Chapter 163

The rest of the week went by like a rocket; there were that many things going on. Tuesday and Wednesday finished out all the exams. Then there was graduation rehearsal, the dinners, and all the works. Graduation was at noon on Saturday. It was something to think about that nine of the graduating class either lived with me or worked for the JBG.

All my mate’s moms, dads, brothers and sisters were everywhere. I felt like a pig from all the fancy dinners I had to attend. So much so that almost every night I was over to the gym afterwards working out with the men’s fitness group, just so I could stay in my clothes. I even went to graduation for Janice and Lisa of the North gang.

I had intended for them to go to college but I was surprised that they both won partial scholarships to AACC, thanks to the class taught by Lisa Coles. It may have helped that Jason worked on several scholarship groups for worthy students. It also helped that their grades went from C and D to A+ with the help of Lisa’s class. I was sure that I could convince Midwest Bank and MAAR to pick up the rest of the cost.

Avoiding any sexual improprieties was a challenge. There were people everywhere. The six lower guest rooms were occupied as was the four over the garage, and then there was the overflow at the Holiday East and motel Hilton.

Also, there were all the tanning sessions for all the moms and sisters. The sisters were another thing by themselves. They were all teenagers and after several visits with Wendy they were all ready to be amateur nudists.

They were doing their best to show all the skin they could and not get caught. I watched more than one pair of panties being slipped off and stashed in the bottom of a purse and then there were all the extra empty cans of shaving cream in the trash.

Then there were the accidental spread leg peeks and a wink when they could get away with it or an accidental squat with wide legs to pick up a dropped object. It was easy to tell that the tanning sessions were completely nude after the first couple of days. I just smiled, shook my head and avoided staring as much as possible.

The commercial building inspector spent most of Thursday looking through every nook and cranny over at the closed shopping center that was going to be auctioned off by the bank on Friday at noon. He was going to be at our meeting tonight with a complete report. Jeanna was going to sit in since Midwest would do the financing if we bought it.

Bob’s Construction had made several inspections of the Horsey property we had bought and was also going to have a plan to present after the commercial guy gave his. Bob had also made a trip through the shopping center and had an estimate for us based on the joint observations with the commercial guy.

The meeting started off with the report from the inspector. Several of the potential lease spaces would need new floor tile put down – they were worn out – including the largest one; the old Acme store. The roof had been replaced 5 years ago on the entire shopping center by a contractor that specialized in commercial buildings.

The roof had held up well and was in perfect shape. All the block walls showed no signs of stress cracks. Four of the rental spaces would need new heat pumps. When a site closed they were robbed of parts to keep the rented units going for little cost.

Almost all of the spots would need new doors and closers. The stuff was just plain worn out. Replacing them with quality new components would make them good for several years.

The biggest and worst expense was going to be the parking lot. Almost a third of it would need to be blacktopped, and the rest seal-coated and relined and the handicapped spaces redone to the new size requirement.

Bob’s estimate for complete repairs, including new exterior paint, was a million dollars; over half was in the parking lot.

Bob then went into the Horsey property. We had two ways to go. Make it into office space we could use or rent out. The second one was make it into our own little motel. Gut all the bathrooms and the kitchen. Replace all the bathroom fixtures with new. Set the kitchen up like a modern hotel centennial breakfast nook. Then add a bathroom in each of the four large rooms downstairs. That would give us eight motel style rooms.

It would only need four bathrooms to make it office space to rent it out, but when finished there would be just 4 rental spaces.

To add parking to the gym, his plan was to remove a portion of the fence area between the two properties. Hog out 6 inches of topsoil and replace that with recycled concrete, roll the hell out of it with a 10 ton roller, then put down 2 inches of millings and roll that.

The finishing touch would be several layers of a special seal coating, then in a few days stripe the parking spaces. The special seal coating on millings that had been rolled tight would look as good and last almost as long as new blacktop, but at one tenth the price.

The county was going to require an environmental runoff collection pond. There would be a 2 inch slope towards the pond. The parking area would run the length of our existing building. With one row next to the building and a double row of parking we would gain over 100 badly needed parking spots. The only question was, do we cover it for bad weather?

Jason recommended turning the permitting process for the parking lot over to a legal specialist he knew in the county. He was sure that would cut months off the process.

After they both left we began the battle over how much to bid for the shopping center. The center was 4 acres under roof – over 170000 sq feet – and another 3 acres of parking.

Jeanna’s research showed the 7 acres of land was worth 7 million on that side of the road. Closed shopping centers were on market on the east coast for 5 dollars a sq. foot, making the building worth about $850000.00 for a total of 7.85 million. Her research showed that because of the location it could go as high as 15 million.

Marcy began with the numbers crunch as she always did, “At 7.85 million plus the 1.5 million in repairs to total 9.3 million the investment would be $55.00 a square foot. At 15 million the investment would be $88.23 a foot.
If we could rent every foot at $5.00 the monthly return would be $850 thousand but that is nearly impossible. A safer bet would be 50 percent occupancy and a target of that happening in 18 months. That would bring in $425,000.00 an month or 5.1 million a year,” she said.

“At $5.00 I think we could rent it all. Easton rates are $7, Chestertown $7, Salisbury $9.50, Ocean City $12.50 and Annapolis $14 to 17 depending on location,” Marcy said. “Payments on a 15 year loan would be $64,922.00 a month or $780,000.00 a year on the 9.5 number. On 15 million the payments would be $102,508.00 or $1,230,000.00 a year.

Jason joined the discussion “There is one other possibility that I hope no one else has thought of. The county has a ban on big box stores that was put into effect four years ago for new construction. An existing structure such as that one could not be built in the county any more. The cut off is 40,000 feet and the buildings have to be separated by 10 feet. There is only a fire wall separating the stores in this building.”

“You might easily be able lease the whole thing for a super Walmart, or a Lowes, BJ’s or a Home Depot and they could skirt the planning and zoning rules because it is grandfathered. Walmart and Lowes have been trying to come into the county for years only to be denied because of the store size they want,” Jason said. “You may have to come down to $3.00 or less to make that happen but on a long term lease it would still be a big money maker. I know the attorney that handled the Walmart applications.”

That ended the meeting for the night. Marcy, Jason and I would go to the auction and Jason would do the bidding if I chickened out when we got there.

Edit by Alfmeister

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