Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ridgewood Theatre price almost a bargain now

From Lost City:

The price on the 92-year-old Ridgewood Theatre is going down.

You can now have it for only $9.5 million. Guess old Vaudeville houses in out-of-the-way nabes aren't as hot as they once were.

It was originally listed for $14M.


KG2V said...

Got to play devil's advocate this AM, and look at this from a businessmans persepective (which I'm not - I was for 18 months, but..)

Those places my be beautiful to LOOK at, but man, as a business person, I wouldn't touch it with a 10 ft pole.

You have to figure on 3 major problems

1)Asbestos - you can be sure things like the steam pipe wraps, accoustic tiles and the like are all asbestos based, and YOU will now have the "cradle to grave" responsability for it

2)Lead Paint - common in higher quality paint into the 60-70s. Yes, I said higher quality - in fact, the better the paint, the more lead

3)People like us! (yeah I know). We want landmarks, old buildings kept up and the like. Unfortunately, from a business perspective, it costs money. If I was a commercial real estate buyer, I'd do a web search on a building before I bought if. If anyone said "this building should be preserved", I would have to figure in those costs in my profit/loss equation. Not that it's not the right thing to do (preserve the building), but you have to figure in the added expenses of doing it, and the costs of say, not being able to re-arrange things.

A for instance - today, even a 25-30 year old building has problems - wiring. ASlmost no building back then was wired for the kind of electrical and of course, computer wiring a modern business demands. You're old secretaty's office had an outlet for a desk lamp, maybe a radio, and depending on the age, one for one of those "new fangled" electric typewriters. Your telephone, even if it was a 5 line, used a big 25 pair cable, with a huge power supply in the basement

Today, your phone is likely to be a 4 pair twisted pair doing VOIP to the switch in the closet, you'll need a (small) server room with cooling, YOUR desk (secretaries are rare) is going to need at least one LAN drop (your office should probably have 2 drops on each wall, even if they are not active) and you have to figure on plugs for the computer, 1-2 monitors, your shreader, your radio/iPod charger, a place to plug in your laptop, etc etc etc (and when the building inspector comes along, he's not going to want to see power strips)

Now don't forget, if you do a major renovation like that, you will have to make your building ADA compliant

Some of these reasons are why rents in building like The Empire State Building (which you would thing would have high rents), don't

Just trying to point out the economics of what happens when a building starts to get old, and worse, starts to get looked at by people as something worth Preserving. It lowers the value of the building as COMMERCIAL space (now as HUMAN space, we are talking a totally different animal)

Anonymous said...

I was on Myrtle Avenue yesterday. Clearly, the commercial strip is in trouble. I haven't seen so many vacant stores in years.

Ridgewoodian said...

Not really an "out-of-the-way nabe." It's just a couple of blocks from the Myrtle/Wyckoff "Transit Hub," a bunch of bus lines, and smack in the middle of a business district - albeit one that HAS seen better days.

If I were rich I'd buy it, restore it (it was a terrible theatre before it closed), and run Lawrence of Arabia on a continuous loop. I hope someone will consider doing the same (perhaps minus the David Lean epic), but I fear it'll end up either permanently vacant or put to some crapulous use. With all the hipsters moving into Ridgewood can't we support a movie theatre?

Anonymous said...

I suggest that Mr. Perlman and his fellow "preservationists" come up with something more productive
that collecting on line petition signatures.

The LPC couldn't give a flying f--k about this theater!

More wheel spinning and repeat failures don't contribute to this group's poor success record
(i.e. the Trylon Theater)!