Two months ago a real estate agent called me out of the blue. The owner of the bar's parking lot was ridiculously behind on her taxes as well as having other obligations and was finally ready to put the parking lot up for sale. The owner wanted to give us the first chance and buying it.
Since then, we've been working with the owner to purchase it. Today, escrow closed and the parking lot is now ours.
This is actually a very, very big deal for at least one very good reason.
If the bar ever burned down to the ground, we would be unable to rebuild
it on the current land. This is because of current building codes
requiring clearances between a building and the property line.
Currently, those clearances do not exist but we're "grandfathered" in.
If we had to rebuild from the ground up, we'd have to make the bar more
narrow and further back from the sidewalk and a bunch of other things
that aren't very awesome.
As a result of that possibility of looming disaster, our long term goals
have always included purchasing the lot and legally merging the two
properties into one. It may sound a little vulture-ish (and maybe it
is) but I was watching and waiting for the taxes to become so past due
that the lot was put up for a tax-lien auction. And that was going to
happen next year. But, not any more. The crappy vacant lot next door
is now ours. (Why do I keep buying dilapidated properties??? :) )
Now, with the acquisition of the parking lot, we can merge the
properties into one and avoid having that potential looming disaster
Don't expect too much to change with the parking lot in the short term.
We've priced getting it repaved and it runs from about $5,000 to put
what amounts to a Band-Aid on it and make it pretty to $17,000 and
$30,000+ to do it right. (Holy Crap!)
So, there it is. One of the "Big Things" we mentioned at the beginning of January.