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Author Topic: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project  (Read 3341 times)

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #30 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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stephendare

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2013, 01:02:13 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.



"Water boils faster when Chuck Norris watches it."

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. ;)
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

Captain Zissou

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #32 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 #33 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 #34 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 »

stephendare

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2013, 01:27:32 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...

So a two bedroom then?  One for the kids?  lol.
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #36 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 #37 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.

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2013, 02:09:40 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.

The weight of opinion has shifted back and forth between leaving the little coffee shop in the bookstore open and having a larger breakfast/lunch place next door, "or" closing the smaller bookstore cafe, and shifting all coffee/food assets to the larger place at the 225 street level location.  The latter decision would still allow us to keep the tables in the front of the bookstore, the table in the patio, and the tables on the sidewalk, with the added advantage of having more space for bookshelves. 

And yes, I agree about utilizing any excellent coffees and pastries produced locally.  I hope to use this new project to establish a level of quality which will guarantee a high volume of customers, which is the only way to really ensure the overall success of the renovation, including the ability to pay off any loans.


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JFman00

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2013, 02:29:45 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.



"Water boils faster when Chuck Norris watches it."

Put in gas cooktops in the kitchens and watch the rental applications pour in. Not sure why gas is such anathema in this town.

stephendare

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2013, 02:48:32 PM »
Well Im for anything that doesnt take ten years to do, Ron.

I think thats the most important thing.

And if you cant get bank financing and don't want to take partners, then what is your plan?
And now abide faith, hope and love; these three, but the greatest of these is love

ronchamblin

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2013, 03:54:36 PM »
Well Im for anything that doesnt take ten years to do, Ron.

I think thats the most important thing.

And if you cant get bank financing and don't want to take partners, then what is your plan?

Ten years?  I agree….. that’s too long.  That’s why I’m glad my project, once started, will take only around two years.  My 215 N. Laura Street project, the bookstore/café building, took me two years and four months from purchase to opening.  That time includes the six months in the beginning when I did almost nothing to the building.  Therefore, one could say that once started, the 215 building took me less than two years.

Not having the assets to do more than one semi-major project at a time, I have delayed starting the 225 project, and probably will not begin any work until April.  Therefore, if the two year duration for the project is realized, I will finish it in the spring of 2015.

Of course, the most important thing is not the objective of finishing a project within a set period.  The most important thing is to finish it.  The second most important thing is to finish it within a reasonable amount of time.  Two years is within reason in my view.

A bank loan?  Given my background of having paid every penny I’ve owed to all creditors for over fifty years, of never failing in a business, of consistently expanding in my current business for almost forty years while many others in the same business have failed….. I think any reasonable bank will seriously entertain a loan to me for the project.

Although I’ve suggested that the loan might be as high as $800,000, further thought allows me to say that two things will allow the loan to be less.  The first is that I will be able to do more of the preliminary work on the project myself, using my own money, than I had at first thought.  And secondly,  I anticipate selling my house so that I can contribute perhaps $200,000 additional to the project.  Therefore the loan might be as low as $400K to $500K.

In any case, thanks for the questions Stephen, but somehow, I am confident about the project.  My plan?  I have the same attitude as many people do about things like this…… which is simply that … “For many of us, no matter what some mediocrities or idiots place in front of us, we will force the son-of-a-bitch to completion.”   How or why?  Through the same process that allows many people to finish projects.  I can see within my mind the entire process of renovation, from beginning to end, with all the details.


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Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2013, 04:17:48 PM »
@Ron,

I've been following this thread all morning and will continue to follow the project as it moves ahead. 

I'm only commenting to give you kudos for the random Chuck Norris signatures, but it leaves me with only one question:

If Chuck Norris is such a badass, then why aren't there any Bruce Lee jokes? 






Bruce Lee is no fucking joke.    ;D

Looking forward to the rest of what follows.
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kreger

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2013, 04:37:33 PM »
I'm so stoked about this! Chamblins is awesome just as it is, with one exception...It's not always open when I think it's going to be. I'm sure you will do a great job next door. If you have good food, good hours, and wine and beer I think you will do very well. I truly believe that downtown restaurants would all do well if they worked together and kept similar hours i.e. everybody stayed open on Friday and Saturday nights. This means without fail. Adding more restaurants would also help, as people like options when going out for a meal. This is why Avondale works so well. It only takes a few failed attempts at grabbing a coffee early or a meal late downtown until you go elsewhere. The Urban Core has the strangest hours for these things, too much focus is placed on lunch only. I wish you all the best, and am looking forward to what you come up with.

P.S. I'd suggest something like The Grotto in San Marco.

TPC

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Re: 225 Laura Street: A Downtown Core Renovation Project
« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2013, 04:49:08 PM »
I'm not a business owner but a few places that seem to do very well Down Town are Burrito Gallery, Indochine, and Dos Gatos to name a few.

The reason I feel these places do well is they offer great tasting unique items at good prices with great service. I know I'm being very general with these but if you hit those three points you should do well.

I think if you offered a great breakfast meals with fast service (Which isn't offered Downtown), a great lunch menu and had beer and wine available at night you could do quite well.