Gene Allen, marketing director with the City of Utica, looks at the ventilation on the roof of the old Cornhill Senior Day Center as one of the buildings the city is looking at deconstructing, June 5, 2012 in Utica, N.Y.
The former Cornhill Senior Center likely won’t be saved.
The roof is beyond repair and mold abounds in the 1924 structure, which originally was a theater and later a Jewish temple before it became a senior center.
But the cost of demolition for the city-owned building at James and Neilson streets is estimated at around $300,000 – most of it to pay for dumping the remains into a landfill.
That big price tag is one of the reasons a variety of local agencies are moving toward a deconstruction program in which buildings are dismantled carefully and their materials resold.
If the building is deconstructed instead of demolished, the estimated total cost would be about $100,000 after the materials are sold, said Gene Allen, marketing director for the Utica Urban Renewal Agency.
Landfills charge by weight and type of material, Allen said. Deconstruction leads to much less material going into the landfill while making up some of that money through the resale process.
That projected savings, along with the environmental benefits of keeping usable materials out of landfills and the possibility of selling reused materials, has local officials enthused about deconstruction.
“A lot of buildings have been torn down, and a lot of materials have been wasted,” said Ray Durso Jr., executive director of the Genesis Group. “I think it’s a great project for the entire area.”
The cities of Utica and Rome, along with the Utica Municipal Housing Authority, Oneida County Habitat for Humanity, Landmarks Society of Greater Utica and The Genesis Group are developing the initiative.
The agencies are exploring ways to incentivize deconstruction among private contractors and recently proposed their initial plans to the Utica Common Council.
They applied for $100,000 in state funding last year through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Council but received none. Plans include applying again this year.
Also, Oneida County Habitat for Humanity is in the final stages of establishing a ReStore, which will be a retail outlet for used building materials.
Mark Mojave, a Habitat board member, said the agency is finalizing its ReStore business plan and hopes to open it later this summer, and will work in coordination with the deconstruction initiative. He would not release the location because the lease has not yet been finalized.
Genesis Group officials are acting as facilitators and later this month will host David Bennink, a state of Washington-based consultant on reuse of construction materials.
The goal will be to establish a request for proposals for contractors to deconstruct the former Roosevelt School, a massive and deteriorating structure in Cornhill.