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Reclaim Detroit turns home deconstruction into new jobs

Reclaim Detroit is using deconstruction as a new way to help tackle Detroit's blight problem, a solution that is also helping create jobs in the Motor City.

Reclaim Detroit launched out of the WARM Training Center last year focusing on deconstructing blighted buildings. So far the non-profit and its 18 employees have deconstructed three houses and has recently started on its four home.

"The more we do the better we get with it," says James Willer, a manager at Reclaim Detroit. "It's amazing what we can get from all of these houses."

It costs Reclaim Detroit about $20,000 to deconstruct a single-family home, however, the total cost can vary depending on the size of the structure. The non-profit has formed several partnerships with local businesses, such as architectural Salvage Warehouse in Woodbridge, to put these materials back into circulation. It is using a warehouse at the Focus:HOPE campus to store a lot of these materials.

One house that was deconstructed in Hamtramck last year has provided materials for a number of new businesses and projects, including the Lincoln Street Art Project and the Sugar Hill Clay Studio in the 71 Garfield Building. The flooring from the house was reused in the Newberry Hall renovation in Midtown. These sorts of recycled materials from Reclaim Detroit are also being used in other projects, such as the about-to-open Great Lakes Coffee Shop in Midtown.

"We know the supply is there," Willer says. "We know the demand is there. We're trying to bridge that demand."

Source: James Willer, a manager at Reclaim Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke
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