Vacant buildings are money drains. The cost of upkeep can be substantial, especially if they remain vacant for years at a time. Selling them at cost might be impossible but tearing them down is simply a waste. However, a little investment can turn your idle building into a productive property once again.
A Different Kind of Office Space
If your idle property once housed offices, it might be time to house them again with a twist. Coworking spaces have had ups and downs in the past years, but most of the owned (instead of renting) ones fared significantly well. The US has more than 7,000 coworking spaces, but these numbers are insufficient to meet the demands of large companies and corporations. Building owners have the advantage of having sufficient space, allowing them to cater to companies that want to keep all their employees in a single location.
From Commercial to Residential
Transforming an office building into residential apartments has seen success in Baltimore. Under-performing buildings in Baltimore’s Central Business District (CBD) were converted to apartments and the endeavor proved itself profitable. Of course, converting an office building into residential apartments will require significant investments as well as government permits. However, you can declare that your building would cater to low-cost (section 8) housing to hasten the paperwork and ensure maximum occupancy. With the government shouldering 70 percent of rent costs, you can even dictate slightly higher rent costs.
Brewing Up a Storm
Old buildings are one of the more popular choices for housing breweries. All across the US, vacant buildings are being transformed into breweries and taprooms. Craft beer is booming in the US and more than 1,000 new breweries are opening each year. Breweries have taken a chunk of beer sales from established beer brands, taking close to 15 percent of the market. You can start a brewery of your own, partner up with one, or lease your building to an enterprising brewer. You’ll need to remodel the first floor if you want to incorporate a taproom. Otherwise, you’ll only need to make minor modifications to your existing building.
Growing crops inside a building might sound crazy, but the practice is quite feasible. You’ll have to choose crops that sell high and don’t require much tending. In Oklahoma, medical marijuana growers have started using vacant buildings to grow their crops. Medical marijuana is probably the best crop to grow, selling for almost twice the price of gold (per ounce). Of course, your state should have legalized the use of marijuana and you’ll need to have the necessary permits (and security) to grow it. Another cash crop you can grow is saffron. The spice is easy to grow, but you’ll need additional hands during harvest season. You can also grow “green” vegetables and cater to the more environmental generations. Don’t lose money by maintaining a non-performing property. Investing in your building can transform it into something more productive, getting you out of the red and back to earning the greens.