developer recycles 80 percent of church’s building material

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church couldn’t save itself, yet the developer of a new CVS in Lakewood is at least saving it from the wrecking ball. Zaremba Group, a Lakewood-based developer, has recycled 80 to 90 percent of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 15501 Detroit Avenue, where a new drug store is slated to be built this fall.

Some of the church’s finer elements have been rescued from the landfill and soon will gain new life as locally-made furniture or raised garden beds. The bulk of the steel, brick and concrete will be crushed and recycled as fill.

Sean McDermott, Senior Development Manager with Zaremba Group, says that while it’s unusual for retail developers to recycle old buildings, the historic character of the church cried out for some kind of creative reuse.

“We found huge timbers in the roof trusses — eight-inch-square yellow pine that was over 100 years old,” he says. “Because of the age of this stuff and the fact that you can’t find it anymore, we knew reusing it was the right thing to do.”

Zaremba Group partnered with Reclaimed Cleveland, a Lakewood-based company run by Aaron Gogolin, to harvest the church’s floorboards, woodwork and oak doors. These materials will be made into furniture.

The developer also donated truckloads of bricks to Lakewood Earth and Food for use in the city’s community gardens.

While several large trees on the property are being cut down, that wood will also be used to make furniture. Additionally, Zaremba plans to plant several large trees that will ultimately grow to a height of 35 feet.

The most costly aspect of the recycling project, according to McDermott, was the time delay it caused. He adds that while this the biggest recycling project Zaremba has undertaken, the company would definitely consider doing it again.

The new CVS will also have some green features, including three bioswales that will catch and release storm water into the ground rather than into storm sewers. This will help to reduce stormwater fees, which are rising with the Northeast Ohio Sewer District’s new regulations, while also helping the environment.

Fresh Water Cleveland 9/8/11

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