Admittedly, it was far-fetched. But I really wanted to do it.

Aw man, lame. Downtown in my town is a historic district which seems to be doing better over time and attracting new businesses. I thought I had an idea to contribute, but turns out it’s impossible.

There’s a very neat Art Deco building in the area that’s currently sitting almost totally empty. It has a huge window storefront and show room that was originally a furniture store, and then various sad dollar stores, and now just sits empty.

I had this dream of turning it into a dance hall and event space some day. I’d be an event planner and plan dances and events but also double as a simple rental while billing myself as a wedding and special events planner. If you look past the drab paneling it could really be a beautiful hall, and has some old and interesting detailing on the support columns and ceiling. I look in every time I walk past there. So on a whim, I called the number on the “space available” sign to ask about the price. It’s a 12,000 sqft space and $5/sqft a month, which is pretty cheap as local retail space goes. Offices across the street cost more like $12/sqft. The realtor seems super excited about the idea but said a similar one was shot down by the town some years ago. But he promises to call the town and see why.

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Sadly, he called me back and left a message for me today. He said the kind of business I would want to do — basically a banquet or dance hall — just isn’t allowed in that area. He seemed really pissed off about it, but that’s the town’s rules. So I did some follow-up research through the zoning website and it’s true, a banquet hall is pretty restricted on where it can go per the zoning regulations for that area. Which is such a shame, because downtown could really stand to benefit from an event space to give people something to do at night besides eat at the restaurants.

It’s not far from residential housing — there’s a house and neighborhood behind the parking lot at the rear of the building, so I guess I understand because of the noise risk. But still, it’s super disappointing to know that dream is pretty much impossible.

That was long, but I just needed to get that off my chest. No one even knows I was looking into opening a business so I don’t have anyone to really express my disappointment to. It really was a good idea, you guys.