Coming Along...

Wondering what we're working on lately? Currently we are working on creating a strong financial foundation, preparing for a move to North Carolina (goal date: summer 2013), slowly building up a collection of spooky items, and starting our foray into miniature models.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Looking At Properties, Part Five

Mississippi River views from the back of the building.
By the fifth property (also in Savanna), we were all starting to get a little tired. The kids had been very good but were starting to get bored with looking at buildings at this point, and our brains were full of information. But we had two more lined up and we figured we could just look quick and then move on with our business. (Boy were we utterly unprepared for the sixth property!!) 

Property five, just down the street from the previous property, was also a former restaurant with two three-bedroom apartments upstairs. The problem with this one, as we soon discovered, is that it has been empty for a long time. At least two years, according to the men in the hardware store across the street. And it's being sold in "as is" condition. Listed at $115,000 and boasting 5400 square feet, it's a little smaller than we wanted but still a decent size overall. "Business And Living Space. The 2700 Sq.ft. Restaurant area, with seating for around 50, needs some TLC and could be ready for business. Upstairs you'll find two 3 bedroom apartments, with views of the Mississippi River from the rear porch. There is also a 2 car attached garage. All that is necessary to move in and start your business. Property is being sold "AS IS". "

We really liked the layout of the bar / restaurant. The front had nice tall window facing the street, with seating on either side. The bar itself was in the middle of the restaurant, and there were tables and booths on either side. I loved the tall wooden booths and the big upright piano in the back. At first I thought the kitchen was a little small because it seemed like there was just a kitchen 'cubby' at the back of the restaurant, but then we went through a door and found a giant commercial kitchen. Not a lot of equipment but MORE than enough space.

left front window
right front window


LOVE those tall wooden booths. LOVE THEM!

center bar

screen hanging over the bar. perfect for movie nights!

the bar

first tiny kitchen space

first tiny kitchen space

first tiny kitchen space

the much larger commercial kitchen
I love an old upright piano

the much larger commercial kitchen
The stairs at the back that led up to the apartments were a little concerning. They were in a sort of enclosed porch area; there was an obvious roof leak (I guess that's ONE benefit of looking at properties in the rain!) and some broken windows. You went up the (somewhat rickety) enclosed stairs only to go back outside briefly and then in another door that lead to the apartment hallway.

leaky, leaky

leaks and broken glass

hallway outside the apartments
Both three-bedroom apartments had the same layout. Neither of them were in great shape. The first one had a lovely big porch off the back, overlooking the Mississippi River (great for views from the apartment; bad for flooding concerns for the restaurant!). There was a good amount of disrepair throughout and some clear water damage, especially on the woodwork. The first apartment had the most moisture damage; at first I thought there was a strange, textured veneer on all the wood, only to realize it was entirely covered with weird hardened water-beading. It's a real shame because the woodwork must have been lovely at one time; lots of neat molding, beautiful built-ins, gorgeous windows. With some TLC this entire place could be beautiful.

beautiful, badly water-damaged woodwork

gorgeous glass

weird double-skylight in the kitchen


... does this mean no one has lived here since the '80's??

OJ found the picture and glasses in a closet

The second apartment had some water damage but not as much, but otherwise was pretty much in an equal state of disrepair. It was semi-painted throughout, as if someone had WANTED to take care of it and then said 'ah, fuck it' and left. 

stairs to the front of the building

more beautiful woodwork

nice paint job

love the built-ins
Overall, this was a really neat building. I liked it a lot. It wasn't as big as the bar we originally fell in love with but it had the same overall ambiance to it and would provide adequate space if we went with it. I even liked some of the decor better than the original bar (the tall wooden booths, the piano, the woodwork in the apartments, the porch overlooking the river). 

Concerns: flooding from the Mississippi is a big concern. Being right on the river is neat, as long as the river is behaving itself. The amount of work this place would require to be in working condition is also a bit of a concern. It's NOT move-in ready; we would definitely need a good amount of capital above and beyond the purchase price before we could move in and run the place. Finally, it is in Savanna, where there is more competition in terms of restaurants / bars AND is ten minutes away from Raven's Grin. 

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