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Art-Deco 08-02-2012 12:26 AM

Might be buying a store
A small store came up for sale here pretty cheap, it's 22' x 96' with a basement that size. It's been contemporized on the exterior with a crappy theme of brown T111 type vertical siding, but it has two display windows on either side of the door, and it has it's original tin ceiling, though it's not very fancy of a design.
The facade is quite tall, it almost seems like there could be an upstairs whose windows were covered over by the T111, and there's a stairway I could see through the window, but the listing and the property record on line both say 1 story brick, with a basement, so maybe the stairs go to the roof or a short attic space of some kind.

I figured I could make it into a sculpture gallery/museum and use part of it for classes maybe, I can probably get the building for $16k, I'll look at it Friday with the agent.

GarryRicketson 08-02-2012 05:21 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
Good Luck !, That is kind of exciting, my thoughts are , both buildings one each side ,look pretty old,..and are nice ,designs, with the brick and all, ....the one your buying is nice, but the facade,(brown T111), is lacking, but I pitchure one of your art deco designs, replacing that.. and it would really enhance, the entire block,..looks like a lot of potential,..
hope it works out,
from Garry

evaldart 08-02-2012 08:43 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
16k is as good as free. I'd jump on it. It is large enough to accomplish many things at once. What city are you in? This is an amazing deal.

GlennT 08-02-2012 09:27 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
Sounds like a good deal and you can out-ornament the adjacent buildings to help advertise your work.

tonofelephant 08-02-2012 09:39 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
16K sounds like a good deal.

Am sure you will want to peel off T-111 as soon as possible after buying. Before you do, check with the city & county to see if they have a fund for rehabilitating store fronts (sill save you some money). Also, if you have a "Main Street" organization, they might also be able to help.

Make sure that you do a through inspection of the place beforehand. Even in my bush-league town, the building inspector wants to come through & make sure every thing is safe. That includes fire signs, extinguishers, etc.

Am sure you have already thought of these things. When my wife & I opened up our 1st store front, we were surprised what expenses there were to contend with.

Having said that. This is exciting news & a major step away from home studio/selling space. Also raises your professionalism in the eyes of clients. Way to go. Can't wait to see the inside pictures when you get them.


Art-Deco 08-02-2012 12:51 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
This is a tiny town of 1700 ppl, there's no real "building inspections" here, you want to build onto your house you draw sketch on a piece of paper to the city council and pay the $5 or $10 permit fee and it's done.

For commercial there's probably a little more involved, but it's similar.
The building dates to around 1900 or earlier, and it very well could have some decorative elements, iron maybe under that T111, or possibly nice brickwork.
And yes, I hate that T111 and would certainly like to restore the front to an older more authentic look, and I will be trying to locate some old photos of that spot to see if one might show what it once looked like.
I have several old postcards made around there but not quite positioned right to get a view of this building.

The thing is the front is so tall, even if it doesn't seem so in the picture, that it would take scaffolding to reach up high enough.
I'm hoping there's some interesting facade under that crap yearning to be freed and I'll certainly look into some fund or whatever for restoring, good idea.

I will view it to-morrow afternoon and go from there.

It's a nice open space that seems huge, but the wall I can see in back is probably only 40 feet in, as the building is 96 feet long there's another large space behind the partition wall I can see thru the windows. I might very well start with half of that front space, 500 sq feet and put up some kind of visual barrier like those Japanese screens, a curtain or something and renovate just that 500 sq feet area in front first. The floor looks like it had linoleum squares that were removed, leaving the adhesive behind- likely to be a messy job there, but maybe that 500 Sq ft could be done with the laminated plank flooring.

There are two rows of UGLY hanging 8' fluorescent lamp fixtures hanging from the ceiling, those definitely have to go!
It's mighty hard to look at a blank space like this and come up with a great decorating and color scheme idea, ditto for the facade's T111 if it turns out there's nothing under it of note, or it's been drilled and damaged so badly it's beyond reasonable restoration.
Likely I won't get a lot done this year on it, but we'll see how it goes.

The corner building is very nice, it's brick and white glazed terracotta, it was originally a bank, now theres a flower shop on the ground floor. The other building on the left is owned by a guy who makes custom furniture and cabinets.
This corner is opposite city hall and the city park, and to the left in the corner on the main street is another building for sale, a former jewelry store- 2 stories high, with a basement for $25,000 and it's a nice facade. The seller of that, who is retired, wants to rent a small part to continue to occasionally do jewelry repairs in.

tonofelephant 08-02-2012 03:57 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Sounds like an ideal placement in the town. Can't go to City Hall without going by your soon-to-be store.


Art-Deco 08-02-2012 08:40 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Yeah it's a good location for sure.

I was browsing some pics of old store fronts, and something like this would be real good, and it would blend in extremely well with the adjacent buildings, fo all I know underneath that T111 and the 2 aluminum panels under the display windows there could be something in iron or wood similar to what's under the windows of this old store front but plainer.
I'm sure that single door replaced a double set of wood doors, I could get a pair of salvaged doors like those, though it would require those angled windows be moved to 90 degrees to the others, and constructing a little bit of fill-ins in the corners.

That UGLY single aluminum door has GOT to go!!!

The 4 square pilasters would be easy to replicate something similar in wood, ditto for the two inset panels under the windows and the little cornice on top.

That would look real cool, and as long as the wood is kept painted properly there's no problem, those pilaster in the photo are cast iron but I have seen plenty of similar in softwood.

Kilkenny 08-03-2012 09:48 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
I like the way it looks at the moment - modern! Keep it simple, I'd say. Clean simple lines = modernity. Complications = antique shop.:o

Art-Deco 08-03-2012 02:45 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Well the news is, I went for a viewer earlier and it all looked good, wiring is to circuit breakers, and using romex, lots of power, newerish looking forced air gas furnace, I didn't see the make, it looks like a typical Lenox.
So I made the $15,000 offer and a little while ago the agent called to tell me the owner accepted, so it's starting!

Art-Deco 08-03-2012 02:46 PM

Re: Might be buying a store

Originally Posted by Kilkenny (Post 103365)
I like the way it looks at the moment - modern! Keep it simple, I'd say. Clean simple lines = modernity. Complications = antique shop.:o

It'll stay that way for a little while at least, but I hate that modern front, it looks like a drug store, book store, or a stationary store!
It needs that chic, art gallery look I have in mind :cool:

tonofelephant 08-03-2012 04:54 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Excellent that you made the deal.

Art-Deco 08-03-2012 07:09 PM

Re: Might be buying a store

Originally Posted by tonofelephant (Post 103371)
Excellent that you made the deal.

Yeah real easy :)
The staircase I saw in the back goes up to a little "mezanine" like space that was an office, it has woodwork around it- banisters etc which indicate it was likely original to the building, not a lot of headroom up there, maybe 6 feet.
The floor is tonge and groove wood boards, I could see where the linoleum adhesive was worn or peeled off in a couple of spots, it might be maple but hard to tell without sanding a spot or something. The back half has newer linoleum on it that's in good condition.
It has a gas furnace, forced air ducted, looked like a Lenox or similar, no obvious label I could see, but they have a good gas furnace at work they want to get rid of that I could take as a spare or replacement, it's perfectly good but they replaced it with a high efficiency 96% unit.

ironman 08-03-2012 09:48 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Hey AD,
Wish you the best and much success in this new location.
Where is this anyway?
Maybe you could start an artists colony.

Art-Deco 08-03-2012 11:34 PM

Re: Might be buying a store

Originally Posted by ironman (Post 103376)
Hey AD,
Wish you the best and much success in this new location.
Where is this anyway?
Maybe you could start an artists colony.

Heys, thanks :)
It's in NW Iowa, 2 hours NW from Des Moines, which is why the price of real estate here is cheap :)
Yeah it would be cool to get a local group of some sort.

Nelson 08-04-2012 06:58 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
It all sounds like an interesting proyect, and I`m sure you`ve assessed market potential...;) Best luck.

Art-Deco 08-04-2012 10:12 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
I have my end of the paperwork signed and the earnest money check done with, so Monday things will happen with the peperwork.

Now I have to think about displays, the walls are brick with the usual cement/plaster/paint over them, a little bit of a challenge to securely and safely hang dozens of sculptures on it, and allow for maybe rotating displays over time.
When I was in Brooklyn in a brick loft with bare brick walls, I simply drilled 1/2" holes into the mortar and pounded in short pieces of 1/2" electrical conduit, leaving them stick out about 5-6" and hung the hollow terra cotta pieces over those, worked great, I guess mostly because I could SEE the mortar lines so I could drill and pound, but now it's different, and maybe tapcons with a "J" shaped steel bracket-hook will do, drilled into the harder brick as the mortar is likely to be soft and not hold it well.

Going to take lots of thought!

The T111 siding I did not measure, but I could see screws in rows about every 2 feet going to the top, and assuming 2 feet between rows, it must be made of about 12 foot long panels, though I didn't make a big effort to discern seams, it could be 8'pieces and 4' pieces. Adding in the height of the windows, it would seem the top of the wall is about 18-20 feet above the sidewalk, definitely a two level scaffold deal to reach.

Art-Deco 08-05-2012 01:04 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
I went to get a couple of pics and measurements, I also discovered the T-111 siding is actually individual lap boards about 6" wide x 12' long, I was real happy to see that because I can easily put an extension ladder up and peel off one or two boards and look at what's under them without having to scaffold and deal with 4' by 10 or 12 foot sheets of heavy ply! I know 4x8 is standard but you CAN get much larger sheets and I think you can get 12' sheets.

On the other side of the building on the left the two store buildings have the same brown brick the building on the right has, and they are mildly decorative using designs for the brick courses, their style is probably from the 1910s era.
The building on the right was once a bank, now a florist, and a florist shop would complement a shop next door thta has sculptures that can be used in the garden :)

Inside, that partition wall is about 45' from the front windows, and the floor in that area in the back has newer linoleum. The building is 96 feet deep, so thatwall is about in the center.

The front floor has the linoleum adhesive left on the original wood floor, the tin ceiling can be seen, nothing real fancy but all in good condition.

Those horrible fluorescent lamps you can see why they have to GO! geez, there's enough of them in those 3 rows to light up an airport or shopping mall!
The walls are masonry over brick, with the usual screw holes here and there where shelving or whatever had once been attached.
I believe the ceiling is 11' high, as it seemed to be about 3' higher than the top of the window glass, which is 99." Another good thing is that there's no STEPS to get in, so no worries about things like wheelchair access/ADA requirements.

Robson Valley 08-05-2012 01:45 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Congratulations. Thanks for all the pictures.
Just goes to prove that I can dream in full color.

Mack 08-05-2012 01:51 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Looks like a nice that partition just some 2X and sheetrock? Any luck locating earlier photos of the facade?

raspero 08-05-2012 05:40 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
One thing I use extensively here in Mexico, where virtually all construction is cinder block, concrete, and re-bar, is to drill an appropriate size hole in the wall with a hammer drill, trim a wooden stick to a tight drive fit, drill a small pilot hole in the center of the stick, and run in a long sheet metal screw. The screw expands the wood anchor and it holds up any load I put on it. It's mostly shear load anyway. The reason for sheet metal screws is they are threaded full length.


Art-Deco 08-06-2012 01:27 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
Yeah that partition wall is just 2x4 stuff with sheetrock I think, didn't look at it real hard but I could tell it was just thrown up and is not substantial or original- the lousy 45 degree cuts at top where they had to avoid the ceiling cornice molding gives it away.
Nothing yet on the earlier photos, but there's a place here that is a museum in an old former school that might have something, but they have odd open days/hours and Ive never seen it open with lights on and people.
Theres an old photo of the building across the street I found, but it doesn't help me. That facade has been that way since at before 2002, because that was the last time the county assessor took a photo of it, and that's how it looks on their property report page for the building.

Oh yeah Ive done that Richard with the wood dowel, good one.

evaldart 08-06-2012 12:12 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
I lived in Iowa briefly when I was a child; Clinton. It looked like that.

PTsideshow 08-10-2012 09:19 AM

Re: Might be buying a store
Your rows of screws are to hold the sheathing to the front of the bldg. There will be either 2x4's or 2x3's underneath Attached to the front of the building bricks, or better yet they used the mortar courses. Easier to repair the holes if you want to repair the damage.

You can get either plastic, or wooden trim accent pieces like in the one picture to add to or replace the details. Check your local big box home store as the have them. Here is a web site that will also have all of your needs for display, signage and architectural details etc.
Great people to deal with, they have a massive on line and paper catalogs.
One thing you should be aware of the cities and villages generally have a lot stricter rehab and remodel construction codes then for homeowners, and they do have inspectors that the business owners pay for each trip. The code that is used a lot is BOCA code.

The inspectors are generally local contractors in the area they inspect. Best bet is to check with the Florist or other store owner. Before you start, as the fines are a lot more than permits and inspections. The commercial buildings and inspections are a cash making machine for towns.

Another thing to take into consideration is your towns signage code and their requirements for anything sign, lighting or facade parts over hanging the sidewalk or public area. This is considered a high risk for falling objects area.

Having been in the sign biz, I can tell you that their codes For signs and facades will more likely make no sense to you. And just because a store has a nasty 80 year old sign with wire stays and mounted with small sized angle iron, doesn't mean you can do the same it is called grandfathered in.

If they allow the faux wrought iron work mounting, hanging shingle type swinging signs the will have it down to the dia, and length of the screw and the number of them.

Not trying to be a downer but commercial building ownership, especially common wall single old joined buildings get good insurance and read the fire insurance section closely. As they do like to hide gotcha's in the legalize!

Don't skimp on electrical equipment, or having it installed by a licensed and insured electrician. More problems are caused by owner or no name on the truck people than other reasons. If you are uncomfortable doing electrical type work, Hiring it out and not to cousin of your neighbor, who works cheap.

Looks like you are off to a great start and wish you well and cash flow higher coming in than going out. :D

Art-Deco 08-12-2012 08:18 PM

Re: Might be buying a store
Thanks for the input PT, I found the sheating is nothing more than individual half lapped boards 6" wide 12' long, but likely as you said, the rows of screw are probably going into horizontally attached what I call "cleats" that are screwed into I assume the brick or mortar lines. I dont think those overhanging /swing type signs are allowed, Ive never seen one here and all the other businesses have signs attached to the front wall.

I don't think I will have such a sign up top on the front, more likely it will be a smaller one inside the window display.
The two display windows have a little raised "platform" about 2 feet deep, I like the curtains in that photo I posted of the Victorian store front, I think they look good where those are about 3 feet back, across the top and sides. There are spotlights or floodlights on the "ceiling" of those display window areas inside pointing down, and ther's a 3 or 4' long fluorescent lamp in each as well which are rather bizarre in their placement- 45 degree angle facing the glass with bare bulbs, just what you want- shining a bright light at the people looking in!

I won't need to do much in the way of "remodelling" the walls and ceiling need paint, the floor hopefully will strip and varnish, and I want to add baseboard moldings, and change the lights. Nothing will happen on the facade this year other than taking a peek under the boards, it's too late in the season to embark on any kind of major change on the front.

Still waiting to hear from my bank, they have all the paperwork and they were to send someone over there from the bank to do an internal apprasal rather than hiring an outside appraiser which they said runs $1500. So the deciding thing now at their end I guess is if their appraiser guy says the building is worth $15,000, loan approved, or it is not worth $15,000, waiting is agony!
Hope to hear something tomorrow.

Oh I have no issues with doing electric, plumbing etc, Ive had jobs in the past where that WAS part of the job, and Ive renovated more than a few lofts and places, I tend to overbuild, and over spec on everything- well beyond any minimum code or requirements.

Even if the electrical says I can use 14 GA wire I ALWAYS use 12, if something needs one 2x4 I use 2 or 3 of them, if a floor or porch joist can be a 2x6 with no issues, I still use 2x8 or even 2x10.
When I rewired my house, romex is the norm for in the walls and basement etc, but I don't use romex- seen and read about too many fires from rodents chewing wiring in walls to ever be comfortable with that stuff! I used commercial steel conduit with the waterproof connectors throughout, and in tight spots I used the metal armored cable, all 12 GA wire with a green ground wire.
I've worked alongside the local electrician here at my work place running various cables and things with him, and Ive replaced about 100 balasts with new ones, he's a good dude.
Most of the code stuff is pretty much common sense, but unfortunately a lot of people don't have that, so you get DIY repairs where people use things like duct tape or scotch tape on electrical wiring, or they wrap a damaged cord with yards of electrical tape, or break off the ground pin on plugs.
At work I know there was a lamp fixture on the milling machine that had been wired wrong- with a NON polarized plug, one day the machinist moved the gooseneck socket to direct the light better and it shorted out on the metal, turned out that depending on which way you plugged the cord in, the outside of the socket got the juice, nice accident waiting to happen to whomever might touch that lamp socket and the mill at the same time!
I wound up rewiring that thing correctly so it can't be plugged in wrong.

There was a similar issue with the air compressor's pressure switch too, you turned off all the breakers marked "AIR COMPRESSOR" not knowing that the air pressure switch on the tank had a whole OTHER breaker in another box that wasn't marked! and THAT was wired up once by a licensed electrician, I learned fast not to trust ANY wiring in that place at all.

Looks like a good url there pT, checking it out now.

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