Concerns About Older Buildings Answered by Brian Fielding

Dear Mr. F.

We are thinking of buying an older building on a great corner in our neighboring community. My partners worry that the property is “dated”  and not terribly attractive. Do you have any advice on this type of concern?

Bill and Mary G.


Dear Bill and Mary,

Congratulations on your new venture! We wish you all the success in the world.

Actually, I am pleased that you broached this topic. Few new investors are able to assess an investment property when it is [currently] unattractive. If you have been satisfied that the building is structurally sound and well positioned, you may only need to have an architect and/or interior designer help you determine if some paint and minimally invasive construction can turn your ugly duckling into an exciting “new offering”.

Wonderful examples of old industrial buildings converted into “Creative Space” abound in a number of communities [West Los Angeles first comes to mind, but there are examples in most any city] … investors recognizing the value of the bow truss structure allowing for open space soaring ceilings. While the highest end conversions have cost up to $100/ft., there are many more minor renovations that have led to incredible returns for the insightful investor. Similarly, we have seen structures come to life with nothing more than a stroke of bold colors and perhaps some inviting awnings.

If you have the eye and understand the costs … all the better. However, if there is any question, many professionals will be happy to make creative suggestions, hoping that your acquisition of the asset will lead to new future business for their firms.

Brian Fielding

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