Reuse Arts District

drawing of proposed developmentReuse Arts District (RAD) logo

Rendering by Center Studio Architecture

The Scrap Exchange Secures Bridge Loan from NC Community Development Initiative to Purchase North End of Durham’s Lakewood Shopping Center

The Scrap Exchange has dramatically expanded its footprint with the recent purchase of the northern portion of the Lakewood Shopping Center.

The culmination of months of planning and years of visioning, The Scrap Exchange purchase includes 82,000 square feet and 10 acres. “Our plans include the creation of a Reuse Arts District and the National Center for Creative Reuse, and expansion of the principles of creative reuse we embody at The Scrap Exchange,” notes Executive Director Ann Woodward. “Right away the new space will include an expansion of our creative reuse center with the opening of a retail thrift store and maker spaces by the end of the year, along with adding new tenants. Eventual development plans include an adventure playground, event space, affordable housing, shipping container mall, recreation, sculpture park and gardens.”

“This project was a natural fit for loan capital from Initiative Capital, our investment arm,” says the Initiative’s CEO Tara Kenchen. “The Scrap Exchange’s track record for creating jobs through repurposing waste is just the kind of innovative economic development we are looking to support. We are pleased to provide a six-month bridge loan to The Scrap Exchange to help secure the property.”

Kenchen and Woodward and their respective boards recognized the promising economic opportunity in the redevelopment of this underutilized shopping center. Several large out-of-town developers made competing offers, and the two wanted to ensure that development remained in local hands and properly addressed the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods. Woodward serves on the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Committee, a Duke University supported initiative to cultivate and engage neighborhood leadership in the seven neighborhoods around Duke, an area which includes the shopping center.

“We wanted to promote economic development from within the local community,” notes Woodward, “and will be engaging the community in collective visioning as our plans for the space develop.”

The Scrap Exchange has been working with Maverick Partners Realty and several prospective tenants, and is finalizing the details for permanent financing.

FAQ: The Scrap Exchange buys another portion of the Lakewood Shopping Center

Why did the Scrap Exchange want to buy part of the shopping center?

The Scrap Exchange wants to steward this underutilized property into a community asset that includes places for people to play, gather, live, and create. The organization also wants to help support and facilitate sustainable businesses, lifestyle, transportation, markets, food and basic needs through resource recovery, shared economies and informal markets.


What did The Scrap Exchange purchase?

The northern portion of the Lakewood Shopping Center, a largely vacant, roughly 82,000 square foot building sited on 10.35 acres of land in 3 separate parcels in the historic Lakewood-Tuscaloosa Neighborhood in central Durham. The Scrap Exchange purchased the three parcels for $2.5 million on August 10, 2016.

Where is the funding coming from?

The Scrap Exchange secured a six-month bridge loan for the purchase of the property from NC Community Development Initiative. Longer-term financing is being pursued with banks and social investors, with the project itself generating income through tenant leases.


What are the plans for development?

The Scrap Exchange, a national model nonprofit creative reuse center that is celebrating its 25th year in existence in 2016, is working to create a Reuse ARTS District and to establish a National Center for Creative Reuse in the newly purchased space. The first phase of the project will be to lease available space to local businesses and nonprofits, and to open a Scrap Exchange-managed retail thrift store, with a goal of having the thrift store open by the end of 2016.


What is a Reuse ARTS District (RAD)?

The Reuse ARTS District is a multi-faceted cultural, environmental, recreational and community-based destination location. Proposed features include maker spaces with a wood shop and welding shop; recycle-a-bicycle program; artist studios/exhibition space/artists’ marketplace; architectural salvage; performance art spaces (black box theater, spaces for rehearsal and recording); nonprofit multi-tenant shared spaces; affordable housing; a shipping container mall; community gardens; sculpture park; and outdoor play spaces including basketball court, skate park, and adventure playground.


What is the National Center for Creative Reuse (NCCR)?

The NCCR is an organization dedicated to philanthropy and research related to reuse/culture/economic development/community support. The goal is to provide data, public policy advocacy and resource recovery best practices to support job creation, art, education and programming. The center will also offer support for creative reuse centers through consulting, education and training, with a goal of offering a franchise model for creative reuse centers in the future. The organization will participate in philanthropy and funding the creative reuse revolution, as well as building coalitions to energize the creative reuse platform and providing models for implementation in other cities.

Why now?

The Lakewood Shopping Center includes multiple parcels each with different owners. Three out of the five owners are not local. Apartment buildings, houses, and other surrounding parcels have been purchased by outside investors. Given the uncertainty inherent in this mix of ownership, the sale of such a large portion of the shopping center presented an opportunity The Scrap Exchange did not want to pass up. The goal is to develop a historic part of Durham with neighborhood partners and collaborators including NC Community Development Initiative, Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Durham County Soil and Water department, the Duke University Law Clinic, Duke Community Affairs, South West Central Durham Quality of Life program, and NC State School of Architecture Public Interest SEED program, along with current tenants (El Centro Hispano, Makin’ Choices, and Project Access HELP program) and other local partners.


Why The Scrap Exchange?

Founded in 1991, The Scrap Exchange has been working for 25 years to create jobs, help strengthen communities, and steward critical resources for the public. The organization’s mission is now a calling card for expansion and growth offering a national model for creative reuse, a Reuse Arts District, and systems for strengthening communities including jobs and housing. The organization is uniquely qualified to provide innovative economic development systems and engines and skill development and to serve as an entrepreneurial incubator, job creator and provider of low-cost resources for communities, educators, artists, makers, and students through REUSE and waste recovery opportunities. Reclaiming en empty strip mall across the parking lot from the building the organization purchased in 2013 was a logical next step.

Want more information or have questions?

Contact Ann May Woodward
Executive Director
The Scrap Exchange

director [at] scrapexchange [dot] org
or by phone at 919-682-2751

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