Leaders with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga say they will be able to build two more homes per year after the renovation of the ReStore.
Habitat's ReStore sells construction materials and home goods to the public at low prices. That helps generate some of the funding to build 10 to 12 simple, affordable homes per year for low-income families.
"Right now, the ReStore is 15 percent of the funding [for building homes]," said Tina Shaw Cox, director of ReStore operations at Chattanooga Habitat. "By the year 2015, we are hoping that doubles."
The ReStore's permanent address is 1201 E. Main St., but the store is in temporary quarters on Alton Park Boulevard while the Main Street building is rebuilt and expanded. The work is expected to be finished in July.
Through donations from local foundations, churches and individuals, the ReStore has raised $675,000 for the remodeling and needs to raise $125,000 more, officials said.
Cox described the old building as a dark and unpleasant place for volunteer workers who donate their time.
"There were no bathroom facilities or heating and air," Cox said. "The new building will be modern, clean, urban and energy-efficient."
It also will be about 4,000 square feet bigger. And that extra space is needed, Cox said.
"We just outgrew it [the building]," she said. "We had to turn donations down."
ReStore officials also are hoping to achieve Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design certification for sustainable construction.
If successful, it will be the first LEED-certified Habitat for Humanity ReStore in North America, Cox said.
Aside from providing a cost-efficient way for people in the community to renovate their homes, the ReStore keeps usable items from being thrown away. The Chattanooga ReStore has diverted 550 tons of items from the landfill since it opened in 2004, Cox said.
Some of those items came from the current renovation of the Chattanooga History Center, a museum of local history and artifacts that's moving into the Riverplace building on the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza.
Saved from the old building on Lindsay Street were items such as glass, sinks and cabinets that could be reused. Robert Smith, a 26-year construction veteran and project superintendent for the center renovation, said he hated to see the items go to waste.
"Everybody gains from it," Smith said. "It takes more energy to recycle it [construction materials] than to reuse it."
Contact staff writer Mary Beth Gray at email@example.com or 423-757-6298.