Home Resource hits snag 

Homeowners excited for nips and tucks around the house have likely seen the sign on Home Resource’s door: Thanks to the economy, the nonprofit’s anticipated move to the expansive 4G Plumbing building on Wyoming Street is delayed indefinitely.

Last year’s economic sag drove several nonprofits and green businesses from plans to gather under one roof at 1515 Wyoming Street. Scooterville and other businesses suddenly found the project too financially risky, taking needed wind out of its sails, says Matt Hisel, Home Resource’s co-director.

“It’s endlessly frustrating,” Hisel says.

He and co-director Lauren Varney subsequently renewed their lease at 825 West Kent through March 2010.

Part of the problem rests in the scope of the Wyoming Street project. Hisel and Varney hatched the idea for a sustainability center in 2005 and approached Rick Wishcamper, president of Rocky Mountain Development, in fall 2007. Wishcamper quickly turned the modest idea into a $6 million endeavor.

“He basically took my idea and multiplied it by 10,” Hisel says. “‘We don’t need three or four businesses together, we need 12 or 20.’ He thinks big.”

Wishcamper purchased the 24,000 square-foot building and 3.8-acre plot on Wyoming in July 2008 and faces a long list of renovations. He says 10 businesses are still onboard with the project, but development is at a standstill until he can solve a number of financing problems.

“There’s no question that there’s a chicken and an egg here,” Wishcamper says. “Until we build it, they have issues making commitments, and until they make commitments, we have issues getting it built.”

Wishcamper says he’s dedicated to getting Home Resource moved before their new lease expires, and Varney says he and Hisel have too much invested in the project to simply find a new space.

“I talk about the new location to somebody about a dozen times a day,” Varney says. “So it’s hard to think about another place.”

The group will host a public forum for feedback on the project June 11 at 5:30 p.m. at 1515 Wyoming St.
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