The City of St. Louis is ramping up demolition of vacant buildings on properties owned by the metro’s land bank, but some of them will undergo deconstruction instead. (Photo by Oscar Perry Abello)
As he gears up for the pilot project with the city, Schwarz says that Refab will tighten its hiring focus. “We’ll hire people from the neighborhoods where we do the deconstruction,” he says. “We’re going to take tax dollars and put them into the pockets of the residents who are affected by this activity in their neighborhood.”
Source: Can Deconstructing Some of St. Louis’ Past Help Build a Sustainable Future? – Next City
Refab crews will dismantle the historic building and preserve its handmade bricks and timbers.
CREDIT LAURA GINN | SLDC
As part of the contract, Refab will disassemble a three-story brick warehouse built in 1884 in the Vandeventer neighborhood.Schwarz said the building was an “excellent candidate” for deconstruction, in part because its brick and timber have survived more than 100 years without being painted.“We were just shocked when we got into it for the first time that it was so well preserved,” he said.
Source: Deconstruction projects aim to give new life to historic building materials | St. Louis Public Radio
ReFab Founder Eric Scharz. Photo by J.B. Forbes.
Schwarz’s experience had taught him that in an increasingly imitative world, some people hungered for an authenticity conceived in the marriage of age and use.
He founded Refab, a salvage yard in south St. Louis, in a condemned building four years ago. At the time, he had about $3,000 in his pocket and an idea for salvaging discarded building materials and turning around the lives of veterans. Today, Schwarz leases a 40,000-square-foot warehouse off Gravois Avenue and employs 14 people. His budget for 2017 is $1.2 million. That growth is partly attributable to a backlash against the uniformity produced by globalization.
The customers who frequent this two story red-brick repository of rescued material are weary of seeing the same furniture, the same sinks and the same light fixtures — all of it mass-produced on the other side of the planet. “You go into a lot of houses — and I don’t know if we coined the phrase — but they are all ‘Lowes’d up,’” said Randy Miller, who was looking for material for his coffee shop in Southern Illinois. “This is a like a candy store.”
Source: Nonprofit’s founder has 2 missions: Save history, help veterans | Metro | stltoday.com