What would YOU do with this historic brick building?

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What would you do with this property?

My friend Amy Danziger Ross, a grad student in Idaho, recently found this amazing property in a very small town:

$75,000. GREAT HISTORIC BRICK BUILDING. STARTED OUT AS A BANK WITH A MASONIC LODGE LOCATED ON THE 2ND FLOOR. MAIN FLOOR IS SET UP AND HAS BEEN RUN AS THE ELK TAVERN FOR MANY YEARS. THERE IS AN APARTMENT IN THE BACK ON MAIN FLOOR. SECOND FLOOR HAS NOT BEEN USED FOR YEARS, MOSTLY ONE BIG ROOM WITH HIGH CEILING, FIR FLOORING, LOTS OF WINDOWS AND 2 FIREPLACES.

Let me get this straight: for $75k, she could have the entire building, complete with her own tavern on the main floor:

The tavern on the main floor -- check out the bra chandelier!

As Amy said:

“We found what could maybe be our dream house — an old Masonic Lodge on the second floor, a bar and a grocery (and an apartment) on the first floor. We like the idea of making the second floor into a library. And it’s less than an hour out of Moscow, ID.

There are some problems, though. The boy drove out there and says it’s not in great shape — would probably need like $100k worth of work, though he thinks it’s livable. It’s also kind of far from civilization, and people say the town is a little creepy.”

So, the town might be a little on the meth lab/zombie apocalypse side of things. But let’s picture the library on the second floor:

A shot from the upstairs -- high ceilings, multiple fireplaces, big windows!

Or she could gut the whole thing and take over the downtown of this tiny town with some sort of bike collective/arts community/distillery!

Fantasy time: What would YOU do with this building?

Comments on What would YOU do with this historic brick building?

  1. I would love for it to be a bakery/coffee shop/art gallery/general cozy place to spend a day place downstairs (Harkening back to an amazing sort-of-coffee shop back in my hometown -RIP The Globe-) with couches, board games, books, and funky trinkets.
    I would turn the upstairs into a performance space and also a record shop/pressing studio/maybe try and start a little label of sorts to give bands that don’t have the opportunity to press on vinyl the chance.
    A girl can dream, and dream, and dream!

  2. This building isn’t too far away from where I live. I would probably make the first floor into a bakery that delivers to the surrounding areas and provide a little walk in bakery for the local folk. Doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, let along driving traffic, so it would have to be made into something that didn’t rely on people coming to you.

  3. Without knowing the demographics of the town, I’d opt for possibly keeping the bar (but up-scaling it a bit)converting the upstairs to living quarters/artists’ studio, and running an internet based business from it. Micro-brewery is an option, but again only if the area can support it or you can market the product elsewhere.

  4. I would buy the building and about 5 of the adjoining lots. Construct a massive underground shelter in these lots and under the building with at least 3 methods of entry to the underground. Install bullet proof roll-down shutters on all the windows and Kevlar in all the walls. Sell some of the underground units as condos. Finish it off with a family restaurant and decor that matches the original design. None of the changes would change the appearance.

    • Are the zombies also armed?!?

      Just what kind of zombie apocalypse are we talking here? I was really just imaging your standard “Shaun of the Dead” type infestation.

      Do you know something I don’t know??

      • While soulless undead cannibals do not seem to really be capable of shooting a firearm; thugs, armies, immigrants, government forces, tax collectors, banks, and angry beavers all are fully capable of shooting said firearms. Plus think of the energy savings all that bullet proof insulation would provide.

  5. The mister and I want to get a building like this, turn the bottom level into a comicbook/geekery shop with a small cafe, and live on the upper floors.

  6. I think it would be grand to set up the first floor as a shared workspace like this: Camp Coworking. Maybe there’s enough people who live locally but would like to skip the hour commute to the larger city?

    I have to say the $100K to fix it up gives me pause. In my experience, expensive repairs to a building will not immediately raise the value of the property to cover the repair costs. I would be concerned that the property would still only be worth say $125K after the $100K worth of repairs.

    But hopefully you won’t need that sum all at once and you can make repairs as you go because this would be a rare opportunity to fill a lovely and unusual space!

  7. I’d turn part of it into a salon/barbershop, with all the natural light… Swoon! I’d leave the bar and grocery (revamp a bit, though) and convert the rest into living spaces.

  8. co-op youth hostel/restaurant/artist space. partition the upstairs into studio space for rent long or short term, on the cheap in exchange for working for the hostel or restaurant (or some other sharing of skills/resources). Some of the space reserved for hostel guests. plans could eventually include a community art space (darkroom, print shop, community classes, etc).

  9. Believe it or not, we’re actually in the process of buying something similar to restore. It’s an old historic hotel in a prairie town that has not been used for years. The building we’re looking at is in worse condition though and will probably need a major renovation. We think it will pay off though since the cost of purchasing it and renovating it would be similar to the cost of a house and buying a rental property.

    Our plan is to restore the second story first for us to be able to live there and then we’ll slowly refinish the first floor and basement and turn it into a rental property for businesses, or if I get bored, open a restaurant. The town we will be in is pretty nice, and the most important part is the city wants to see it restored which will be pretty helpful in terms of obtaining permits and going through the construction process quickly. If all goes well with the structural inspection next week we should have it in about a month and then the construction will begin….. Let me know if you guys want any photos and I can post them on Flickr once we move forward a bit.

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