Page 4 of 4
The second story looks in better shape, with open spaces and large windows and knotty wood beams. Certain parts of the building look as though they were once remodeled with care. There are several glassed-in offices and rooms of various sizes throughout the structure.
"Up here you can get a feel for the industrial condo [possibilities]," Keeney says.
There's still the basement to see, though. Keeney points his flashlight toward the bottom of the stairs, and the beam reflects back up the dark stairwell. Water. The basement is flooded.
"You'd have to pump all the water out," he says. "I have no idea what the cost of that would be."
Keeney walks out of the building and back to his Focus. On the return trip to the office, he says the land bank is more than just a collection of dumpy buildings, more than a burden on the city. The decent properties, he says, are opportunities for people — especially young people — who want to own something.
"If you're paying rent and you have steady employment, and have a couple thousand dollars in savings, you might have an opportunity to very soon be living rent-free," he says. His voice is more upbeat than you'd expect of someone who has seen human feces smeared on abandoned walls today.
"If you can just manage to put as little as $10,000 into some of these properties, and a lot of sweat equity, you might be living without paying rent within a couple of years."