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Thursday, November 24, 2011

{Build It and They Will Come?}

I have a mentor.  And two or three professors.  And some random financial guy/SMU executive MBA grad that all keep telling me the same thing...

"Build new."

Yeah, they think the Queen of the Trinity (the 1890s Queen Anne style historic landmark I want to buy and turn into an event venue) is a money pit and not worth the effort.  I can't deny this advice any longer since it has come from so many reliable and trusted sources.  In my style, I'd like to weigh the pros and cons of buying the old Victorian mansion on a hill versus building a new structure for the same purpose.  Feel free to comment with more pros and cons or your opinion on either.  

Buy Historic and Renovate
  • History
  • Charm
  • Great details in the architecture
  • Convenient location to downtown FW and D/FW airport
  • Beautiful natural scenery
  • Riverfront access to future Trinity River Vision Project (10+ years down the road)
  • National historic landmark
  • Renovations will allow me to create the look and feel I want inside and out
  • Can garner support of local historians and investors who want to see a local treasure restored
  • Incorporate green elements such as new HVAC and recommissioning the rainwater collection well
  • Not many direct competitors who are historic, have a lot of outdoor space and green elements
  • Expensive listing price
  • Lots, lots, lots of work (landscaping, demolition, new kitchen, new baths, new siding, paint, every single last thing) which means lots, lots, lots of money!
  • Could get neighborhood complaints
  • All kinds of zoning and code headaches from city
  • The unexpected (what will we find under each layer?)
  • Not enough indoor space for larger events

Build New
  • Build a ballroom (Fort Worth in particular has a need for larger event spaces that are not hotels)
  • Choose every detail and material used
  • Make it as eco-friendly and efficient as I can afford
  • Find reclaimed materials to incorporate
  • Can build to "look" old/historic
  • Bypass historical landmark restrictions or code issues on old houses
  • Form focus group and let local event professionals tell me what they'd like to see in their ideal venue...and do it!
  • Instant value/equity in the asset (hopefully)
  • Finding ideal location could be difficult
  • No support from local historians/investors
  • Competes now with other newly built "wedding venues" instead of unique historic venues (sigh)
  • Could get pricey to build it the exact way I would want it
  • No history to use as a differentiator

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