Saturday, July 21, 2007


I can't believe I haven't mentioned our plans to renovate the building in any earlier blogs. I just did a quick review and it seems I've completely avoided the potentially biggest expense of our lives. When we bought 125 Franklin Street 2 years ago, we viewed it as a huge opportunity for future investment. It's around 9,000 sq. ft. of space--only a portion of which has ever been improved. We did this with the intent of renovating the unimproved portion of the building--mostly likely to accommodate some apartments. (Darren and I would have killed for downtown living when we were young and kid-less.)

We envisioned urban, loft-style apartments with great views (you can actually see the Cumberland River from the Legion Street side!). We thought, easy enough--add some walls, plumbing, electric and cable. How hard can it be? Well, let me tell you . . . it's hard!

First, you hire an architect. No, first, you try to figure out if there's any way to get around hiring an architect. Nothing against architects--in fact, after finding out how much they (potentially) earn, we're encouraging our budding sophomore daughter whom loves drawing and is decent in math to pursue this career path--but they're expensive. And the more more you talk--in the hopes of finding a less expensive route--the more expensive it becomes! So, get a loan to hire the architect.

Second, talk with some contractors. Here's a bit of a phenomena in Clarksville. Every licensed contractor in Clarksville has worked on each of the downtown buildings in one way, shape or form at some point in his career. For instance, every contractor we've talked to has done some work on the current Rock N Rocks building--every single one! So, we ask a few contractors to take a look at the architect's preliminary drawings and throw us an estimate. This is just to determine if we should even bother having the architect move onto more detailed drawings. Well, we have some estimates and let me tell you . . . it would be cheaper to build four houses that to renovate this building to accommodate four apartments!

Third and oh, by the way, Clarksville offers no incentives to owners of historic buildings or homes for renovations. Darren and I love this city--we hope to be here forever--but we are often discouraged by the lack of progressive action in the past. We are, however, quite encouraged by this administration--city and county. We are hopeful that in the near future Clarksville will offer incentives to those hoping to save and preserve the history of Clarksville.

Well, that's enough for this one. I'm gonna go play the lottery--powerball baby!

Thanks for your indulgence!


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