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 7, 2011

Looking At Properties, Part Six

The sixth property was the last property we looked at with a realtor that day (we did go back to 'our' bar and look at it again, and YES I will share pictures of that in my next post!), and BOY was it a doozy. It was BY FAR the largest place we saw, and yet I didn't take nearly as many pictures of it as I did of other places because it was, quite honestly, completely overwhelming. We could easily have spent half a day looking at JUST this property. I'm going to switch things up a bit with this post and give you the property details at the end of the post, and am just going to do my best to lay out this property much as I experienced it.

This one was also in Savanna, close to the last two we looked at, and it was listed at around $180,000 (I BELIEVE; the price on the listing has changed considerably now (MUCH lower), but that is where it was when we looked at it). We almost didn't put it on our list because it didn't really fit what we were looking for... the property listing said something about four storefronts downstairs with apartments upstairs. I lobbied to put it on our viewing list though because it sounded interesting... it spanned several addresses, which meant it was several building together, and two of the storefronts were empty; the listing said something about knocking out a wall and making them into a restaurant so I thought 'eh, what the hell, let's check it out'. Boy oh boy. I'm still not sure how I feel about that decision! People say "it never hurts to look", but let me tell you my brain aches every time I think about this place, lol.

So we met the current owner of the building, who pulled out a GIANT keyring and proceeded to take us on a tour of the place. We started in one of the empty storefronts; it had previously been a restaurant. We spent a decent amount of time looking at it, not realizing how very MUCH we still had to look at. 

This and the next few pictures are the first storefront we saw.

I took quite a few pictures in here.

I had no idea my camera was going to be basically useless here, lol.

This was some outbuilding that housed a boiler or something they no longer use. She suggested it could be storage or could be removed to make more parking or something.

We're looking around and the lady is telling us about the previous owner and the other storefronts and we come to realize that there are actually SIX storefronts, not four... this building spans an entire city block. Wow. FOUR of the six are rented. Two of them are rented to restaurants, the other two are a cute thrift store and an antiques shop. We went into all the storefronts and were a tad overwhelmed already, but mostly I was seeing dollar signs... except for the fact that it wouldn't make sense to open a restaurant in our building that already houses two restaurants. Hmmm. But the possibilities...

The next few pictures were of one of the restaurants in the place.

Then we went upstairs. It was pretty dingy and dirty, but people were living there. It was pretty busy, actually. We saw several people coming in and out and I started thinking "exactly how many apartments are up here, anyway??" The lady is knocking on doors and asking people if we can see their ROOMS. The first few we looked at were just that, ROOMS. One or two small rooms together, with a bathroom. She's telling us about how she gives each of her tenants a mini fridge and microwave and I'm thinking "what the hell IS this place, like a boarding house? People LIVE like this? WHAT?" I was utterly confused. She also showed us an actual apartment. And THEN she took us UPSTAIRS.

LOTS of creeeeepy hallways.

Plastic over the fire escape. Apparently this is OK with the fire dept. As long as people can tear through it, you can cover that shit up. Whatever.

Yeah, there was a third floor to this madness. More of the same; mostly rooms with one or two apartments. Dingy and run down. The section we saw covered probably the space above, oh, two of the storefronts below.

And THEN, she took us through ANOTHER door into the section of the building that needs so much repair she simply shut it down and just flat out doesn't USE IT. Those two floors covered the top of the other four storefronts. Second and third stories of room after room after room after room. Most of them filled with junk, with falling ceilings and dirty dingy rugs. The layout reminded me of a closed-down version of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining... she just kept opening doors and sometimes there would be a room, sometimes an apartment, sometimes a giant closet, sometimes... a whole other hallway. It went on and on and ON. It went back way further than I thought too; this place was just HUGE.

Blogger decided not to let me organize my pictures very well in this post. The layout is a MESS. Much like this property!

At some point she mentioned that it had been a hotel and suddenly the rented 'rooms' made total sense to me. The listing said something about the place having hotel STATUS but by the time we looked at it I had forgotten that, so I was utterly confused for a while.

Words and pictures cannot really give you the magnitude of this place. It was... quite frankly, it was amazing. A very special place for a very special buyer. It needs a TON of work, but the work could be done in sections too; fix up one building's worth and rent them out while you work on the next section. There is so much raw potential in this place it just boggles my mind. Part of me is totally in love with it. Who doesn't want to buy a giant creepy old partially abandoned hotel and live the crazy life in it?? OK, maybe most people don't, but *I* do! This place could be Raven's Grin 2, it's that crazy. Or if I was ready to open my haunted bed and breakfast, this place would be PERFECT.

Unfortunately, it doesn't fit our current goal at all. As I mentioned, it doesn't really make sense to open a restaurant in a building that already has two restaurants as tenants. And we're nowhere near ready to aim for the haunted B&B. And we couldn't open a restaurant and run it AND try to renovate and run this place without major headaches. I like a good project, but this is a PROJECT. 

Still, I think the reason that it hurts my head every time I think about it is because it captured part of my heart and I wish SO MUCH that we had more money and could buy both this place AND the other bar and run both at the same time. We would need enough money to afford us the luxury of time and lots of staff though, because this place needs SO MUCH work. It's just... it was truly amazing. Opportunity galore. It's just not the right time for us to tackle something like this and it KILLS ME.

After we left, OJ said something about the pool. "WHAT pool?!" I exclaimed. 
"She said there was a pool! In the basement!" 
"SHUT UP. You're totally lying."
"No way! I swear she said there's a pool in there somewhere! They don't use it because they had problems with pipes freezing, but I swear to god there's a pool somewhere in that building."

The place was so huge we MISSED the POOL.

So. I noticed when I pulled up the listing for this place to drop the description into this post that the price for the place has dropped by about a hundred grand. It's now listed at $84,999. THAT KILLS ME EVEN MORE. It says it has 14,420 square feet but I'm pretty sure that's a lie. I think it's way bigger than that, heh.


Anyone want to buy this place AND the other bar for us? We need a patient mega-investor! I can do great things with these places, I assure you. I just need enough money to get the properties and to have a little TIME to put some TLC into them. But I have such great plans...

(Yeah. I don't think we're getting this one. But good god do I want it. But if I could only pick ONE, it would be the bar.)

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