Community partnership makes way for green growth in Avondale

The Uptown Consortium is working with a local recycling and job training program to demolish a building at 3500 Burnet in Avondale and make way for a new mixed use project that will play a key role in the group's master plan to revitalize Burnet Avenue in Avondale.

This past weekend the Partnership for Green Building worked to remove decorative sandstone features, fans and other fixtures from the building at 3500 Burnet. The brick and concrete will be ground up and used for gravel and underlay, and the wood will be shredded and composted. Lisa Doxsee, communications manager for Building Value, said that up to 90 percent of the mass of the building would be recycled or repurposed during the project.

The Uptown Consortium is currently working with two developers on potential development plans for a mixed use building on the site, and the developers will be encouraged to aim for LEED certification, Uptown's executive director Beth Robinson said.

The building was purchased by the Uptown Consortium three years ago during an $11 million campaign to purchase land and buildings on or near Burnet Ave, with the intent of attracting new development to the area. Other projects built on that land include a new medical center and parking garage for Children's hospital and a low income housing project built by Model Group.

"We've redeveloped a lot of the street and now [3500 Burnet] is a major corner, a major site that's really underutilized." Robinson said. "We're trying to get some commercial activity on Burnet and that's a logical site for it."

She said working with the Partnership will help them achieve two of their goals, to be more sustainable and provide better employment opportunities for residents of the Uptown neighborhoods.

Building Value, ACT Recycling and Rumpke Recycling created A Partnership for Greener Building about two years ago as an extension of job training programs Building Value had already implemented. In the partnership, Building Value trains unemployed or underemployed residents to deconstruct buildings and salvage usable materials like lumber and fixtures to be sold in Building Value's retail store. Rumpke and ACT recycle the materials that can't be salvaged.

Most of the program's graduates receive employment upon graduation, and any building constructed on the site can earn points toward LEED certification.

Writer: Henry Sweets
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