For Eric Schwarz, a vacant building is more than a culmination of neglect and decay; it’s a treasure trove.
“Some of these materials will never be produced again,” said Schwarz, executive director of the St. Louis salvage nonprofit Refab. “Those handmade bricks, we’re not going to see those anymore.”
Refab has “deconstructed” more than 100 buildings in St. Louis, a process that involves carefully dismantling a property and reselling the materials for new projects. The nonprofit recently received a first-of-its-kind contract from the St. Louis Development Corporation as part of a new push to deconstruct more buildings slated for demolition.