Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by Mark-IL

Posted by Carl on July 14, 2003 at 18:26:01:

Can you elaborate more on buildings that could be converted to low income housing? Whats entailed, and how do you make money on something like this? Would LIH be considered a long term investment or short term development to flip?



Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by Mark-IL

Posted by Mark-IL on June 26, 2003 at 23:18:35:

I could use some advice on this animal. The city is looking to sell a school bldg at 750 grand. The listing broker indicates it needs about 100 grand in asbestos removal. The school has two sections, a newer section of classrooms that may be usable as office space or a community center (the city doesn’t have one yet). I am looking at using the gym and surrounding rooms for my business. Any ideas on ways I can approach the city for incentives or assistance on this property? (it does need landscaping and parking lot work as well as updating - it’s become an eye sore sitting empty). I have some rental properties to sell and wonder if it’s even a remote possibility to offer some sort of trade. I see lots of potential for the community and would be interested in running a senior center or community center there as well. Any ideas you have on asking a city for breaks on price or assistance would be helpful. Thank you. Mark-IL

Re: Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by Cari Perez Architecture

Posted by Cari Perez Architecture on September 17, 2003 at 18:03:00:

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Re: Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by aaron

Posted by aaron on July 22, 2003 at 13:55:51:

Not a bad idea. First thing is to get a Phase I Environmental Site Assesment or even an Environmental Transaction Screen. You will need to do a cost/benefit analysis on building that may have had bad heating oil tanks, lead based paint, asbestos, etc. I know people that may be able to do the environmental investigations and remediation if needed.

Re: Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by Don Dion

Posted by Don Dion on June 28, 2003 at 11:38:39:

I agree with Paul but would add make sure you get a asbostos removal contractor in to give you a firm bid on the total removal and site clean up. You might think the $100,000 seems like alot of money. I have scene single family homes with bills of 25 to 30 grand for asbestos removal on the north side of chicago. These homes were in the 20,000 sq ft range but did not have any were near the systems that a school would have. Also in schools you will sometimes see what looks like wool hanging from the ceiling in locker rooms, gyms, store rooms ect that is more then likely asbestos insulation. Even the floor tiles are asbestos in older commercial buildings.

Re: Purchasing an old school building, good idea? - Posted by Paul Ness, MAI

Posted by Paul Ness, MAI on June 27, 2003 at 07:46:16:

First, get it appraised and have a building inspection done. There may be more repair costs lurking. I wouldn’t buy it without some kind of commitment from the city that they would open a center there. Always best to have tenants lined up before you buy, especially with this white elephant.

I have seen many old schools purchased as investments and either converted to an alternative use or rented as is. Most of the ones I have seen have not been that successful. I think the prevailing problem with the ones I’m familiar with is their less-than-favorable location for commercial use. I have seen them converted to office/retail, apartments, church use and even office condos. However, as with most such investments, you will make your money when you buy this one and need to “steal” it, IMHO. I’m curious as to the total square footage.

Trade? I doubt if the city is interested in getting rental properties. About the only thing I can think that might appeal to them is for you to convert to low-income housing - in which case you might line up government assistance with financing and renovation costs. Another thought is maybe they’d give you a break on the price if you offered to lease a portion of it to them for use as a center at below-market rents. I would think they’d want the gym though.