View Full Version : Great Building, Great Price, Bad Location

02-26-2007, 08:50 AM

Opinions requested.

There's a large warehouse for sale in downtown Harrisburg PA,

the structure is in great condition

the roof is in very good condition

the structure is very large ( 6,000 sq. ft total, three floors at 2,000 sq. ft ea. and there's a 500 sq. ft unfinished basement that's not included in the size estimate.)

the parking is somewhat decent ( about 50 cars I guess ? )

the price is *REALLY* low !!!!!!!!!!
I would be able to purchase the property free and clear !!!!!
The price is so low because...

it's in a "lower economic and ethnic area", but it's within 2 blocks of a "middle class" area.

On one hand, I get the perfect building I've been desperately searching for.

Will "well-behaved" customers be too scared to come ?
Will (as one haunter at Transworld said (no names please) "Only the "trouble-making" customers come ?)

So I'm walking this tightrope of "Quality of Location vs. Price"

Dare I be optimistic and think that I could actually improve the quality of location by having the business there ? Re-invest some of profits ( If they ever come in the first place ) back into the neighborhood ? Maybe pay a few grand and pay for a nice community playground or something ?

Comments *MORE* than welcome, please.

P.S. I dont want to lease or rent, I'm of the mindset that I want to purchase something for the long haul.

( Buying the *RIGHT* building is tough )
The Monster Maze: The Ultimate Amateur Haunted House

The Annual PA Gathering of Haunters

The Unofficial Abbott and Costello Meets the Monsters Home Page

The Nightmare Arcade: The Best FREE Halloween Games on the Web!

02-26-2007, 09:10 AM
If you've ever been to DreamReapers, it's kind of the same thing. Now, no offense to the DR guys, I fell in love with their haunt on Fri. night! But it seemed like we drove really out to the middle of nowhere to get their.

But once we got there, it was AMAZING! I guess it's all in the advertisig. The phrase "You have to yell it to sell it" comes to mind here. I think you'll do fine if you advertise the hell out of it!

Good luck, I hope everything works out for you! -Tyler

02-26-2007, 11:18 AM
There are just a couple of things you may think of doing before you take a shot at the property. 1st is make sure your local officials will "let" you do a haunted attraction in the building. 2nd, does it have a fire suppression system already installed. Good electrical is key too. The price may be too good to pass in the beginning, but in the long run if you find yourself installing $200,000 of fire, electrical, etc. before you even start designing the haunt, you could be on a tough road. Make sure you have good plans too. I design attractions, including complete sets of drawings. If you need help drop me a note.

Jim Warfield
02-26-2007, 12:12 PM
A building a block away from mine recently sold for $72,000.
It has 15,000 sq. feet, concrete and steel 1905 construction, new roof, big parking lot next to it, big basement with high ceiling.
It is now in the process of being made into an antique and car museum.
In 1910 it was a Ford dealership.
I thought about this building but where the money, time and ambition on my part would have come from, I couldn't figure?

02-26-2007, 06:05 PM
i like your thinking,thats what ive always done.i didnt believe in paying someone rent for something i dont get to keep.so i baught a home.after that was paid off we were shopping for a warehouse for the haunt and renting or leasing never even crossed our minds.in a haunt you build yourself so into a building that it just dosnt seem practical.you build yourself in,establish clients,then landlord says get out when lease is done.we baught a small warehouse that has room for expansion in an undeveloped area on a major hwy.thats why our price was right.mabie within a month of buying our building,the land next door sold and is going to be a school.but if i were you i would keep shopping because i wouldnt want to be at the warehouse at night in a bad neighborhood working alone.

Greg Chrise
02-26-2007, 07:40 PM
It's okay, everyone in Pennsylvania carries guns. I remember as a kid asking, the garage mechanics had guns, I was told they have money on them. The pharmacist was in the news about once every three months for shooting someone in the back on their way out.

Now I'm in Texas that has that holster carrying thing preconseption and I haven't seen any guns. I hear them but, haven't seen one.

What you are describing might work out but, it is a war zone. I would include in the estimate a truck or trailer to bring the tools home every night. Every night.

Greg Chrise
02-26-2007, 07:50 PM
I think too that the wrong side of the tracks might have more potential customers. On the supposedly good side there is a click society of parties to go to that are more important. On the wrong side it's been a while since we've been out anywhere, let's go!

While the event is open might take some security to make it "feel" secure, that people's cars are being watched by the right people and their travel between the event and car are being monitored. A great number will be oblivious to this locations reputation and in fact it might mean lots of press as you join others in revamping a part of the old town.

There is that code thing though. Lots of times things are left as it costs more than it is worth to upgrade it or it has been devalued as to how much it would cost to tear it out and build a new building. For a haunt though this is the perfect situatuation. You will always have taxes thouh and I would understand how much those are.

Ken Spriggs
02-27-2007, 09:59 AM
Um Tyler......Dream Reapers seems like it is in the middle of nowhere?

I guess we should have ran the buses through the traffic and the busy parts of town!!!

02-27-2007, 10:03 AM
I guess you could have called it... "Dream Reapers: The Dark Ride"... LOL! Awesome show guys! -Tyler

Frighteners Entertainment
02-27-2007, 10:44 AM
I think erickroy covered it, but you may also have parking issues.
You say 50 in the lot, how much curb space do you have?

I wish you luck, for we've been searching for such a building for both the Haunt and retail store.

02-27-2007, 10:51 AM
My haunt is located in a neighborhood with similar characteristics. 2006 was my first year in operation and it did not seem to have a detrimental effect on attendance. We only had one incident where security had to escort a group off property.

Duke of Darkness
02-27-2007, 12:05 PM
From you description, I would not be nearly a concerned with the location of the building as with its limitations. 50 cars is not very many for a seasonal attraction. If there is not spill over parking that can be used nearby, you will soon have a major problem.

Be aware going in that there are some unique problems with a multi-story haunt, and you will want to take those into consideration before you sign on.
You are going to have to deal with issues like limited handicap access, difficult evacuation procedures, and the logistics of moving both guests and staff from one floor to another. I am not saying that it can't be done, it has been, and done well, simply that there are a lot of factors to take into account.


02-27-2007, 05:27 PM
It sounds like a good deal, but you just might have a few(or several problems) involved. The multi story part could go both ways.

You really do want to try to find more "sill-over" parking somewhere really close by. For a first year haunt, thinking 50 cars at any given time sounds like good money for you, but if you are a really good haunt, you will more than likely outgrow your parking area. That's exactly what happened to me last year-thankfully we were on a country road, and cars parked along the road. If your on a fairly busy road, then thats a deffinate no-no.

Jim Warfield
02-27-2007, 05:35 PM
If the building has a flat roof you could encourage bicycle parking up there, helped of course by a winch with a monster-looking grabber claw on it, putting on another show for the customers as they wait out front.
The monster claw would be red and drippy with a scattering of old bones on the ground where lift off is located.

James Lurgio
03-01-2007, 10:24 AM
I don't know what kind of research you've done on your location regarding it's parking limitations vs. how many people you need throughput a night and how long it will take to get them through but these are things to think about if 50 cars is all you have room for. I've been doing haunts for since '91 and I've had all kinds. For profit, for fun and in many different kinds of locations. 7 different locations and some of them were great like in a 60 room mansion on an avenue that's nicknamed "Mansion row" and on the other side of the spectrum I've had events in rather bad areas. I would have to ask yourself what kind of attraction you plan to have? Trust me, I'm an optomist and this isn't a time to be optomistic. You need to know that bad neighborhoods attract an element that tend to destroy scenery and wreak havok and violence on the actors. How many times to do you want to repair sets and send cards to your actors in the hospital because they've been punched in the face OR WORSE by some little punk. No matter what kind of admission you charge, they still pay and they still will make you nervous and drive fearfull suberbians away in droves. Also, keep in mind that you probably won't make money the first year and maybe not even the second. So really take a look at the neighborhood and really analyze your dynamic. It may pay to wait for a better building in a more central location with more parking. Go with your realistic gut. Good luck!

James Lurgio
Nightmare Productions

Jim Warfield
03-01-2007, 10:39 AM
Aggressive groups of people from 50 miles away can also end up in confrontations in very rural settings, as told to me. All the local county mounties had to be called to stop the BS.
These two groups just didn't like each other at all, and they all had driven away from home, only to meet up again, in the country.
You just never know?

damon carson
03-01-2007, 01:18 PM
Sounds like it would be worth getting. Parking may not be the greatest but is there other lots or street parking available? Most of the haunted houses I've been to in Kansas City people say oh thats a bad side of town or there in a rough part of K.C. But I've never experienced anything bad attending the Beast or Edge of Hell. They have paid police officers on hand. So you might have to go that route. If it keeps down on the riff raff.

Greg Chrise
03-01-2007, 05:37 PM
I have no idea if it was prompted by some bad experience or not but one I went to that sees 20,000 to 30,000 have the walk thru and hand held metal detection equipment just like you are going into the court house. This was done by police and if you had some item to declare it was put in the trunk of their car with your driver's license to reclaim it.

The trunk was kind of full of stuff and weighted down. My what big knives other people are carrying to look cool.