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  1. #1
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    would you live in an old school building?

    I posted a thread a while back about moving away from Memphis. When we do, we want a place that has room for the business - either a house with outbuildings are some other large building like in a small downtown area or such.

    We've run into more than one school building for sale. One would certainly be large enough for both living and business, but not exactly living in friendly, although it could be made that way.

    Would you do it? Why, why not? The biggest concern I have is energy usage. A 15,000 sf school would use a lot more energy to heat and cool than a 2400 sf house, so one would have to get crafty.
    Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence - John Locke

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  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    cost to make it truly liveable and luxrious would be extremely high

    but I mean:
    - your own indoor gym/tenniscourt/bowling alley/shooting range etc
    - build you pet project homebuilt airplane in another room
    - MJ grow op if your state grants such a license
    - probably have nice high ceilings everywhere.

    but

    - dozens or hundreds of single pane windows ... bwahaha at the heating/cooling bill

    One couple near here bought up some crappy primary school building. They did minimal reno to is, and turned the gym into a semi-commercial axe-throwing range. Ghetto living, without being in the dangerous ghetto!
    B.C. family buys up former school, turns gym into axe-throwing range | CTV Vancouver Island News

  3. #3
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    cost to make it truly liveable and luxrious would be extremely high

    but I mean:
    - your own indoor gym/tenniscourt/bowling alley/shooting range etc
    - build you pet project homebuilt airplane in another room
    - MJ grow op if your state grants such a license
    - probably have nice high ceilings everywhere.

    but

    - dozens or hundreds of single pane windows ... bwahaha at the heating/cooling bill

    One couple near here bought up some crappy primary school building. They did minimal reno to is, and turned the gym into a semi-commercial axe-throwing range. Ghetto living, without being in the dangerous ghetto!
    B.C. family buys up former school, turns gym into axe-throwing range | CTV Vancouver Island News

    Also.


    When you say "old school building for sale"....I think "asbestos remediation". And if the stuff is there, the second you start remodeling (legally) you have to fix it.
    "‘Photograph me on horseback,’ wrote Teddy Roosevelt in 1908. ‘Tennis, no. And golf is fatal.’ "

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    not to mention the cost of repairing/replacing the typical old school flat roofs, which inevitably leak and soon produce a toxic mold nightmare

    home maintenance budget on an institutional scale

  5. #5
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    not to mention the cost of repairing/replacing the typical old school flat roofs, which inevitably leak and soon produce a toxic mold nightmare

    home maintenance budget on an institutional scale

    Depending on where you live....there are usually stipulations for the square-footage of mold a home-owner is allowed to treat before being required to call in professionals.

    There's also permitting, which I'd wonder about.
    "‘Photograph me on horseback,’ wrote Teddy Roosevelt in 1908. ‘Tennis, no. And golf is fatal.’ "

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I'd probably start with asbestos as the #1 potential issue. Widely used everywhere up until about 1980 or so. Floor tiles, pipe insulation, roofing, ceiling tiles, plaster and drywall compound. Basically a nightmare.

    And then utility costs, property tax, and we haven't even started on repair and renovation costs.

    Just say no.
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  7. #7
    We have met the enemy...
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    I've seen a few pretty cool condo conversions that started with a school building, but these were big city/inner city deals (London comes to mind).

    The other issue about schools would be zoning--typically they are in residential nabes, so you would be limited as to the size of business you could run from them and/or who you could lease space to. Around here you can run a business from home, but there are restrictions about number of employees, frequency of truck deliveries etc.

    Aside from the potential asbestos, I like the idea of finding something other than the typical suburban box as well--although one thing we did find out along the way (we were looking at an old bakery), you could not get a standard mortgage because the property was zoned commercial.
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
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  8. #8
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    I like the idea of an old fire house more. They tend to be a lot more compact, are set up better for living space, and have a huge garage with high ceilings. I've seen examples of these converted well.

    Besides potential mold and asbestos issues, an old 15,000 sq ft school building would be a utility bill nightmare, and wouldn't be set up well at all for living space. You'd probably end up spending more than building it from scratch to turn it into a comfortable and reasonably efficient space.
    Last edited by nealric; 04-18-2017 at 08:10 AM.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Can you convert it into rentals?

  10. #10
    Seat's not level
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    We had a couple in town buy an old school house and convert it into a home. Soon after it was finished the guy killed his wife and then himself.... A little murder-suicide to finish of the renovation...
    Bad decisions make great stories - JP

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  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chain View Post
    We had a couple in town buy an old school house and convert it into a home. Soon after it was finished the guy killed his wife and then himself.... A little murder-suicide to finish of the renovation...
    Well, it IS a stressful process...........sounds like an episode of Renovation Realities.

  12. #12
    gazing from the shadows
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    Live in, yes. Buy, almost certainly not.

    Many smaller towns have empty buildings on main street. Consider that as something that might be a better blank space to start with, and fit with your needs and desired lifestyle. Where such buildings exist, local officials will tend to be open to the idea of a reno that combines residential and business.
    .
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Also.
    When you say "old school building for sale"....I think "asbestos remediation". And if the stuff is there, the second you start remodeling (legally) you have to fix it.
    Could the facility even be sold off if there is a known asbestos problem? After all of that, the property is only worth the land that it sits on minus the expense of knocking down the building to start all over.

    A couple years ago, the local school district leveled an older secondary school up at the end of the street that was put up in the fifties. It's been replaced by a rather impressive looking facility with more acreage left for athletic fields and recreational yards than most any school ever gets around here (SoCal). Not that anyone can get to them as the place also came with effective fencing and is locked up all the time.

    But they can't open it up because of asbestos issues. There it sits. Asbestos in a building that just been completed?

    Not that I mind. If and when that place opens up, no one in this neighborhood will be able to get out of their driveway between 0700 and 0900 on school days.
    Qh6+!!

  14. #14
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    If you're really interested, go to the local Building Department, pull several application files, and look at the professionals involved. It's usually the same handful of "go-to" architects, lawyers, engineers, and planners. Then, talk to an architect or two both about reconfiguring the building and what approvals would be required. If you don't go catatonic after speaking to him or her then you'd probably go to a lawyer to shepherd you through the process. A contract to buy the building should be contingent on obtaining the required approvals.

    The main issue, as noted by another poster, will likely be zoning; you'll presumably need a use variance that involves going before a board. An application will bring out the NIMBYs (or ninnies, as someone I know who sits on his town's planning board calls them). Also, school land has sometimes been donated by a locally-prominent family and comes with deed restrictions that authorities are willing to overlook but the family isn't.

    I wouldn't worry about remediation issues, if any. That's something a contractor handles and should be incorporated into the purchase price. You'll probably also run into a bunch of ancient mechanical and electrical systems and may lose grandfathered status on existing code nonconformance. You should be able to control energy cost with retrofits.

    To summarize: this sounds like a major PITA.
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  15. #15
    half-fast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bixe View Post
    Could the facility even be sold off if there is a known asbestos problem? After all of that, the property is only worth the land that it sits on minus the expense of knocking down the building to start all over.

    A couple years ago, the local school district leveled an older secondary school up at the end of the street that was put up in the fifties. It's been replaced by a rather impressive looking facility with more acreage left for athletic fields and recreational yards than most any school ever gets around here (SoCal). Not that anyone can get to them as the place also came with effective fencing and is locked up all the time.

    But they can't open it up because of asbestos issues. There it sits. Asbestos in a building that just been completed?

    Not that I mind. If and when that place opens up, no one in this neighborhood will be able to get out of their driveway between 0700 and 0900 on school days.
    We work in places with this fiber.

    No, they are not necessarily required to nuke them from orbit to be safe.

    As with all things in life, there are hazards.

    Certain hazards require a process. Asbestos is one of those things.

    A professional firm evaluates the material by obtaining samples and analyzing them. They prepare a report, with where the stuff is, what kind of asbestos it is, and how much asbestos is in the offending material.

    Then, if the stuff is in an area which is subject to being disturbed, abatement activity can be planned.

    Or it can be encapsulated.

    If you go to a good library, you can look at the ASTM publication on surveys, abatement, maintenance, and remediation. I have one here we use from time to time.

    It is one of those things that won't cut into you if you don't cut into it. Be careful. Use protection.

    P.S.

    It is a natural rock, and common at park we walk our dog at.

    The world is a strange place.

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    NFW would I buy an old school.

  16. #16
    Ricardo Cabeza
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    Interesting reading.

    I wouldn't buy a school that needed a ton of work. It would be necessary for me to do a lot of it, and I've been there done that with an old house and I've moved on. I don't want to give up the things I want to do now in order to refurb and old school.

    Now, Im open to buying one that someone else has done, such as one in Burbank OK that recently came up for sale. They've already done all the hard work over the last 20 years and are selling it cheap. Of course, you have to live in Burbank, OK, population 120 or so, but it's close to both Tulsa and OKC.

    We aren't rushing over to look at it, but at least those things are out there
    Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence - John Locke

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  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    There's been some activity here in Kansas City turning old school buildings into apartments.


    Closed Kansas City public schools: sold, up for sale, demolished | The Kansas City Star

  18. #18
    Seat's not level
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    Bad decisions make great stories - JP

    Spring is here... snowflakes are melting.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy69 View Post
    Interesting reading.

    I wouldn't buy a school that needed a ton of work. It would be necessary for me to do a lot of it, and I've been there done that with an old house and I've moved on. I don't want to give up the things I want to do now in order to refurb and old school.

    Now, Im open to buying one that someone else has done, such as one in Burbank OK that recently came up for sale. They've already done all the hard work over the last 20 years and are selling it cheap. Of course, you have to live in Burbank, OK, population 120 or so, but it's close to both Tulsa and OKC.

    We aren't rushing over to look at it, but at least those things are out there
    Tulsa was better than we expected--we visited a few times when were in AR. Some sections were sketchy, but some sections were really nice...
    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
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  20. #20
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    totally would
    check what this guy did

    The Factory / Ricardo Bofill | ArchDaily

    and check the McMenamin Properties in the PNW. We typically stay @ Edgefield when we go to Portland. Has a Pub, a Brewery, a Distillery, a winery, multiple bars and restaurants, a movie theatre and is close to epic cycling and good fishing


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