the Murphy Avenue warehouse at 50 to 85 percent less than retail or donated to nonprofits, a savings of $1.4 million to the community since 2011.
“The facility is the nexus where everybody comes together to figure out how can we put all this stuff back into use,” Goodman stated.
In the past five years, LBC has donated free building materials to 90 nonprofits, schools and houses of faith, another cornerstone of its mission. For example, LBC supplied Friends of Refugees with materials to build a new green house for its community garden.
The facility acquisition, triggered by an expiring lease with a buy out option, created an urgency that many supporters, including the Kendeda Fund, stepped up to meet. With the Kendeda Fund acting as a “bridge guarantor,” 22 individuals serving as loan guarantors, and $115,000 in pro bono legal work from Alston & Bird – Atlantic Capital Bank agreed to make the loan so LBC could own its home.
Up next for LBC is launching a capital campaign to repay the loan, repair/renovate the facility and raise more awareness and community support, thereby increasing the scale of its work.
“We expect that the campaign will be about $3 million,” Goodman said.
Goodman sees property ownership as a means to strengthen relationships with longstanding partners – such as Perkins+Will, JE Dunn, Skanska, Leapley, New South, Holder, DPR, Walter P Moore, Integral Group, City of Atlanta – and a catalyst to reach new partners.
“The goal is for design, construction and real estate professionals when they become aware of demolition opportunities or when they begin designing a project to try to figure out how to salvage usable materials and how to find salvaged materials for their project,” Goodman said.
Repairing and renovating its facility will enable LBC to handle this growth. For 2017, it’s on track to divert 1.5 million pounds of material from landfills with its eye toward the 4-5 million pound annual workload of mature reuse operations.
Growth will also extend to the philanthropic community, with 60 more nonprofits to receive donated materials in 2017, and to LBC’s own neighborhood.
“As we put down roots in 30310, we need the community involved in our programming efforts and behind us as we go out and tell the larger community why this project matters,” Goodman said.
Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Shepherd is already on board. “I’m proud to have this facility in my district; the BeltLine right up the street; Fort McPherson right down the street. A lot of redevelopment around our community and as we started working on the City of Atlanta’s Brownfield initiative several years ago, this building was one of the first we recognized.”
The public can help, too. “When renovating, consider LBC as a resource for donating materials to and for purchasing reclaimed materials from. And, let the nonprofits you care about know they can receive free materials from LBC,” Goodman urged.
For more information, visit lifecyclebuildingcenter.org.