• Ann Duchene

Just A Bit Of A Fixer Upper

From the outside, this building hasn't changed much over the past few months; but we have indeed been plugging away on the inside. Lately I've received requests for a project update, so figured it's high time to post some photos and summarize where we are in the process of transforming this place from a deteriorating landmark into a lovely little local hotel.

In all honesty, the process is kinda long and parts of it are rather dull. So if you're not interested, I totally get it. Just stay tuned and prepare to be wowed as time goes on. Or if that's too much commitment, just skip to the end of this post and browse the before and after photos of one portion of the building.

For those of you who do like the nitty gritty, this post is for you! Let me take a few seconds to build some context. If you walk by, drive by, or use your fancy photographic drone to take overhead pics of this building, you'll notice that there are two distinct sections. In the event that you (like me) do not own cutting-edge drone technology, just peek around the back side of the property. The entire building forms a u-shape, around a soon-to-be-very-cool courtyard, bordered on three sides by high brick walls.

The old church is the eye candy here, but you can just catch a glimpse of the administrative wing on the other section on the right side of this pic.

You may have already seen the photo to the left in past posts. I think you'll agree that, despite it's depressed and padlocked front doors, the historic church part of the building is eye candy. Okay, so if that's pushing it a bit, at least admit it has potential. This is the section we're repurposing into a mini hotel.

Now look to the right side of the photo and you catch a glimpse of an administrative wing added sometime around 1960. That's what we've been remodeling to date. Basically, we've renovated what used to be classrooms into a quiet little cluster of offices.

Once total building renovations are complete, not only will the hotel and the offices have separate signs and entrances; but they'll be visually separated by carefully planned landscaping across the front of the building.

One other piece to the puzzle. We purchased this property out of foreclosure, which means we got a really good price. That was the good news. The bad news was that the building isn't considered worth very much until a number of months have gone by. In exchange for getting a great price, I had to wait awhile to get access to the mortgage that would give me the financial resources I need to convert the church space into a hotel. Even that has actually worked out well, though, because I did have enough cash to get started on the smaller part of the project, office renovations.

Back to the good news. My bank has indicated that we should be set to refinance the property at its actual value around the end of the year, which means I can then start hotel renovations! Should be perfect timing for having the office renovations completed. Woohoo!

In the meantime, I've been working on the boring parts of the project, like zoning. And fun stuff, like construction plans for the hotel - which is, truly, super fun. Plus I have been able to really zero in on designing some solid business systems. Such as efficient ways to clean and maintain a well-functioning property. I know that sounds boring again, but have you ever spent the night in a hotel wishing you could find a warmer blanket or that your neighbors would pipe down? It's all in the details.

Okay, so now I'm bordering on being long winded. Without further ado... Here are some before and after photos of recent renovations to the office spaces.

Just months ago, this is what most of the office areas looked like. Depressing, right?

But now... Tada! Still lots of work to do, but it's coming!

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