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.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Looking At Properties, Part Seven

There's a lot of taxidermy in the bar. A LOT.
OK, I know I've dragged this out forever. Forgive me! This is the last "looking at properties" post (unless we find some reason to look at anything else in the future, that is). As a bonus: this is the one we love! You finally get to see it!

Have I talked about how this all came about? Probably, but here's a recap: we were visiting Raven's Grin Inn, one of our favorite places in the world, for our friend Sarah's birthday in February. Since there were quite a few of us going, we met at the bar next door before heading in. During this getting together, we learned that the bar was for sale. "WE SHOULD BUY IT AND START A SPOOKY BAR/RESTAURANT NEXT DOOR TO RAVEN'S GRIN!" ... and the rest is history.

So after we looked at the six properties with Amy from Isenhart Realty, we parted ways and went back to Charlie's (AKA the bar we love). Verdict? We still love it. Last time we didn't get a chance to look upstairs and we were worried it would be uninhabitable. This visit we got to see the upstairs and were pleasantly surprised to find that it is totally workable.

The bar is for sale by owner and they have NO idea what the size of it is. We're guesstimating it at 12,000 square feet. It's got a huge drive-in basement (there's a garage door at the back), unfinished, lots of storage space. (I didn't take any pictures of the basement.)

Side of the building / fire escape from upstairs. You can see a bit of Raven's Grin in the background.

Side of the building, looking towards the main street.

back of the building. The garage opens into the basement; there is a tiny wrought iron 'porch' off the restaurant. The two boarded-up windows are off the upstairs junk room.
The main floor, the bar / restaurant area, is divided into two sections by a large pocket door. The 'bar' side is by far the largest, but the 'restaurant' side isn't too small either.

Looking into the bar side from the front door, towards the left.

Looking into the bar side from the front door, towards the right.

A few booths at the front of the bar side. It's hard to tell in this lighting, but there are three giant bison heads hanging over the booths. As well as some antlers and a few dead squirrels. One of which is just a HEAD. No I'm not kidding.

The lights in the back are on the old, original bar... the newer, sit-at bar is in front. It curves down quite far.

Tin ceiling. LOVE IT.

This is the restaurant side. The kitchen is back to the left. The door I am pointing at goes into the smaller 'junk' room.

Large walk-in beer / wine cooler on the restaurant side. This opens to the bar on the right.

Looking into the bar from the restaurant side.

Looking into the bar from the restaurant side.

Then there's a small room at the back, currently filled with junk, that we could do a variety of things with.

Room of junk!

Plus, of course, the kitchen, which is of decent size as well.



pizza oven!

their current menu
The upstairs is equally huge. It already contains a fairly good-sized one bedroom apartment. (We would probably turn that into a two-bedroom apartment and rent it out.)

Kitchen in the apartment.

Bedroom in the apartment.

Living space in the apartment.

Bathroom in the apartment. Red carpet! Oy!

The rest of the upstairs consists of two rooms - one is a large, open space that they occasionally use for banquets / weddings. 

The other is a smaller room that they have NEVER used; it's another junk room. It's had some water damage (they recently replaced the roof) and would need to be gutted.

PILES of junk.

water damage.

They don't even really know what's in that back door.

We would probably combine these two spaces into one large three-bedroom apartment and use that as our living space.

It's just perfect in a lot of ways. It needs some sprucing up, sure, and of course we have lots of ideas for putting our own spooky touches on it, but overall we love it. The old worn wooden floors, the huge bar, the gorgeous old bar behind the 'newer' bar, the amount of space, the location (right next to Raven's Grin and still on the main downtown Mount Carroll street), it's all great.

The owner is asking $200,000 for it. She's pretty willing to include most of the stuff inside, it seems, minus some memorabilia they would like to keep, of course. The price is still a little high for the area but she seems willing to negotiate too.

So. This is it. We are trying to get the business plan finished and also get out there with an inspector / structural engineer to make sure everything is up to code. Then we are going to talk to her about making an offer and see where we can go from there. Our first step is to see if she would be willing to do some sort of owner financing deal with us (she owns it outright). If she won't, things are going to get a lot more complicated for us... we don't have much capital at all, and their business numbers have been pretty abysmal for the last few years (for a number of reasons, we believe; we're looking at it as a brand new business since we will run it totally differently). We are really concerned about our ability to get any kind of traditional loan.

We won't give up on our dream though!

First things first though. Business plan and inspection. We'll go from there.

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