October 21, 2017

News About Haight Street #1

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick update on how the process of buying the building on Haight Street is going.

Fundraising is going alright.  We've secured $825,000 in loans so far and there are several more in progress.  On the other hand, we have 11 days left to raise the remaining $1,075,000 that we need.  So, I'm hopeful, but it's still touch and go.  If you've been thinking about offering a loan, now would be a good time to get in touch with me at abeatts@borderlands-books.com.

Our inspections are scheduled for this Monday and that will give me a good idea exactly what condition the building is in and what sort of repairs we might need to do once the deal goes through.  To my experienced but layman's eye, the building seems quite solid, but I'm not an expert (which is why I'm hiring some).

We've started a company separate from the bookstore to own and operate the building.  Thanks to a very fine (and fast) lawyer, we got the D. D. Harriman Limited Liability Company up and running in less than three days.  Even if the deal doesn't go through, that company will be useful when we do manage to buy a building.

We've been in the news a couple of times since this started.  Mission Local did a nice piece - https://missionlocal.org/2017/10/saved-by-sponsorships-borderlands-books-now-aims-to-buy-a-building/ - as did Hoodline - http://hoodline.com/2017/10/borderlands-books-moves-to-buy-recycled-records-building.  The Hoodline article has a lovely picture of our shop and a picture of Recycled Records as well.  If you're interested in seeing some other pics, you can check out http://borderlands-sponsors.blogspot.com/p/building-pictures.html.

A question that has come up a lot in the past week is, once we get the building, when are we going to move.  There are two answers to that question -- really soon, and not for a couple of years.  The rent on the retail space in the building in the current market is more than we pay at our current location. Since we have three years to go on our Valencia Street lease, I would love to rent out the space on Haight Street for a couple of years.  It would improve our cash flow.  It would also give me time to do repairs and make a really thorough moving plan.  It's also possible that a tenant would chose to make some of the repairs that we would need to do otherwise (like painting).

I'm also thinking it might be a great chance for a new business to test out the waters without a big financial risk.  I could offer them a short, one-year lease with an option to extend for one year.  If their idea works, they can move to a more permanent location and, if it doesn't work out, they won't be stuck with a big financial obligation.  I remember when I first opened how much I worried that, if the business didn't work, I would be in serious financial trouble because I was obligated to pay rent for the whole three years of the lease.  A short-term rental could be good for both us and the tenant.  And, since there is no rent control (or, really, any tenants rights to speak of) on commercial property, when the lease is up, they'll have to move.  If any of you are thinking about opening a retail business or if you have friends who are considering it, please get in touch.  I'd be happy to start a conversation about it, even before we take possession of the place (I just wouldn't want to sign any leases 'til I actually own the joint).

But, we can't afford to have the Haight Street space vacant while we still pay rent on Valencia St.  Which is what brings us to the "really soon" option.  If I can't find a tenant quickly, we'll need to get moved ASAP.  In that case, I'm in for quite a couple of months doing the construction work and we'll be aiming to move in January.  I'd do it sooner but there's no sense in moving during the holidays.

And that's about all the news I have for now.  It's been a hell of a week, in the best way possible.  It's kind of hard to believe that this all really started seven days ago.  Thanks to  all of you for the good wishes that you've sent.  It means a great deal to me.

All Best,

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