Rehabbing Historic Apartments and Mixed Use Commercial Buildings

Mixed Use Building Apartments over Retail, built 1904
The Daylight Building, built in 1904. Apartments over retail/office. Photo Credit: Western Washington University http://faculty.wwu.edu/talbot/BhamPhotoIndex.html

Developer Bob Hall got his start buying an old building in a deteriorating downtown to house his import business. He didn’t know about due diligence, deferred maintenance or building codes and after refinancing then selling his house to fund the required repairs swore he’d never buy another building… until he looked at his tax return. He was making more money renting out the extra space than the import business was pulling in… and he was hooked.

At the time a new regional mall had just opened outside of town and the long-time retailers were abandoning the downtown like it was a sinking ship. Hall looked around at all the empty buildings that had been built in the late 1800s through the early 1900s and saw the structural integrity as well as the beauty* of these historic properties selling for less than replacement cost. *Often covered up by later ‘modernizations’.

how to acquire, rehab and operate historic apartment buildings
The Hotel Laube/Windsor Hotel Buildings, both built in 1900. Apartments over retail. Photo Credit: WWU http://faculty.wwu.edu/talbot/BhamPhotoIndex.html

Fast forward some thirty years and he now owns almost thirty historic commercial and mixed use properties throughout the Northwest. At acquisition, many if they were being maintained at all were kept just barely standing until someone bought and/or condemned them to move in with the wrecking ball. Leaking roofs, worn out plumbing, outdated electrical systems and those ‘modernizations’ were the rule rather than the exception. Plus there were the  uninvited guests of various biological classes; hominid, avian and other.

How to buy, renovate and run historic apartment buildings
The St Helens Apartments, built 1917-1921. Apartments over retail. Photo credit: TJ Guyer Property Management; www.tjguyer.com.

 

How to buy, restore and manage historic commercial buildings

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