Friday, October 27, 2017

Building Update #6 - Very Close

Funds Raised - $1,622,500     Days Remaining - 4

Hello All,

Are you getting nervous?  I am, sort of.  We're very damn close to making it.  Remember, I'm aiming for $1,900,000 to allow $100,000 for closing costs, build out and repairs. We can close the deal at $1.8 million.  Which is $177,500 from where we are now.

I'm talking to a couple of people who might be able to do some bigger loans but I'm not going to hear from them 'till tomorrow.  Well, 'til Friday, which is technically today.  If I don't hear from them then, we might be able to come to an agreement on Saturday or Sunday but the funds can't move until Monday, when we have two days left.  That'll make for a nervous weekend, eh?

But, here's the thing -- even if we don't pull it off this time, there'll be another building, and we've proven that we can raise over one and a half million dollars in less than three weeks.

One.  And.  A.  Half.  Million.  Dollars.

That's a hell of an accomplishment and it'll serve us well if we have to do this again.

But I'm hoping we don't need to do this again.  Honestly, I feel optimistic.  We've done so much in the past week and we've got a whole weekend and two days ahead of us. Plus, I've still got a few tricks up my sleeves.  Something that both my former profession and 20 years in this business has taught me is to have a back-up plan . . . and a back-up for that . . . and a back-up for the second back-up.  Right now, we're still working on the primary plan, which is the one with the best overall outcome.  But it's not the only plan.

Anyway, enough about that.  Last word is this -- if you're on the fence, now's the time to decide if you want to make a loan.  And, if you've talked with me about a loan and haven't finished off the deal, get in touch and let's get finished -- I'm totally fine with, "We thought about it and we decided that it's not a good idea" but, not knowing where we stand is kind of hard.

Inspections and So Forth
I really want to go into great detail about my conversations with Diarmuid and Jon yesterday.  But, the product of those conversations is going to figure prominently in the discussion that Dan, our realtor, and I are going to have with the seller.  I don't want to be disingenuous with you all but, at the same time, these notes go out to over 600 people _and_ they get posted on-line at the blog.  I'd be very sad (not to mention feeling like a frickin' idiot) if something I said here came back around to bite me in the ass.

So, for now, I'm not going to say anything.  I'll give you a bunch of info after the discussion is over but for now I'm only going to say this -- if you are one of our lenders and you want detailed information before I send it out, drop me a line and we'll chat.  Beyond that, my lips is zipped.

I've been very wrapped up in focusing on the critical parts of this process and I've deliberately avoided spending too much time thinking about all the cool stuff that we can do if the deal goes through.  But, I'd like to throw out a couple of the things that have crossed my mind over the past month.

Garden -- The back yard is really lovely and very grotto-y.  I talked with a sponsor who is a landscaper and gardener about some of the possibilities.  What got both of us excited was the idea of planning a garden that is meant to last for 50 years or more.  We could choose plants that matured rapidly, so it would look nice quickly, while also planting things that would mature over time and gradually take over from the faster-growing plants.  There could be beds that were planned to be removed as other plants encroached into their space.  And, we could start with potted plants that would be removed and taken to other homes (sponsors homes, perhaps).


We could eventually make that entire area an extension of the bookstore space.  It's not very expensive to build a non-residential, single story structure (especially when, despite being a bookseller, you know how to do framing and can read a set of plans).  That would gain us enough space that the new store would be even bigger than the old one.  But, I'm not suggesting we give up on the garden idea.  What if we gave the addition a "green roof" (more expensive to build but what a cool idea) and put in an interior staircase?  Or just built a roof deck with some big planters and potted plants?

The Front Entry -- Looking at the entrance to the store, it seems an obvious case of 1950-1970s "improvements".  Both the outer and inner transom windows are gone (that's the window above a door or doorway).  I really doubt that there was originally brickwork under the display windows.  And the door is no great shakes and not original (nor is the hardware on it).

I'll bet that we can find some pictures of what the front originally looked like.  We might even be able to find the original plans (not a great chance of that because: 1906). Wouldn't it be wonderful to restore the front to its original look and details?

The Shelves -- When I designed and built the current shelves at the store, I had just moved and I designed them to be modular and moveable.  But for our new home?  Not a chance.  It's going to be built-ins all the way.  No gaps between the shelves and no staggered heights to match the bowing of the floor. And they've got to be floor to ceiling . . . with a rolling library ladder or two.  In fact, the shelves will cover so much of the walls that I'm thinking that it wouldn't be too hard to panel any wall surface that is left.  I've always wanted to panel a room.

The Backyard -- aside from the garden plans, the backyard can be a nice, useful space.  I'm thinking outdoor furniture, a roller awning for rainy days, and some gas heaters for the winter (and summer).  A couple of inexpensive barbecues and we could have monthly Sunday sponsor BBQs when the weather permits.

That's just the start of the ideas I'll come up with.  Unlike the entire past history of Borderlands, it'll be worth making this place the best possible building that it could be and the best possible place for a bookstore.  And none of it would be wasted effort because it's ours!


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