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ReStore to renovate former Kavanaugh warehouse

Date: 6/28/2010

June 28, 2010.

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Last week's "groundbreaking" for the new home of the ReStore Home Improvement Center involved no shovels, hard hats or, for that matter, ground.

Instead ReStore Director John Majercak invited people involved with the recycled building supply store to come up and add a piece to an over-sized puzzle, part of the event's theme, "We are all part of the puzzle."

Holding the last piece, Majercak said it would be added next summer when the renovations are completed to the former Kavanaugh Furniture Warehouse on Warwick Street.

ReStore has been located on Albany Street as part of the Gasoline Alley business incubator for the past 10 years. It will go from an 8,000 square foot facility with little parking and unloading area to a 32,000 square foot building that will have a large parking lot and a loading dock, Majercak said.

"This is a long time coming with many bumps along the way," Majercak said.

The ReStore sells used and surplus building materials at a low cost and over the past 10 years, 50,000 area residents have shopped there to help complete their home improvements.

Majercak told Reminder Publications the cavernous building would undergo major renovations to make it energy efficient. He said it currently has no insulation and has out-dated heating and cooling systems. The building will be "air-sealed," he added and the lighting will be replaced as well.

Not only will construction jobs be created by the renovations, but also Majercak said the ReStore staff should increase by five positions when it is open.

The new ReStore will have a classroom in which courses and programs on home improvement and energy conservation can be presented, he added.

The additional space will provide "a much more regular retail experience than [customers] are used to," Majercak said.

The $3.1 million project is being funded through a $1 million capital campaign mounted by ReStore, a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant from the city of Springfield and a $900,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Westfield Bank, in cooperation with MassDevelop-ment is providing $1.1 million in low cost financing.

The DOER funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds received by the state.

ReStore was awarded the state grant as the renovations are designed to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent and be a model for how older commercial buildings can be altered for new uses.

Congressman Richard Neal commended the preservation of the building and noted despite a person's political viewpoint "we should be able to agree on reducing our carbon footprint."

"We are witnessing in the Gulf [of Mexico] the limits of modern technology," he added.

Phil Giudice, commissioner of the DER, said his office had been "inundated" with grant proposals for the stimulus funds.

"No matter how you look at it, this is a hands down winner," Giudice said.