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Inside Lifecycle Building Center’s massive (and now permanent) SW Atlanta digs

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Here, the gutted homes of Atlanta live on, in a sense

Inside the Lifecycle Building Center in southwest Atlanta.
Where bits of Atlanta houses go to be reborn.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

The Lifecycle Building Center’s massive warehouse space in southwest Atlanta could look familiar, as it was recently featured in the Walking Dead and that CBS reboot of MacGyver. If its purpose sounds noble, you’re probably a goodhearted human being.

Up the street from Fort McPherson, in a century-old warehouse on Murphy Avenue in Oakland City, Lifecycle Building Center is like a grand mausoleum filled with remnants of the city’s old office buildings, movie sets, and myriad purged and razed homes. The inventory includes everything from inimitable old doors to spiral staircases, fish tanks, and (sometimes) cast-iron clawfoot tubs with brass hardware.

Without this 70,000-square-foot compound — which is near the Beltline’s Westside Trail and getting more desirable by the day — 2 million more pounds of material would have ended up in local landfills since 2011.

LBC leaders have had reason to celebrate in the past few weeks. After renting the facility for five years, the 501(c)3 non-profit secured a loan and bought the property. The deal closed last month, leaders said during a recent visit.

The exteriors.
This image: LBC via Facebook

The center’s retail store is open to the public five days a week, and in recent years they’ve donated building supplies to 85 organizations. Their stated mission is to “reduce solid waste disposal, promote resource efficiency, stimulate economic development, and empower every citizen to improve their own built environment.”

In a 2013 profile, Creative Loafing described the Lifecycle Building Center (then a 2-year-old operation) as the brainchild of a Perkins+Will architect and green-construction pro “that strips soon-to-be-razed buildings of valuable, high-quality materials and sells them at fire-sale prices. Everything here costs roughly one-third to half what you'd pay in a retail store. Window blinds run 25 cents. Plantation shutters cost $10 or $20 a pair. And a stove can start as low as $35.”

As part of the ongoing Visual Journeys series, we recently toured the complex to see what the sustainable, philanthropic fuss is all about.

The warehouse’s clerestory windows looking out onto the yard.
Remaining photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta
Building supplies and graffiti on the Lifecycle Building Center property. The Beltline’s under-construction Westside Trail runs nearby, and spaces like this are becoming attractive for development.
David Bedingfield (right) helps Vincent Smith load pieces of wood into the bed of his truck.
Sorted doors.
Recycled building supplies are sorted and stored on the first two floors of the main warehouse.
Chandeliers and lighting fixtures abound.
Justin Davis scouts for building supplies.
Awesome and strange finds such as this organ are tucked in between the cabinets, doors, windows, and more.
"To Set" signs are still up from when The Walking Dead and McGuyver filmed episodes here.
A lot of the front office space at the Lifecycle Building Center has not been utilized yet.
The power room in the 70,000-square-foot warehouse at Lifecycle Building Center in Oakland City.
Shoppers reflected in a large window.
Raised train tracks can be seen through the graffiti-strewn second-story windows.
Niels Sabin carries a marble backsplash to the register.
Architect Shannon Goodman, the executive director of Lifecycle Building Center, looks out of the second-story windows. Along with Adam Deck, director of operations, she first visited the facility in 2011 and saw a perfect home from which Lifecycle could grow.