Author Topic: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project  (Read 17415 times)

strider

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 10:57:28 AM »
Ron, I think if you really go back and research it, you will find you are making a mistake in not pursuing tax credits.  The federal tax credits have actually enabled many to renovate structures that otherwise would have been lost.  I know of cases where the sale of the tax credits has actually paid a substantial part of the rehab expense.  Each case is different but the potential is there and large enough to justify the paperwork. If you don't have the time, hire someone to do it.
"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement." Patrica, Joe VS the Volcano.

Captain Zissou

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:02 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well. 

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2013, 11:09:27 AM »
From what I understand, there is a possible ten year timeline on this project?

Is that accurate?

If so, wouldn't it be a better idea to either partner with someone else or find a different developer for the project?

I hope it's not accurate, that there is not a ten year time limit.  In any case, I must do things according to my time and money constraints.  I agree that getting a partner with enough money would be a great way to speed up the process of developing the property, but I've always avoided partnerships, which, as I think about it, has a lot to do with why I'm still in business, and one reason why I've expanded overall through the years.

Although many partnerships do quite well, I recommend that all business persons avoid partnerships if at all possible, as one never knows the mental developments over time within the mind of the partner.

And as for finding another developer...... well.... the building sat for many years without anyone purchasing it, or developing it.  And if I did not purchase it in April of last year, it probably would still be sitting there.  As it is, as soon as I complete another construction project, we are going to begin the cleanout and limited demo within weeks.  In fact, if another project had not taken my time and money, I would already be well along on this building.  I suspect that even if I offered the building for sale, no new developer would come to it's rescue. 

Look at all the buildings sitting in our core, with no developers.  The only reason I'm able to "do" this building is because it is small enough for me, "and" it is small enough so that during these depressed times in the core, it can still produce an income, with the right business within.  That's the problem with the larger buildings, such as the Barnett etc.  They are too big to be profitable in the core at this time.  In order for anyone to develop these giants, millions would have to be invested to ensure enough income from them.  On these large buildings, who has the money, the plan, and the wish to risk?  There is not enough ongoing vibrancy/population in the core to invite development of the large buildings.  All we can do now is "work" the smaller projects through to income producers.   

But... you will see my good friend Stephen, the project will soon begin to take shape. Be patient with me.  I suspect that just as you can "smell, feel, and live" the restaurant business, among others perhaps, and therefore you have great confidence in "doing" them, I can "smell, feel, and live" projects such as this, just as some others here on MJ can do.  Therefore, there is sound cause for confidence within me on things like this, even when I don't have, for a time, the money to push aggressively ahead with them.

But... yes, if there was a time limit, I would be in trouble.

fieldafm

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2013, 11:25:21 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....

Although Ron is more than capable of speaking for himself, he used the facade grant funds for a pretty spectacular mural over Chamblins which will be painted by Shaun Thurston starting in February.  If you are downtown, watching Shaun's progress throughout this process will make for quite the enjoyable lunch break.

thelakelander

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2013, 11:29:59 AM »
We were also going to pursue one of the Laura Street facade grants from DVI when we were looking at the property.  I don't think that money was ever spent and they have gone well beyond the timing deadline with the landing, so maybe they could with you as well.

Actually I think Ron has already taken advantage of the facade grant for his tables out front.  Some of the money has been spent.  I bet Riverside Planner could fill us in on the progress of the facade funds....

An email from DVI to me earlier this month. 

Quote
We started with 12 buildings that were eligible for the grant program.  We had 9 owners agree to become involved with the program (now 8 since Ron has purchased Gus’ shoe store).   Of the 8 available 100 Laura Street, Wells Fargo and Chamblin’s are in the process of completing their plans – hopefully in the next month.  The other five are still in the process of finalizing their plans.
 
We want all work to be completed by the end of March – in time for One Spark.
 
Hope this helps.
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PeeJayEss

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2013, 11:32:57 AM »
Four of them within a block of the building in fact.

Sweet! Which places?

sandyshoes

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2013, 11:45:38 AM »
Just playing devil's advocate here;  if I were a tenant, the thought of moving in/out all my belongings when there is only one stairway for everyone to use would scare me off - logistically speaking.  If I were trying to push a sofa upstairs and my neighbors wanted to come down the stairs, you see where that's going.  Perhaps I misunderstand.  A suggestion for something to fill the storefront - as you already have a cafe in the Bookmine, and there is one next door, how about a little neighborhood grocery store, for convenience?  Somebody could run downstairs and pick up whatever they needed, and people nearby could do that on the way home from the office.  Some meats, fresh veggies, staples, a few drugstore type items, laundry soap...nothing huge.  What a dream to have a little mom & pop store.  Wonder if Julie of the Julie's Urban Grocery store would consider something like that, minus her original plans for delivery service?  Thanks for asking for input and thanks for listening.  Whatever you do I know it will be awesome. 

02roadking

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2013, 12:21:55 PM »
We're no Brooklyn, N.Y. but, this would look nice...

Springfield since 1998

devlinmann

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2013, 12:49:41 PM »
Ron Chamblin is a generous and kind man dedicated to the sustained development of downtown.

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2013, 12:57:12 PM »
Ive done more than my fair share of renovations and rehabs in urban environments as well.  Four of them within a block of the building in fact.

I don't doubt that the building would be unpurchased, from the experience of everyone who ever tried to purchase the building from its former owners over the decades.

But there is another side of that coin as well, and that is the slow rot of a building left unused for years.  And perhaps a little discomfort with partners would be worth the money difference in renovating now vs ten years from now.

I am glad to hear that you have experience rehabbing apartments and residential units, it was something I didnt know.  Based on your experience with renting out apartments, what kind of residents are you going to appeal to in the upstairs apartments?

The Laura Street Facade Grant has been used by me so far to install new tile over the ugly concrete in the entrance and patio, plus the four new tables/umbrellas/chairs out front ($1,600 or so). The Thurston mural will be started within weeks. 
I might have a little left on the $10K grant money.  The Thurston mural takes the largest segment of it.  The use of facade money on the 225 building would be a little shaky, as it will be renovated soon.  I cannot think of a facade change we could do with the grant money, which would not be impacted or covered up by the renovation.

The use of other's money sounds inviting Stephen, but my fear of partnerships exceeds my desire for the assistance from anyone other than a bank.  As far as the residents to which I will appeal regarding the upper apartments..... ?? I'm simply going to build some nice layouts, offer moderate rents, and see what happens.  Given the central location, I expect good interest.  I have absolutely no experience renting out apartments.  It should be interesting.



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Captain Zissou

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2013, 01:03:44 PM »
Just playing devil's advocate here;  if I were a tenant, the thought of moving in/out all my belongings when there is only one stairway for everyone to use would scare me off - logistically speaking.  If I were trying to push a sofa upstairs and my neighbors wanted to come down the stairs, you see where that's going.  Perhaps I misunderstand.

So the 5 minutes where you might prevent someone from coming down the stairs would cause you not to live there for an entire year?  Having seen the property, the views of Hemming and the Snyder memorial alone are worth the price of rent.  I'll pay whoever moves into the 3rd floor front unit $10 just to let me look out over the park for 5 minutes every so often.

sandyshoes

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2013, 01:13:31 PM »
Captain Zissou, you are mistaking me for a physically fit superhuman - only 5 minutes to push a sofa upstairs?   ;D

PeeJayEss

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 01:20:51 PM »
Captain Zissou, you are mistaking me for a physically fit superhuman - only 5 minutes to push a sofa upstairs?   ;D

How many segments are there to moving a sofa up the stairs? You pick it up and go. Either you can lift it the required height for the necessary amount of time or you can't. Were you planning to lift it halfway, go to Chamblins for a cup of coffee, grab lunch, maybe hit Bed Bath and Beyond (if you have time), then come back and finish the job?

Ron: I'll be interested in renting when the time comes...
« Last Edit: January 28, 2013, 01:22:38 PM by PeeJayEss »

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2013, 01:30:00 PM »
Quote from Stephen Dare:

"Ah.  sounds like youve a history of negative experience with partners. ron.   They arent for everyone.  And they certainly arent for some.

Perhaps you will find good luck with the Banks.  They seem to be in a generous mood."

Actually, I don't have negative experiences, but my imagination allows me to conjure up horrible possibilities with partnerships.  Knowing how people change, the divorces and tragedies possible, the descents into depressions, and the possible flights to wild heights of greed...... I would try all other things before I would engage a partner. 

Just as our single mind allows us humans to walk efficiently and successfully in only one direction at a time, and as a benevolent and wise dictator of a nation can efficiently make the best decisions for the citizens of his country, having the ideal of a single mind to make decisions for a business can best guarantee the absence of argument, the sole intent of business success, and the lack of inefficiencies due to non-action, when action should be.

But Stephen, I must admit.... sometimes the only way to do a project is with a partner, either because of the partner's money assets, or because the project could succeed only with the mental and creative abilities of the potential partner. 

PeeJayEss.... Sure.  I don't know who you are, but if you are still interested as we move along, get with me.



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taylormiller

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2013, 01:43:51 PM »
peestandingup
Today at 08:37:14 AM
If it were me, I'd just move the mini-cafe part that's currently in Chamblin's & make it into a full fledged coffee shop/house in the new space. That's one thing downtown desperately needs IMO.

Ron, while the Bookmine does in fact already serve coffee, there has been a glaring hole in the options for coffee downtown. While retail options such as Starbucks have an appeal because of name recognition and a level of familiarity, most people downtown would prefer local businesses that are starting to emerge as local successes. For example, the growing popularity of Bold City and Intuition beers are being seen by more bars around town serving them on tap. In that spirit, just a thought, how about reaching out to a local group like Bold Bean and having a coffee bar there that serves Bold Bean coffee. Set it up as a cafe geared towards being a great place to read your books, and while you're at it, what if you worked out a contract with 3 Layer's and have them bring in certain coffee cakes and other light snacks. It satisfies a need to have a good coffee shop downtown for day to day needs, fosters an environment to bring even more traffic to the bookshop and fuses three great Jacksonville local favorites.