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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Looking At Properties, Part Four

After the three properties in Mount Carroll, we drove over to Savanna IL, one of the neighboring towns. Savanna is about twice the population of Mount Carroll (when you're talking the low thousands, that's not hard to do, heh). They're right on the Mississippi River, and it sounds like they get a decent amount of tourism throughout the year, so we thought we'd check it out. We had three properties in Savanna lined up as well. The first one we saw has been a family-owned Italian restaurant for 25 years. The family is aging and has recently closed down the restaurant; they are selling all of the equipment along with the building. There are two apartments above the restaurant, one 2-bedroom and one 3-bedroom. The asking price is $325,000 and it is listed as having 6,496 square feet. "25 year established family business is what this piece of property held, 2 upstairs living spaces for tenant occupency or owners use for much convenience, newer windows for efficiency and updated kitchen and baths as well. Restaurant sits SMACK DAB in the middle of Downtown Savanna. And held a many busy week end nights with Chicagoland Tourists and Local business as well. Dont miss this opportunity to pick up where this family business left off."

The restaurant had a nice long bar and two good-sized rooms with tables. The decor was a bit dark and outdated for my tastes but with some sprucing up it could be made to work for us.The kitchen was very large and had definitely seen a lot of use in its day. LOTS of equipment included, but I have no idea what sort of shape it's all in. Not much of it seemed new; it's likely that most of it has been there for much of the 25 years the restaurant has been running. The realtor told us the restaurant was very popular with the locals; everyone loved the food and they were always busy. So, possible double-edged sword there: people might come to check out the new place and love us, or they might boycott us for changing the old stuff they loved. (We have the same potential problem for the location we love, although they don't seem as if they were nearly as popular as this place, darn it!)

The building itself is on a main street in Savanna and is right across from the Mississippi River, so potential traffic and views are great. I didn't think too much about parking so I don't know the situation there; the temperature had dropped quite a bit and it was sleeting at us, so I wasn't exactly thinking about the outside all that much!

The apartments upstairs were mostly in good condition. They have been remodeling the two bedroom and most of it is VERY nice. They haven't gotten to the bedrooms yet but the rest of it is clean, bright, new, and nice. Just a little more work and it would make a great rental space. It even had its own laundry units.

There is a shared space between the two apartments that they were working on, so it needed to be finished up. It had a washer and dryer and could either remain shared or could be used solely by the larger apartment. There was also a door going out to a small rooftop patio, where they had a tiny rooftop garden.

The three bedroom apartment was VERY large, and in nice condition, but the decor was definitely outdated. Fluffy rugs and wood paneling, oh my. The size was great and it WOULD be possible to move in and live there, but it definitely needs some updating. 

Overall: Savanna is a little bigger and busier than Mount Carroll, but there are also more restaurants and thus more competition in the town. We would also be ten minutes away from Raven's Grin, and if we're hoping to start a complementary business we don't know that that makes a lot of sense. Finally, in regards to THIS specific property, the asking price is considerably higher than any other place we looked at. Yes it's practically move-in ready and you get ALL the trappings of a longtime restaurant, but it just seems too steep for the area. And there would be absolutely NO room for any renovations, even cosmetic ones. So while we got some ideas from looking at this place, the high price pretty much makes it a no-go for us.

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