I was hidden away over the Christmas holiday with my family when I received a call from a good friend, our Community Realtor, Jania Daniels, of ABC with D, a community development company based in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. I met Jania just 3 years earlier when I joined a real estate investment group on Facebook. I must have posted something because I received a friendly message from her asking if I would like to take a look at some properties and, if I did, that she would be happy to show me around. What Jania didn't know is that I had loads of plans for various types of properties. I guess you could call me a wellspring of ideas. I would write down my ideas in great detail and pack them away for the right opportunity.
It was 2018.
Well, it seemed that this was an opportunity! We met, shared a little chit-chat and went out to see what the Mt. Airy/ Germantown MLS would bring us! There was a multi-use commercial property right at the top of my block, another around the corner and Seymour... oh, Seymour.
I fell in love with this hidden, dilapidated gem in Germantown! It was directly across the street from a school, one block off Wayne Avenue and in an up and coming area. It boasted 3 floors and multiple residential &. commercial spaces.
After walking through the building, I would stop by and sit outside, looking at her and dreaming of what amazing things I could create there. Yes, I was a stalker... of a building. #imSpecial LOL
Jania recently told me that she didn't think that I could want something as much as I wanted "Seymour."
Boy, Was She Wrong!
Christmas of 2020
Back in the Poconos, I sat up in my comfy Poconos retreat bed, ears perked up, working hard to keep my heart open when she said, "There's a building on the market and the owners said they would love to sell to an arts organization for the community. We have to see this when you get back! It used to be a print shop and accounting office and the daughter is now using the second floor as her artist studios!" I almost drove back to Philadelphia early just to see it; COVID real estate moves FAST!
I was stoked when we pulled up to the building. Somehow in all of my ripping and running up Germantown Avenue, I had never noticed this gem perched in between the Sunoco gas station and Safeguard Storage. When I walked into the commercial space on the first floor, I fell in love! The property was charming, with woodwork and high ceilings.
I had, just 2 years prior, written a full business plan for a 3-story building complete with:
I Went for It!
I gave the seller's agent a packet complete with a letter to the seller, our Artist Bank 1-Pager and Custom Arts Studio's business card. Jania, forever a resource, connected me with PIDC for funding possibilities. I prepared the Slide Deck above and walked through the project scope, our business focus and vision for the property with them days later.
I prayed, I let myself get excited and we put in an offer... I waited. I followed my gut and... it paid off!
6228 Germantown Avenue is now under contract with Custom Arts Studio and we are on a roll! The renovation will definitely be the largest expense. As the building was formerly the property of the Swain family, it has not been managed since the property was moved into Mrs. Swain's estate. There is a lot of work to be completed to sure up the exterior, and renovate the interior. Did I mention that it was once a Print Shop and Accounting office or that it was last purchased the year I was born?!
I am excited, overwhelmed and overjoyed. I guess this what happens when preparation meets opportunity! Are you interested is supporting this community arts space? We have set up a GoFundMe profile and would greatly appreciate your support! Our goal is to create a hub of creativity, well paying jobs, internships and commerce in the community!
Know a great resource for a community arts space? Contact me today!
BEHIND THE BRUSH