Photo by Justin Cook
At the Scrap Exchange, everybody gets a trophy.
The Scrap Exchange's plan to buy all ten acres of land where the Lakewood Shopping Center and expand its reuse empire is one step closer to becoming a reality this week.
This morning the reuse art center announced
on its Facebook that the purchase was made—ten acres, 82,000 square feet of leasable space
—for $2.5 million.
Two years ago when the Scrap Exchange moved its operations to the old move theater in the shopping center, Ann Woodward—the nonprofits executive director— told the INDY she wanted to create a reuse district, much like on in New Orleans where artists could set up studios.
On Wednesday, Woodward described the purchase as "a dream come true.”
The Scrap Exchange started to realize the possibilities in the essentially vacant shopping center and started planning the expansion
“When when we bought (2050 Chapel Hill Road), I would talk to the owners, we would talk about what (the shopping center) could be, the ideas, it was just an idea," Woodward said. "They were very supportive of it. We had the conversation for a couple of years before we really got serious”
Over the past year the Scrap Exchange started more seriously looking at the underutilized shopping center and started creating a business plan and figuring out financials. The push to buy the property came after offers were coming in for the property.
"We decided to make a business plan—to solidify our business plan—and everything we’ve been talking about and put it in words and numbers," Woodward said.
From there the Scrap Exchange were in talks with its banks, and Woodward said they were friendly from the start, especially considering they had a history together from when the Scrap Exchange bought its current building.
"So they knew we could make a deal," she said.
The Scrap Exchange, operates out of 2050 Chapel Hill Road, now owns the dormant shopping center at
The land now owned by the Scrap Exchange at the Lakewood Shopping Center.
2020 Chapel Hill Road—this means it owns the northern portion of the shopping center. The southern portion—which houses a Food Lion and Dollar General—were not part of the purchase from Real Estate Associates, INC of Durham.
The property went on the market in April 2015 and remained that way until early January 2016, when it went under contract. This morning the deal closed, making it officially part of the Scrap Exchange's future.
Woodward said now that the property work is being done to start pre-leasing and showing groups the facilities that have interest in the space, because starting September 1, the Scrap Exchange will have to come up with between $17,000 and $19,000 a month.
And as tenants start to move in, she's hopeful a permanent thrift store will be up and running in December.
As outlined by the nonprofit's announcement: "The property will focus on arts and culture, job creation and skill development, thrift, reuse, maker spaces, recreation, permaculture, other nonprofits and small businesses, affordable housing, and stewarding as a community asset!"
There's already talks going on with affordable housing stakeholders about what can be done on the land since some of what the Scrap Exchange owns is zoned for multi-residential units.
Those aren't the only things Woodward and the Scrap Exchange have dreamed up for the space.
"We are going to be creating the National Center for Creative Reuse," she said. “I expect this district to embody this reuse arts culture."