Winter Park/Maitland Observer:

More than just aluminum cans and cereal boxes are being sent to the recycling center nowadays. A Winter Park building is about to join a growing number of structures that are being “recycled.” The 45-year-old building at 200 W. Welbourne Ave. is getting a face-lift, which means out with the old and in with the new. ACi, an architectural and community development firm in Winter Park, will keep the structure of the building, but strip out all the metals, mechanical units, carpet and drywall. Even concrete can be recycled.

Recycling is more than just reusing. A good part of the building goes to recycling centers. Recycling or extending the life of buildings also reduces the impact on the environment because developers don’t have to start from scratch at a new site. The permitting process is usually shorter and it’s easier to get financing, ACi partner Larry Adams said. “Because of the global recession, this offers an alternative for developers and real estate investors,” Adams said, adding that there can be a 10 to 15 percent savings over constructing a brand-new building.

The $2.5 million renovation to the Welbourne Avenue building will include a design concept based on early 20th century artists. The building’s exterior will be fashioned with eight colors of art glass, large translucent glass scrim panels with gem-like black rock and a six-foot protruding metal cornice. “Another thing recycling does is it creates a new personality for the neighborhood for an old, outdated, non-historically significant building,” Adams said.

Chase Heavener, owner of the building and a longtime Winter Park resident, said he’s excited to move his digital media firm, Fiction, into the space at the end of the year. “With a city like Winter Park, we didn’t want to go through all the hassle of creating a new concept in a city that probably wouldn’t get approved,” he said. “We’re going to keep the building where it was at and add a new take on new traditions.” Heavener hopes to attract other creative firms currently in Winter Park and the Orlando area to the building.

ACi has also recycled some buildings on Park Avenue and on the Rollins College campus, including the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. ACi’s recycling audit program evaluates whether it would be beneficial to recycle a certain building.