With the exception of a few lucky cities whose markets are raging back to life, we don’t expect vacancy rates for most US cities to ever go below 10%. Why? For starters, many older buildings need to be torn down. Vacant buildings quickly become homes to homeless people unless someone is there watching. I recall one Christmas years ago, where many homeless people had moved into a big, vacant industrial building. Since it was a holiday, they had put up a Christmas tree in the building to celebrate.
Not a week later, the tree went up in smoke, along with the building.
Another story I recall with chilling detail is when I had to show a vacant 100-dock door facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had a key to the door, however, when I arrived, I found the vacant facility unlocked. To say this was unsettling was an understatement. I carried mace in one hand, and in the other hand, I held a flashlight. Call me nervous but I hoped I’d get out alive.
A homeless man had moved into the facility and was calling it his home. Luckily, he was out looking for food when I arrived. Why I couldn’t wait for the prospects to show up before entering the building, I don’t recall – but it scared me silly.
Given these stories, I had to laugh out loud when I came across the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of wedding magazine The Knot – which said one of the hottest wedding trends right now is to get married in a vacant industrial building. Imagine that! Vacant industrial buildings don’t exactly scream wedding. On the contrary, they call to mind dirty shoes, drafty rooms with no heat or air conditioning, bathrooms that may or may not work, birds, rats.
Of course, I’m no longer 20 years old, and my perspective probably a lot different than that of 20-somethings today. But vacant industrial buildings aren’t exactly the sorts of places I’d consider for my nuptials. God bless the bride that thinks this is cool! I will admit, this is a new trend that can help our economy and bring those previously vacant buildings back to life in a way that gives back to local communities financially.
I’m curious: anyone ever attend a wedding that took place in a vacant industrial building?