Macomb County Habitat for Humanity operates two ReStore locations in the county, including one on Van Dyke Avenue in Warren that will reportedly relocate to accommodate the city’s plans to build a new fire station.

Macomb County Habitat for Humanity operates two ReStore locations in the county, including one on Van Dyke Avenue in Warren that will reportedly relocate to accommodate the city’s plans to build a new fire station.

Photo by Brian Louwers

ReStore looks to relocate its south Warren location

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published March 15, 2019

WARREN — Macomb County Habitat for Humanity does a good deal of business by giving the public good deals on donated home furnishings and building materials at its ReStore location on Van Dyke Avenue, just north of Nine Mile Road.

But with construction wrapping up next door on the first phase of a plan to bring ancillary city offices, a new library, a playground and a community policing presence to south Warren, and a second phase in the works that aims to put a new fire station where the ReStore now stands, the nonprofit is actively working to move elsewhere.

It has to find a new location first, and prices for suitable buildings in the area are exploding.

“We’re happy that the development is taking place because we do have some homeowners that have purchased properties in that area, so we’re happy whenever an area is developed. For us, though, it’s a huge challenge, not even so much because we have to move, but because real estate prices have increased in the last few years,” said Helen Hicks, Macomb County Habitat for Humanity’s president and CEO.

Hicks said the land and the 6,000-square-foot building at 23321 Van Dyke Ave. were gifted to the nonprofit in November 2013 by a private donor who wished to remain anonymous. The group is now looking for a slightly larger building in the same area. She noted that the group is also losing its executive office space at Baker College, which is closing its branch on Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township.   

“We’re going to have to relocate our offices at the exact same time. Ideally, we would find a building, preferably in Warren, because we’ve had such a good relationship with Warren, but the prices, they’ve just skyrocketed, so it’s going to be a huge challenge for us,” Hicks said. “We’ve started to look.”

Pricing for the transfer of the property from Macomb County Habitat for Humanity to the city of Warren will still need to be negotiated, pending new appraisals and, Hicks said, what it will ultimately cost to secure a new building. The group is looking for leads to potential donated space or properties with suitable accommodations for the ReStore and potentially the group’s offices. Ideally, that’d be 7,000-10,000 square feet of retail space on a major thoroughfare in the same general area, with a bay door for unloading materials.

Tom Bommarito, director of Warren’s Department of Community, Economic and Downtown Development, said finishing the first phase of the new city complex on time later this year and under the $5 million budget is the top priority. That amount would include all construction costs and furnishings, plus acquisition of the ReStore property.

Securing an estimated $3 million to $4 million for the new fire station would come next.

Bommarito said the process will take time for approvals, design and construction while the search for a new ReStore location continues, and that the city is interested in helping Habitat for Humanity find a suitable space.

“We’re big fans of what they do,” Bommarito said. “In a perfect world, they can come up with a number and I still have enough in the budget to buy that, and they can just stay in it until we’re ready, rent free, and then they have the money.”

He said prices tied to the relatively small number of comparable real estate transactions in the area could have been inflated by the potential influx of medical marijuana facilities, but he suspects that prices could stabilize as the licensing process plays out, making properties more affordable.

Macomb County Habitat for Humanity operates two locations in the county. The other store is located at 46660 Van Dyke Ave. in Shelby Township. The stores rely on volunteers to operate, and proceeds from the sale of donated materials go to help fund home construction and renovation projects.

Anyone with leads about available properties can reach Hicks directly at (586) 263-1540, ext. 101.