I just spent some time on Zillow.com, browsing for-sale listings in the neighborhood I want to move to. Wasn't finding much, so I broadened my search terms. This may have been a mistake. Because now I'm in the grip of a no-good, horrible, stupid, foolishly bad idea. And when I say "in the grip of" I mean it; I cannot let go of this bad idea.
According to city records, 3401 Winnebago Street in St. Louis looks to have been family-owned meat market, then a neighborhood convenience store, with a two-bedroom owners' apartment above it. The total square footage is huge, over 5500 square feet. It's been listed for almost three months, with an asking price of under $40k. The Google Maps photos are about a year old, and show no problems with the exterior other than a couple of windows that want to be replaced.
Here's my problem. Part of me has long wanted to own a building like this, convert the downstairs into a great room designed as a combination living room, library, and office, and hang up a shingle that says (or, in this neighborhood, more likely paint the door and windows to say) "Hicks & Associates. Secret History & Forbidden Lore. Hours by Appointment Only." Not to do any actual business out of, unless you count writing that book on secret history and forbidden lore that I've been trying to write for a decade now. Just to live in, and to look like a weird, vaguely scary sounding esoteric business, just to make St. Louis a little weirder. And if I did? Who knows? Maybe some day somebody who really needed an expert on secret history and forbidden lore might come to the door ...
$30 or $35k plus whatever it would cost to make it habitable is more than I wanted to spend, if maybe not more than I could afford. Utilities on 5.5k sq ft of space wouldn't be cheap. Those giant glass windows are vandal bait. This is a really, really, really bad idea. But it's a bad idea that will not let me go. I wonder what the inside looks like?