The preservation angel intervened

Salvage Warehouse plans a comeback with a new plan to reclaim historic Houston buildings

Salvage Warehouse plans a comeback with a new plan to reclaim historic Houston buildings

Lynn Edmundson, Houston's Salvage Warehouse, Historic Houston
Lynn Edmundson is aiming to get the Salvage Warehouse back open with a new business plan.  Courtesy Photo
Historic Houston Warehouse, June 2012, windows at warehouse
Windows, windows and more windows. The Salvage Warehouse is seeking a temporary facility to hold donations while the capital is raised for a permanent storefront.  Courtesy of Historic Houston
Historic Houston, warehouse, salvage, reclaimed brick
Donors can get tax breaks for excess building materials.  Historic Houston/Facebook
News_Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse_warehouse
The Salvage Warehouse is a treasure trove of reclaimed home goods, including escutcheon plates.  Courtesy of Historic Houston
Lynn Edmundson, Houston's Salvage Warehouse, Historic Houston
Historic Houston Warehouse, June 2012, windows at warehouse
Historic Houston, warehouse, salvage, reclaimed brick
News_Historic Houston Salvage Warehouse_warehouse

Houstonians lost a gem for reclaimed building materials when Historic Houston's Salvage Warehouse liquidated its inventory and closed its doors last June

The Salvage Warehouse first opened in September 2003 under the direction of Lynn Edmundson. Over the course of almost a decade, Edmundson and Historic Houston saved tons of building elements from the landfill, instead selling the salvaged goods to architects, designers, artists, home builders and property owners. 

"Salvage Warehouse is a critical component to close the recycling loop," Edmundson told CultureMap. "You've harvested those resources once. Why just throw them away?"

 Deconstruction will begin again as soon as Edmundson lines up a steady flow of houses for her crew to work on. 

The problem was that Historic Houston offered its deconstruction services to donors for free. The business model wasn't profitable. 

After the Salvage Warehouse closed, the nonprofit continued dispensing City of Houston historic landmark plaques as Edmunson sought a new job and a next step for the Salvage Warehouse.

When Edmundson was approached by a construction company looking for a non-profit partner, she immediately saw the solution. 

Under a new model, a third party — at least in the beginning, Edmundson's new entity called Reclaimed Resources — will do the deconstruction work on behalf of Historic Houston.

The third party will get paid for its services (rates are determined on a case-by-case basis), and the Salvage Warehouse will be utilized as the storefront to sell the items collected in the deconstruction process. 

This structure is a win-win for all parties involved: Reclaimed Resources doesn't want to get into the retail side of the business. Salvage Warehouse will stop undercutting its own market in the complicated and sometimes expensive deconstruction process. Donors will qualify for charitable contribution tax breaks for the gift of reclaimed goods, which often off-sets the cost of deconstruction and subsequent demolition. 

Deconstruction will begin again as soon as Edmundson lines up a steady flow of houses for her crew to work on.

Profits will initially go straight to Historic Houston while the nonprofit gets back on its feet. Then, eventually, Edmundson will take on a more advisory position with the nonprofit and spend more time out in the field with Reclaimed Resources. 

 The organization announced a fundraising goal of $350,000, which would assist in acquiring a new warehouse location.

 "I would love to see multiple deconstruction companies," said Edmundson, who doesn't want Reclaimed Resources to dominate the Houston market. "I would love for donors to be able to get multiple bids for a job." 

Historic Houston will begin accepting building materials and/or house donations for deconstruction beginning on July 1, building up its inventory as it seeks a new home for the Salvage Warehouse. 

The organization has announced a fundraising goal of $350,000, which would assist in acquire a new warehouse location. Interested donors are invited to become a member of Historic Houston (an individual membership starts at just $35) or contribute to the capital campaign (the first level begins at $100).

Historic Houston will begin hosting awareness and fundraising events later this summer. Check back with CultureMap for more information.