June 25, 2014

Occupy Madison soldiers on in its project of building a village of "tiny houses" for the homeless.

Isthmus reports on the group's acquisition of an old auto shop as its site and the "unwelcome surprises" of discovering an oil disposal tank buried there and "toxic mold in the leaking roof." Were these really surprises found after the purchase? Wouldn't anyone expect an oil disposal tank on the premises of a 30-year-old auto repair shop?
All of the repairs and renovations are likely to cost around $100,000. A new roof and renovated bathrooms will likely be the biggest ticket items.

"We implore you to stress that we need money," joked Allen Barkoff. "I think a lot of people assume that because we now own property, money isn't an issue."
What did they pay for this place? Here's the article on the purchase of the property. They paid $110,000, with a loan, and one member said:
"There's a couple days of scrub-down before we move anything there.... It's grimy. It's been an auto repair shop for the past 30 years."
What's in the "grime" of 30 years of auto repairs, is it really something you can just "scrub down," and why is this a good environment for homeless people?

Back at the first link, we see that the group is refraining from asking for volunteers to help with the clean up because "the mold and other things... could be hazardous to people." How are amateurs supposed to make a site like that habitable? Are the repairs and renovations really only around $100,000? Do they have insurance to cover the harms that might beset those who work there?

I was going to say that it's interesting to see this well-meaning group needing to face the kind of reality actual businesses face, but the article ends with one board member saying:  "The work we have to do is not that overwhelming... There's some fund raising challenges ahead."

94 comments:

gerry said...

Amateurs.

rhhardin said...

Why not repair autos for the homeless?

CatherineM said...

They don't get what it's like to be a business owner at all. It doesn't seem like they understand the responsibilities when purchasing a home. They didn't get an inspection? Now, because they screwed up, they need more people to cover their bill?

They learned nothing.

Moose said...

Reality is the enemy of the progressive mind. Harshes their buzz...

Scott M said...

How are amateurs supposed to make a site like that habitable?

The easiest answer is that it ain't easy. Someone knows someone that's a contractor that knows someone that knows how to do it properly. My father-in-law has been a kitchen and bath guy for 30 years; one of the most talented craftsmen and all-around handy guy that I know. Even he had to bring in someone that knew how to safely remove mold and such when they bought a fire/water-damaged house that had been boarded up for years.

Michael K said...

Now that they are property owners, they must be part of the 1%.

Tank said...

Future Superfund site.

Paco Wové said...

This one's easy, lick of paint, lick of paint, one hour –
... two and a half hours is plenty of time. Give us a biscuit.

Paco Wové said...

"Now that they are property owners, they must be part of the 1%."

I wonder if they've received their complementary top hats and monocles yet.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Think it's bad after 30 years as an auto shop? Just wait until the occupy people have been there a few months.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

. . . this well-meaning group

Maybe they can make some money paving the road to hell.

madAsHell said...

Tiny houses for the homeless?

My experience/observation is that the homeless have profound mental illness, and/or drug abuse issues. I'll guess this has been overlooked.

In the best possible scenario, this will become another hole into which we bury tax dollars.

Mark said...

"The work we have to do is not that overwhelming... There's some fund raising challenges ahead."

To the socialist, every problem boils down to finding enough Other People's Money. All else is errata better left to lesser minds.

lemondog said...

Admirable intentions but......

EPA.

Any leaking from tank?

Underground water contamination?

Need pros to evaluate conditions, remove tank and conduct any soil reclamation.

TreeJoe said...

Why is their immediate reaction that they need to fundraise to fix it? Wouldn't the first and most appropriate step to be to find volunteers with the necessary skills?

And for the $110k they bought this place for, there wasn't a single better place available? How many homeless is this likely $250k expense going to house? Is it just going to become another homeless shelter? If it's a home for the homeless, and we are spending $250k a pop, why not just buy a traditional home?

Questions I'd like to see the Isthmus getting answers to...

khesanh0802 said...

"Stupid is as stupid does." : that famous philosopher Forrest Gump.

Heyooyeh said...

Wow. The snark here is pretty crazy. They're trying to help the homeless via private action--something of which I would think Ronald Reagan and Jesus would approve...

Bobber Fleck said...

Mistakes were made. Their intentions are noble. They have a new plan now which will surely deliver positive results which are only possible if everyone contributes more money.

They really, really, really now know what they are doing and your next donation will be the one that makes a difference.

So they made a few mistakes. What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?

TreeJoe said...

Ok, I just read the entire article in more detail. I don't understand why a roof and a few renovated bathrooms and oil tank removal are going to cost $100k. This isn't a big place and with decent volunteers that's probably $20k worth of work.

However, this really blew my mind, "Once it can move its tiny house workshop from rented space near Cottage Grove Road, the group will be able to save money. Occupy's mortgage is $550 a month, while rent at the workshop is $750."

You think owning that site is going to somehow save you $200 a month compared to the rental? Are you kidding me?

And you are "saving money" by moving to a property needing thousands and thousands of dollars worth of work by reducing a monthly payment by $200 - though I presume that monthly payment doesn't include homeowners insurance and possibly not taxes.

Yikes, just yikes.

Carol said...

LOL. They just bought the environmental problems that run with the land. Well done. There are properties that have sat here for decades because of the likely soil pollution. No one with any sense will touch them

Michael said...

Tough shit. Any idiot knows that the remediation of former gas stations is expensive. Surely their Environmental Report which they commissioned prior to the acquisition indicated the presence of toxic materials in the ground soil. If so the experts will pay out of their insurance.

Oh, they didnt think to get an Environmental Report? Well the lefties niteits are going to have to live with another one of their millions and millions of regulations designed to make everybody safe from everything.

Hilarious. Much deserved.

Tibore said...

On the one hand, at least an Occupy group is getting off its collective ass to actually do something rather than take up space in a street and call it "protest".

On the other, this underlines their basic naivety in that they either didn't get a proper inspection done, or they got one from an incompetent. Either way, they've demonstrated that they're collectively not up to dealing with the real world.

paminwi said...

These people had to have known there was an oil tank on site. Realtors have to disclose these kinds of things before a contract is signed. If it wasn't these "occupy" folks would have a lawsuit on their hands.

I think they are not telling the truth in regards to the oil tank. If the building is that old don't you think there are probably asbestos issues, too?



tim maguire said...

You're right, they shouldn't have been surprised by any of this.

Too bad--this strikes me as a worthwhile project and it would be a shame if it fell apart, wasting a lot of philanthropic dollars, because there wasn't a single person on the board with common sense, let alone business experience.

Ralph Hyatt said...

A building that was used as an auto repair shop is likely to have some asbestos dust from changing brake pads.

madisonfella said...

why is this a good environment for homeless people?

Because it is the only place YOUR city will allow them to be. Are you going to anything to help the homeless or simply continue to mock those who do?

Jason said...

I'd start a repair shop and use that to raise money.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ok, I just read the entire article in more detail. I don't understand why a roof and a few renovated bathrooms and oil tank removal are going to cost $100k. This isn't a big place and with decent volunteers that's probably $20k worth of work."

I thought $100,000 was unbelievably low.

"However, this really blew my mind, "Once it can move its tiny house workshop from rented space near Cottage Grove Road, the group will be able to save money. Occupy's mortgage is $550 a month, while rent at the workshop is $750. You think owning that site is going to somehow save you $200 a month compared to the rental? Are you kidding me?"

No, I think they are hoping to save $750 a month by consolidating into one place. They already own the building with the $550 mortgage (and whatever other expenses, like taxes and insurance go with that building). And the project that had them renting the workshop always required a site to put the tiny houses on. So it's not as though the rented place could have covered their needs. Without the need for the building site, they wouldn't have needed the workshop either.

These are people who are trying to show that their good intentions, positive spirit, and contributed labor can make things happen efficiently and be an example to all. Note that this is private charity, substituting for what govt would otherwise have to do.

Ann Althouse said...

"On the other, this underlines their basic naivety in that they either didn't get a proper inspection done, or they got one from an incompetent. Either way, they've demonstrated that they're collectively not up to dealing with the real world."

The bank gave them the loan. How do you figure that? Has the bank also demonstrated that it's not collectively up to dealing with the real world?

Tank said...

TreeJoe said...

Ok, I just read the entire article in more detail. I don't understand why a roof and a few renovated bathrooms and oil tank removal are going to cost $100k. This isn't a big place and with decent volunteers that's probably $20k worth of work.


For this kind of site, the oil tank removal and remediation itself could cost more than $100K. The lawyer handling this transaction should check his malpractice coverage stat.

Ann Althouse said...

"'why is this a good environment for homeless people?' Because it is the only place YOUR city will allow them to be."

Homeowners and businesses with a big personal stake in their property do not want a shantytown nearby. That's obvious. It's not fair to impose this project on people.

"Are you going to anything to help the homeless or simply continue to mock those who do?"

That question contains an assumption that I reject and find offensive. Actually 2 assumptions. Reframe it and you might get an answer.

Tank said...

Ann Althouse said...

.....

The bank gave them the loan. How do you figure that? Has the bank also demonstrated that it's not collectively up to dealing with the real world?


This does not compute.

Period.

Michael said...

You can't just get a bunch of volunteers to remediate soil contamination or mold. That is not how it works. This is not like Mickey Rooney and chums getting together and putting on a play. This is really problematic. If this were a Tea Party group you can be sure that the EPA would be on them like ducks on june bugs.

Michael said...

Is the bank loan a real estate loan with a lien on the property or a loan guaranteed by the purchasers who then used it to acquire the property?

Bank loans usually require an inspection and appraisal which should have turned up the environmental issues.

Amy said...

Naivete - hallmark of the bleeding hearts.

I sell to an agency that works with the homeless. They called me to buy large quantities of deodorant, soap, mouthwash and other hygienic supplies. I showed them some ideas, they said "No, give us the strongest you have. These people really smell terrible."
Apparently the homeless are more romantic from a distance.

Michael said...

madisonfella

Is it OK with you to have the homeless living on a site contaminated with mold or on soil that has not been remediated? Do you believe that these environmental laws, quite strict laws, should be waived when good intentions pertain?

madisonfella said...

My answer to the question is in your deeds and words. And in the words of your supporters in the comments.

Easy to look down in disdain from high atop that ivory tower, isn't it? I'm guessing they look more like ants than people from way up there.

Big Mike said...

Wouldn't anyone expect an oil disposal tank on the premises of a 30-year-old auto repair shop?

Not if their hearts are in the right place, no.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Note that this is private charity, substituting for what govt would otherwise have to do.

The government would not otherwise have to do this. What, if anything, the government should do is a policy decision, open for debate.

Big Mike said...

They're trying to help the homeless via private action--something of which I would think Ronald Reagan and Jesus would approve...

Reagan would have expected them to think things through and to "trust but verify," that is, have someone check the site for unexpected hazards.

Living in the first century, Jesus probably wouldn't have known what an auto repair shop was, much less an oil disposal tank.

AJ Lynch said...

I say they name it the Shaudenfrude Inn.

Big Mike said...

The bank gave them the loan. How do you figure that? Has the bank also demonstrated that it's not collectively up to dealing with the real world?

@Althouse, were the bankers residents of Madison? If so then I have a likely answer that you may find unpalatable.

David said...

Are you going to anything to help the homeless or simply continue to mock those who do?"

That question contains an assumption that I reject and find offensive. Actually 2 assumptions. Reframe it and you might get an answer.


Actually it was not a question. It was a statement, framed as a question, pretty much a 12 year old's trick.

BDNYC said...

I am waiting for them to cry poverty and request that the government give them money to support their well-meaning public interest project. You know, a public-private partnership.

chillblaine said...

Unplanned remediation costs. Down twinkles.

Al from Chgo said...

"other people's money, we can do it folks!!!"

Unknown said...

Austin is building a real hobo -- homeless -- community

http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/austins-utopian-homeless-village-is-becoming-a-reality

Jane the Actuary said...

I'm not clear on their plans here: are these meant to be homes that will be sold to the homeless, in a "condo"-type ownership, or are they meant to be rented (an SRO with detached units), or are them meant to be a place for the homeless to live at no cost (an upscale and long-term "homeless shelter")?

I've read quite a number of articles on the decline in SRO housing, for instance, in cities, though the people that bemoan these buildings' conversion to upscale housing typically also support zoning requirements that make it impossible to build a new SRO without massive subsidies. But if that's the direction this project is headed towards, you could house a lot more people in a traditional multi-story SRO.

Or is this free housing?

In that case, I doubt this story has a good end to it -- a group that didn't think of environmental remediation as an issue with an old auto shop likely hasn't thought through the issues involved in running a homeless shelter properly.

Al from Chgo said...

just for giggles someone should drop a dime to both the state and fed EPA, progressives do it all the time

Al from Chgo said...

"other people's money, we can do it folks!!!"

SJ said...

@Ann,

Sometimes private charities don't perform due diligence, and flush lots of charitable donations down the monetary sinkhole caused by that mistake.

Unlike government agencies, these private charities have to explain things to board meetings and donors. (If the donors and board care about the fund's budget.)

RE: auto-repair facilities.

There are EPA rules for dealing with oil, anti-freeze, lead batteries. (Likely also for brake fluid and transmission fluid, but those aren't as easy to find.)

Most importantly, there are EPA rules and recommendations for underground tanks at auto-repair facilities.

There are probably hundreds of facilities in the United States which did not follow those EPA rules before the EPA was created by President Nixon in 1970. So there may be all sorts of remediation necessary once the shop changes hands, or is renovated...

Apparently, few of the members of this branch of Occupy Madison have experience in blue-collar jobs that deal with EPA-regulated disposal of such materials.

However, I doubt that the average entrepreneur (outside of the auto-repair world) is aware of the regulations and clean up processes that may be necessary when repurposing an auto-repair shop. Let alone the average college student, or the average newspaper writer.

After all, that knowledge is outside their domain of expertise.

The bank may have required an inspection. I don't know how that went, nor whether the inspector would be expected to detect a buried oil tank before the loan was signed.

I wonder if the newspaper reporter was able to contact City Hall and ask if there were records there from the permit process for the construction/renovation of the car-repair shop?

Because I suspect that the City records show something about the oil tank.

TreeJoe said...

Ann,

"I thought $100,000 was unbelievably low."

I am blessed to have family who are both environmental scientists and bad-ass DIYers (one person is both). The type who put additions on their home and start by putting a rebar matrix into the ground and then pouring the foundation themselves.

Roofing work is CHEAP and easy, especially on commercial properties where roofs are designed to be cheap and easy to maintain. Because it isn't going into architectural digest.

Bathrooms, from a materials standpoint, are also very cheap and easy to install. Toilets are $100, vanity & sink combos are $100-150, shower systems are $150-300. Throw in another $500 for faucets, flooring, towel hooks, drywall, and studding. Let's go crazy and say it's $1500 per bathroom and they want to do 9 bathrooms in there.

So far I'm still at maybe $18-20k for roofing and bathrooms assuming free labor and retail home-depot materials rates. Contractor grade materials of course.

Now the old oil tank - lucky me, my family removed one of those ourselves. A single guy with the know how, a shovel, pick, sawzall, and angle grinder can remove a standard ~275 gallon tank in usually 12 hours of hard work. Now let's say it's full of oil or even has slight seepage into the ground. You pump out the oil, you use absorbent material (like rough cotton, sawdust, or even dirt). You safely dispose of these things.

Then you clean out the dirt around the tank and dispose of it safely as well.

You document thoroughly with pictures everything you've done. You get an tank removal inspection/soil test done.

It's hard work, but that's what volunteering is all about.

This is a community project - not an excuse to bilk donors.

SJ said...

@TreeJoe,

the roof and bathroom are likely much cheaper than renting a backhoe and/or crane and using them to extract a tank from underground. Plus carting in landfill.

Plus disposing of whatever oils/fluids were in the tank.

tim in vermont said...

Althouse,
Ever notice the problems liberals have with reality before this?

David said...

An old auto shop?

Do you suppose anyone told them that a careful buyer would demand soil and groundwater testing before purchase to be sure that there was no environmental remediation required at the site?

I doubt it.

These lefties going to get a dose of reality if the DNR decides to take a look.

garage mahal said...

Easy to look down in disdain from high atop that ivory tower, isn't it?

Mocking the poor and the people trying to help them is a very Christian principle. It's what Jesus would do.

SJ said...

@TreeJoe: I think I stand corrected.

(If the tank in question is less than...oh, let's say 500 gallons capacity. If it's above that size, the time-taken or digging-tools required might rise substantially.)

However, I suspect that the kind of people who would help Occupy Madison with this project have little experience with power tools.

Or masonry.

Or carpentry.

Or digging deeper than 12 inches into the ground.

I notice that they are quoted as saying they need more money to fix this, rather than more elbow-grease.

lemondog said...

Page 12 under Environment of the Occupy Land Use Application indicates that UST's were removed in 2000.

City of Madison Planning Division gave approval with 9 pages of do's and don'ts.

Nothing on UTS's.

Apparently someone missed one of the tanks.

Curious George said...

I hope it all works out. Then maybe some of the bums and panhandlers here in the Milwaukee area will head west.

Levi Starks said...

Indeed the task must seem overwhelming to an academic who isn't accustomed to actually getting dirty doing a real job. Best leave it to the experts with special training in doing real stuff.

Big Mike said...

You pump out the oil, you use absorbent material (like rough cotton, sawdust, or even dirt). You safely dispose of these things.

Then you clean out the dirt around the tank and dispose of it safely as well.


@TreeJoe, the above assumes that there are no environmental regulations that must be satisfied, no inspectors that one must wait for and perhaps do substantially extra work at their behest, no stacks of paperwork to be filled out. And I'm aghast at the notion that disposing of the contaminated dirt and absorbent materials is easy. If you found it easy then I'd be willing to bet that there are a number of federal regulations and probably state regulations as well that were overlooked.

Sorry, but that's life in the 21st century USA.

William said...

I'd be interested in learning of the political connections of the previous owner. People here are claiming that this was not thought through properly, but maybe it was.

Big Mike said...

@garage, your comment at 10:13 suggests that you have no experience working with the homeless. There certainly are homeless who are temporarily down on their luck, but the vast majority are people for whom psychiatric care is called for but not provided. It has not been provided ever since that great liberal push for deinstitutionalization back in the '80s.

Michael said...

Garage:

You are OK with the homeless living on a super fund site? Are environment laws really and truly just a bunch of bullshit? Or just for rich guys and oil companies?

Just because you are a rural guy doesn't mean it is A-OK to rip out an oil tank and ignore leakage, spillage, etc. You can do that down on the farm and get away with it but not on a piece of property where people are going to live.

Headless Blogger said...

Why the tiny houses? They are inherently less energy efficient than a single multi-unit structure (i.e. an apartment building). So they will end up with high energy bills and Gore-like carbon feet prints.

Michael said...

"Easy to look down in disdain from high atop that ivory tower, isn't it?"

No one looks down in disdain on the poor who deserve to live in environmentally clean places. Hippy dippy types who think environmental laws don't apply to them are the people in the ivory tower and whose disdain for the rich is no substitute for a grain of intelligence.

mezzrow said...

I see two things.

1. this is an admirable attempt to do something.
2. no good deed goes unpunished.

Apparently things are beginning to get complicated. This happens when you deal with all humans, but especially with humans that are prone to failure. No matter how much you do, whether through the soulless maw of government or from empowered individuals, some will fail and stare back at you from the newscast or the pages of the newspaper, or even in person, itself.

Those who choose to attempt to help need to be able to persist and ignore the failure. I'm not cut out for it, and am not ashamed to admit it.

Headless Blogger said...

Good news. I have reported this to the appropriate state agency.

Michael said...

lemondog:

Thank you for providing the link. Removal of the errant storage tank is indeed going to require further disturbance of the soil and perhaps a major disruption in plans. the assertions in the application will not satisfy the dnr

SJ said...

@lemondog,

good find on the documents.

@garage,

are you saying that those in the ivory tower are un-Christ-like, or those who mock the problems of Occupy Madison's project are un-Christ-like?

It's possible both are true.

It's also possible that Occupy Madison is trying to solve a problem that is smaller than they think it is...or isn't easy to solve by the methods they are proposing...or has suddenly become very expensive, because they didn't perform due diligence.

(Although if @lemondog is correct, prehaps they can convince a lawyer and the bank/previous-owner to recompense them for problems that weren't properly disclosed at time of sale. But that kind of depends on law, contract, and...due diligence.)

Even noble-hearted people who are helping the poor need to perform due diligence on business transactions.

tim in vermont said...

"Mocking the poor and the people trying to help them is a very Christian principle. It's what Jesus would do."

I don't see any mocking of the poor. It is just funny to see, once again, people who undertake tasks with the best of intentions, cough, cough, Obamacare, cough, and find out that they are way more complex and bigger in scale than their good intentions could handle. Then the next words out of their mouth are, "we need more Other People's Money" instead of we need more volunteers to help us, or we need to work harder.

Get on down there Garage, and help them. I have a feeling that you can turn a wrench, though I have no idea why I think that.

William said...

This whole project discriminates against homeless claustrophobics.

The Godfather said...

I don't think the critics on this thread are mocking the objective of helping the poor and homeless. As I read them, they are pointing out what seem to be foolish, amateurish mistakes in trying to achieve that objective.

I devoted quite a lot of pro bono legal work to projects to help the homeless and other poor people in Washington DC, and it was clear to me that "homelessness" cannot be cured just by giving someone a house. In most cases you've got to deal with their drug or alcohol abuse, then their underlying emotional illnesses. After that, you can work on job training, life skills, job placement, etc. if that's what Occupy Madison is going to do, then I wish them good luck and Godspeed.

SteveR said...

The legal and regulatory issues involving the acquisition of real property don't consider the teachings of Jesus. Especially when the possibility of contamination exists, surprising the bank doesn't have a clue.

traditionalguy said...

The irony is that any suspicion of owning land with pollution of ground water from old buried petroleum tanks opens a wide door to 3 to 5 years of Environmental Bureaucrat torture that uses delays, deliberate lies, and hints to buy their way out of regulatory hell by hiring the remedial contractor that the bureaucrats get their kickbacks from. This will make VA bureaucrats seem virtuous in comparison.

Everybody hates accused polluters in today's Pure World.

Brando said...

Whatever their problems learning the difficulties of construction and permits and the like, at least these OWS folks are trying to do something productive instead of blocking traffic with their drum circles.

Though it seems to me that while added housing options for the homeless will help those who are hitting temporary setbacks, the bigger challenge is those with mental or substance abuse problems. That's a tougher task.

Ralph Hyatt said...

I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity a few times and there is always someone on sight who actually knows what they are doing so that they can supervise the work and teach those who don't know how to handle power tools, frame the house, mix concrete, lay tile, etc.

I see that these occupiers have good intentions, though I am doubtful about about the tiny houses as a solution to homelessness, but I think what they should do is get someone with some expertise in construction and cleaning up contaminated sites to give them some guidance.

n.n said...

The federal government should offer land grants for people to construct Amish-like communities. This would address homelessness and joblessness with one action, and return several hundred billion dollars annually to the economy. It would also likely improve and reduce the cost of health care for tens of millions of people who were previously homeless on recipients of welfare.

Thorley Winston said...

Is it just me or does anyone else think that had the money that’s been spent on this been donated to Habitat for Humanity, it would have gone a lot further to providing housing for needy people?

TreeJoe said...

(Caveat to my posts): Some states require a licensed contractor to remove or sand-fill in-ground oil tanks. Quite frankly, I think this is BS, so I'm going to continue commenting on what I've seen done in PA by an environmental scientist dealing with his own in ground tank.

Despite common perception, you do not need a backhoe to remove an oil tank from the ground.

You dig it out around it, you pump it out of all remaining oil, you use absorbent material to remove residual oil.

Then you cut it in half or smaller pieces and remove it yourself. Take it to a hazardous waste site along with your double bagged absorbent material and other waste.

Done.

I'm presuming this is a standard home heating oil tank which is basically storing diesel fuel. Heck, if it's got 200 gallons of diesel in there then contact your local bio-diesel fanatics and make yourself a bit of money on the side.

This is America people. Get 'er done and make a profit while doing it.

SJ said...

@SteveR,

Jesus told a parable about found treasure. For reasons which aren't too obvious, the finder bought the field so that he could rightfully claim the treasure.

And there was also the parable about "counting the cost". Including the cost of building a tower, or going to war.

See, Jesus did teach lessons that can be applied to real-estate and construction.

rhhardin said...

Habitrails for the homeless would be friendlier. They like moving around.

alan markus said...

Re: the cost savings ($750 month rent versus $550 mortgage.) Taxes may not be an issue if the ownership is a qualified non profit - just like churches, public schools, universities, hospitals, public housing. YMCAs, etc.

SteveR said...

@SJ, I'm talking about the legal and regulatory issues, joint and several liability, Phase I, Phase II audits, clean up standards, United States vs. Fleet Factors, etc.

Rusty said...

lemondog said...
Admirable intentions but......

EPA.

Any leaking from tank?

Underground water contamination?

Need pros to evaluate conditions, remove tank and conduct any soil reclamation.

Before it changed hands there had to be at least a level one environmental evaluation. If any thing was found it had to be flagged and remedied or else the property couldn't have changed hands. There are , however, thiry years of oily grime worked into the floor and walls. Not to mention 30 years of oily dust built up on the rafters and cieling.
Theres going to be plumbing to upgrade and electrics too. None of that is cheap.

Rusty said...

madisonfella said...
My answer to the question is in your deeds and words. And in the words of your supporters in the comments.

Easy to look down in disdain from high atop that ivory tower, isn't it? I'm guessing they look more like ants than people from way up there.

No you look like people with the brain function of ants.

Michael said...

TreeJoe:

I think the tank was used to house oil drained from auto engines. That is usually the use in these auto repair shops, especially the old ones. If you read the application the Occupy Madison people were mindful of Environmental concerns and made a point of saying they would not disturb the soil. As it happens, they will have to disturb the soil if they are to proceed with removing the tank. I think your very pragmatic approach would end in a fine or jail and a shut down project in the current case.

Rusty said...

Roofing work is CHEAP and easy, especially on commercial properties where roofs are designed to be cheap and easy to maintain. Because it isn't going into architectural digest.

3.50 a square foot for an industrial burn down roof, same for a hot top and gravel. A rubber membrane will run you more, but will las longer.


Bathrooms, from a materials standpoint, are also very cheap and easy to install. Toilets are $100, vanity & sink combos are $100-150, shower systems are $150-300. Throw in another $500 for faucets, flooring, towel hooks, drywall, and studding. Let's go crazy and say it's $1500 per bathroom and they want to do 9 bathrooms in there.
Until you have to break up the floor to add new drains and water. Figure $200.00 a foot for sewer pipe.
The last I checked it was $30,000 a tank to remove an underground service station gas tank.
I doubt the tank is still in there for reasons stated above.

They're in over their head, but if they stick with it they'll learn.

SteveR said...

Leas Based Paint? Asbestos?

Drago said...

I'm just happy the the occupy types are not still taking actual craps on police cars in broad daylight.

So, you know, "improvement".

Alex said...

madisonfella said...
My answer to the question is in your deeds and words. And in the words of your supporters in the comments.

Easy to look down in disdain from high atop that ivory tower, isn't it? I'm guessing they look more like ants than people from way up there.
6/25/14, 9:14 AM


ah the usual, "the intentions were pure".

ALP said...

I see a lot of people noting "cheap and easy" solutions to the various issues with this property.

Wouldn't "cheap and easy" involve lots of trips to Home Depot and/or Lowe's - both evil corporations?

And wouldn't it also involve buying lots cheap items - made in China?

IIRC - the OWS types consider both corporations and the exploitation of Chinese workers as evils.

So...don't see how any of these improvements can be cheap and easy if they conform to all their beliefs: reclaimed materials, US made materials, "green" materials...etc...

Does anyone with more contractor/construction experience than I have an opinion on that?

sdharms said...

do they have the proper permits to do this renovation?

mikee said...

In the era of James Earl Carter, the architects and engineers of Georgia Tech started designing and building guerilla shelters for the homeless.

They designed a shed that could be made from building waste - everything from plywood scraps to roofing leftovers to wooden pallets. Then they started building them around downtown Atlanta out of sight - in kudzu filled ravines, in the weedy backs of vacant lots, abutted to the blank backs of strip malls.

They asked no permission, and did the work at night or on weekends when nobody was around. And they housed hundreds of homeless.

That is how you house the homeless.

What your idiots are doing is called trying to get a multimillion dollar grant and to profit personally as grant administrators.