Friday, July 29, 2011

Repurposing, Upsides, Etc.

In an earlier "vlog" post I talked about repurposing properties. You know, the former melting pot/cheese fondue restaurant converted to a bank branch; and the proposal to convert a former Wonder Bread factory into shared artists' performance space.

Of course, recently that latter project fell apart and the owners are looking for a new buyer/new use.

The moxt bizarre, at least to my twisted sense of humor, was the former Kentucky Fried Chicken store that was converted to the headquarters of the Ohio Cremation and Memorial Society. Somehow my brain keeps flipping back and forth between images of pieces of bird deep frying in the Colonel's seven herbs and spices mix, and someone's auntie heading into the fire. Like I said, I have a twisted sense of humor.

The reality is that markets keep changing. Fads come and go. Wants and needs keep fluctuating. Creative financial engineering is the watchword. The savvy owner, and forward thinking investor, will understand re-purposing a property, which makes a lot of sense during times when it is tougher to get tenants into a space, or if the previous or current use is not necessarily the highest and best use.

Truly, we're not even talking highest and best. If you can't convince investors to buy an investment property or piece of ground, perhaps another use will be more attractive to the buyer pool.

So you ask yourself, what else can the property be used for? Here are a few examples:

-- The recreational property (there are a TON on the market right now) converted to golf course.
-- The apartment building converted to timeshare units, or condominiums.
-- Did you know that an apartment complex converted to residential units for the mentally disabled have other fringe benefits? In the State of Ohio, the state pays owners several thousands of dollars per month per unit if that space is designated for the mentally handicapped.
-- Here's another. Take a farm, sell it by the acre. And you have "no money down" house lots.
-- What if you have a corner lot? If you purchase the lots next to that corner lot, now you have a far larger footprint of land for commercial development.
-- Say you have a small commercial building next to a vacant piece of ground owned by second party. Have your real estate investment specialist work with you and the neighboring owner to to create an assemblage of the two parcels. Market them together. The larger footprint might attract a fast food outlet, or some other higher profile user.
-- Closed automobile dealerships are being converted to doctor's offices. Today's modern medical practice is all about volume, volume, volume. And with volume, what do you need most? Parking. Nothing better than a former car lot to provide adequate space for a physician's practice in the day and age of increasing government oversight and need to speed far more patients through the process.
-- Last but not least, the former restaurant converted to veterinary practice.

The main point, I hope, is obvious. Out-of-the-box thinking is what moves properties. And increases revenue opportunities for owners and investors, alike.

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