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My wife and I just got back from getting a walk through on a potential investment property that we are looking at buying and renovating. We have some serious discussions ahead of us.

The building itself is a traditional 2 story brick structure, just like in every small downtown across America built from the late 1880s to around 1940. In the image below, it is the white one with the flag in front.

click for further details )

The building is 25 ft wide and 100 ft long. It has load bearing masonry walls, and 2 floors. The first floor has about 16 ft ceilings, while the second floor only has about 8 ft ceilings. There is a cobbled together office area at the rear on the 1st floor, stairs, a single toilet with a utility sink under the stair, and an old, inoperable, mechanical lift that is original to the building (inoperable due to a major beam that supported the lift having failed where the lift cross beam ties into it). Currently aside from the storefront seen in the picture, there are boarded up windows on the ground floor rear, and one boarded up and one actual window that still has glass in it on the second floor rear.

There is still an original tin ceiling tile and cove trim on both floors, but about 30 percent of it is in rough, un-salvageable shape. The second floor floor structure seems weak, and judging by the condition of the tin ceiling on both floors, I'd say the building has had its fair share of roof leaks that went unfixed over the years, which might explain the weak floors. I weigh around 240 lbs, and the floors definitely had some "bounce" to them that wasn't supposed to be there. Also, there is evidence that the floor bows down in the center away from the side, supporting walls. Considering that the floor joists seem to be 2"x16"s on a 25 foot span, the bow is understandable.

There was evidence of roof structural damage in at least one place, as there was an attempt at shoring the roof up by sistering in new lumber and placing a (now bowed) 2x4 as a prop underneath one of the joists to help support it. As such, the roof structure is very suspect as well.

From outside on the ground, the parapets and coping do not look to be in the greatest of shape either, though I do not think the current roof is leaking, as this was the third or fourth day in a row that it has rained in the area and I saw no evidence of fresh leakage. There were two skylights that had been covered over.

Also, there was evidence that the upstairs used to have at least two windows overlooking main street, but those have been filled in.

Considering the shape of the building, the price is reasonable but a tad high I feel, but there is still more room for negotiation.


So, what would we do with this building?
read on... )

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tnrkitect - Musings of an Unconventional Mind

June 2011

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