Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Arcade Decision

2600 here. Been awhile since I last updated everyone on my arcade business status. Well I finally made a decision and decided to go with some great advice that Andy (of TGA fame) has given me and purchased property that is zoned rural. What this means is that under the rural zoning, I am free to do a business out of the home. The location is also ideal being that the nearest neighbors are down the street rather then right next door (help with loud arcade noises). There were two key reasons that made me go with this decision.

The first reason had to do with the local laws and zoning. I had already gone through the lovely run around with a local city over zoning an arcade. The business development end happened to be excellent. They actually WANTED an arcade business in their downtown area to the point that they were willing to brainstorm with me how to legally open one up. The zoning for the building I was going to purchase happened to be retail (for more info. read my Zoning, Zoning, ZONING! post). The business developer helped me out by saying a place that "primarily" deals with retail (like selling arcade machines) would be fine. This includes having an "open night" once to twice a week. Very few cities will help you stretch the law like this. However, the whole idea got shot down when the high and mighty city planner said that I would not be able to re convert the upstairs offices of the building back into a residential apartment. This came as a real kick since I had already negotiated a price and was a signature away from going to contract on the building. After pleading with the city planner I was told the only way to convert the upstairs back to residential would be to install a sprinkler system on all 3 floors. This sprinkler system had to be a specially designed one in order to work with the tiny main water pipe running to the historical building. The historical society would also have been keeping a close eye on the whole ordeal due to the buildings historical status. Total estimated price of this special sprinkler system was around $20,000. Way out of my price range. Another year was spent searching for a new building with a residential space with nothing good popping up in the area.

The second reason was the simple fact that I needed a place to live. 2 years searching for a living/business place was enough for me. I decided to take Andy's advice and expand my search to include homes in rural areas. This turned up an ideal place in an ideal location. So where do I go from here?

Well the place I got has an ideal space for garage/store front. My next plan is to save up to build a garage/store front in this space. This allows time for me to build up my arcade collection and even begin restoring/customizing some arcade games. I can move at my own pace with no gun to my head which is great. I had already talked to the town and the told me that since a garage once stood in this space at the size I would like to build, then there will be no issue with getting a building permit. As simple as that.

The only downside is having an arcade business fully up and running by 2012 is highly unlikely. The cost is somewhat significant for building the garage/store front, but not as significant as the $20,000 sprinkler system. I will be saving up for this as well as working on some arcade projects on the side to go into my store. The location means I own the property so I can run the business I want and not have to worry too much about revenue. I will be able to provide an arcade experience with the gamer in mind.

Keep checking back as I will continue to update on my progress with both arcade projects and the store front.

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