Author Topic: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?  (Read 702 times)

Sonos

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I though some of you might enjoy brainstorming on this.

My family owns an empty corner lot in downtown Winthrop, Washington. Winthrop is a tiny town with an old west theme. Wintertime brings cross country skiers and summertime brings hikers, mountain bikers, campers, fishers, etc. and lots of tourists walking around downtown taking pictures and eating ice-cream.

We’d like to do something with the lot. Because the lot is zoned commercial it must be used for a business (not for residential purposes). Also, we don’t live nearby, so the idea can’t require our constant active presence and we don’t want to put up the capital to build a building we could then rent out for commercial purposes (I doubt we’d see a return on a big investment like that).

Winthrop already has some restaurants, ice-cream shop, bars, mini golf, and the like.

Here are my ideas. What are yours?

Airbnb (put in a gorgeous Airstream with beautiful landscaping and a fire pit; managed by a company, not us)
Tesla super charger (wouldn’t make us money, but it would attract more business to other downtown businesses)
Donate it for a park

« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 08:42:35 PM by Sonos »

affordablehousing

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 11:20:53 AM »
I love this problem. What about an antique market/flea market? Low impact, low infrastructure requirements, sky is the limit ot try to make it cool, and really easy to hire a local to take $20 admission for vendors, $2 admission for visitors.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 11:37:57 AM »
Tests superchargers have immense power needs, but you should be able to put in a couple of Level 2 chargers, a canopy (solar?), and some good vending machines to make it viable.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 10:21:59 PM »
There are restrictions on overnight rentals in the Methow, and anything in the downtown area is subject to the Westernization standards that give Winthrop its faux late 1800's look. Pretty sure the airstream would not pass muster. You'd have to do some research.

A new park just went in where the Craftsman house that held the Arrowleaf Bistro was, but the town might be interested in another one.

You might want to post this on the bulletin board hosted by methownet.com and see what the locals/second home folks would like to see.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 10:30:51 PM »
Also, Plug In North Central Washington has several charging stations listed in Winthrop. www.pluginncw.com

Sun Hat

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 11:45:56 AM »
Akin to the antique market idea is using the space as a site for a regular farmer's market. Rent out space for tables/tents, have a couple of port-a-potties, and schedule some local music, and it'll be a pleasant space for those tourists to wander around.

AMandM

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 03:07:04 PM »
Put up some western fake building fronts and charge admission for nerf/airsoft.

Sun Hat

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 05:54:42 PM »
Put up some western fake building fronts and charge admission for nerf/airsoft.

This. Sounds. Awesome.

Who doesn't want to duel on Main Street at high noon?

AMandM

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2017, 01:11:43 PM »
If making money isn't a priority (which I infer from the possibility of a park), you could create a community garden and rent out individual plots for a small fee.  Maybe you'd get enough to cover your property taxes?

Sonos

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2017, 08:31:37 PM »
Great idea. My parents just got an offer on the lot (from a local), but I'll send them this info just in case it falls through.

There are restrictions on overnight rentals in the Methow, and anything in the downtown area is subject to the Westernization standards that give Winthrop its faux late 1800's look. Pretty sure the airstream would not pass muster. You'd have to do some research.

A new park just went in where the Craftsman house that held the Arrowleaf Bistro was, but the town might be interested in another one.

You might want to post this on the bulletin board hosted by methownet.com and see what the locals/second home folks would like to see.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 11:03:17 PM »
No suggestions, but I drove through Winthrop this summer on my way to do some camping and mountain biking. On the way down we spent money for food, beer and gas. From a tourist perspective I'm not sure what else I would have spent money on while in the area.

Dicey

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Re: Empty lot in small outdoor sports/old-west town: development ideas?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 10:00:00 AM »
Donating it for a park isn't as easy as it sounds. Parks require landscaping, maintenance and upkeep. Typically, the town won't have the funds necessary to do this. Unless you include a fat wad of cash, they're unlikely to accept it for that purpose.

An Airstream for an airbnb is going to need utilities. Is the lot improved? It would also require day-to-day attention. It is anything but passive.

Others have nixed the Tesla idea for good reasons.

A farmer's market needs to be managed by someone and there are companies that do this, but you won't make much money on it. You will possibly add to the general ambiance of the area. Same for a community garden, except it's going to need water and porta potties, as previously mentioned.

Have you tried asking the town officials what they might like there? Maybe they've been dying to have an "X" somewhere but don't have the land.

It might be kinda cool to have a library named for your family on that lot. Typically though if you designated the land for a library, it would require a cash donation, just like a park would. Unless they really, really wanted the land for that purpose.

Personally, I'd ask myself how my life would change if I didn't own the property.  If the answer is not much, I'd sell i, or donate it for the tax write-off.

The final option is to continue on as you have been, which is paying the taxes and otherwise ignoring it while you go about your real lives.

Interesting question, though. It will be neat to see what you decide, so please keep us posted.
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