Building Salvage in Minneapolis

resalvaged building materialsWhen the non-profit Green Institute’s ReUse Center closed in 2011, it was a loss for Minneapolis. The Institute provided both a building salvage center and deconstruction, operating out of East Phillips from 1995 to 2011. It focused on the reduction of construction and demolition debris.
The Institute closed due to financial difficulties. According to the Minneapolis report, “Green Building and Deconstruction Report” (March 2015),* the interim operations manager at the time cited the institute’s business model of deconstructing properties, rather than relying on direct donations, as a contributing factor in its closure.

Building Material Salvage Centers

Better Futures Minnesota

Currently there are two building material salvage centers in the region.

  • Better Futures Minnesota is a non-profit group that employs chronically unemployed men, providing job training, mentorship, and steady employment. The homeowner receives tax credit equal to the appraised value of donated materials. For the typical 2,200 square foot home with no unusual abatement or site issues, it costs approximately $4,250 for Better Futures to deconstruct the home than it would to have it demolished, and the property owner will receive approximately a $4,500 tax credit.
  • Habitat for Humanity also operates a ReStore in New Brighton. The ReStore accepts tax-deductible donations of a wide variety of salvaged building materials. In addition to their metro location, Habitat for Humanity operates 12 other ReStore locations in Minnesota. Building material salvage centers sell recovered building materials — either removed from buildings being demolished, or discarded as scrap from new construction.

These retailers sell a variety of products including dimensional lumber, sheathing, masonry, and more.

In addition to physical salvage centers, many used building materials are sold online, on websites such as Craigslist, the Minnesota Materials Exchange, and K-Bid.


Architectural Salvage Retailers

Nine architectural salvage retailers are currently operating in Minneapolis. They typically sell high-quality fixtures, millwork, and architectural detailing in a retail or warehouse environment.
  • Accent Store Fixtures
  • Architectural Antiques
  • Art & Architecture
  • Bauer Brothers Salvage
  • Better Homes & Garbage
  • City Salvage
  • Gilded Salvage Antiques
  • Historic Stone Co
  • The Showcase Place

Wood Re-Use

Certain suppliers offer old-growth timber framing, siding, and flooring. Most buildings presently being demolished in Minneapolis do not contain old-growth lumber. These two Minneapolis-based suppliers tend to work with general contractors: Rhodes Hardwood, and Superior Woods.

Waste Diversion Services

Certain disposal companies offer construction and demolition diversion services — basically recycling of waste from developments — that meet B3,USGBC, and LEED standards of up to 75 percent diversion. They are also experienced in completing appropriate documentation to help projects achieve LEED and other certifications. Two with bases in Minneapolis: Atomic Recycling and SKB Inc.


* Minneapolis City Councilperson Linea Palmisano led an effort to examine the state of green building — to lead to greater incentives in the construction and demolition of residential development for one to four unit buildings. This information came from that report

The report is summarized on MPLSGreen:

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