Category: Real Estate

861 Mandy: Kitchen

After a bit of a hiatus on the rehab project at 861 Mandy, we are back to full swing. We had take our eye off the ball with the recent purchase of the Paper Box Factory in Lebanon and prioritizing jobs for our customers. The plan is to get this house on the market within the next 6 weeks for the Spring buying / selling season. Fortunately, the market in central Pennsylvania has been highly competitive and continues to strengthen.

Over the past week, we have been hanging trim and finishing the kitchen floor. We also had our friends over at cabinets.com work on a kitchen design for us. The kitchen drawings below will closely resemble the kitchen once it is installed. The only major difference will be the color of the flooring. We have installed a light grey ceramic tile which will pair very nicely with the white shaker style cabinets.

 

This week we are working on finishing the trim and hanging the doors. This is the part of the project that really excited me as everything starts to come back together! It is starting to look like a home again and will be a joy for the new homeowner! I’m looking forward to wrapping up this project and posting our “after” photos.

 

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The Lebanon Community Responds

I asked and the Lebanon City residents answered. In an earlier blog, Lebanon Paper Box: Day 40, I asked for feedback from the community of Lebanon on their ideas of what they would like to see incorporated in the the old Lebanon Paper Box building. Here is a recap of some of the responses that I have received so far. 

It has been a little over a week since I published the blog post, Lebanon Paper Box: Day 40, and hit social media to solicit some suggestions and ideas about what the community would like to see at this predominant landmark in Lebanon City. The suggestions have been enlightening and has provided a glimpse of what is on the minds of the community, albeit only a small segment was sampled. I have received feedback from over 50 residents thus far.

Below is a consolidated recap of the suggestions that I have received. They are not listed in any particular order. Some of the ideas come as no surprise, while others were very unexpected…

  1. Homeless shelter
  2. Veteran shelter
  3. Roller skating rink
  4. Something tech related and interesting
  5. Recreation center
  6. Retail stores
  7. Apartment building with affordable housing
  8. Ballerina school
  9. Art gallery and studios
  10. Karate school
  11. Public clinic
  12. Go karts
  13. Something similar to the GoggleWorks in Reading
  14. Trampoline park
  15. Museum of the history of Lebanon
  16. Grocery store
  17. Skate park
  18. Chick-Fil-A
  19. Place for kids to play
  20. Community center
  21. Lebanon annex of the Spooky Nook Sports complex
  22. Connect with the Lebanon county Career and Technology Center during renovation
  23. Great location with a bike trail. I’d be so happy just to see it restored

A common thread, throughout a majority of the suggestions, is that Lebanon City is in need of community events and affordable things for residents to do. Primarily for the younger residents. It’s also clear to see that there is a lot of pride for the city and residents are passionate about providing programs for the homeless and our Veterans.

Based on all of this information, I have some research to do to better understand what programs already exist and where there may be some gaps to fill. Perhaps there are already some things in place that may require some public education, or perhaps not. Ultimately, the extent of feedback is motivating in that there is a community that cares. In time, there will be the a call for participation and action to help bring opportunities to fruition, this will be the true test of the community spirit.

The call for suggestions has not only spawned a list of ideas, but it has also created some dialogue between residents on the official Facebook page of the Lebanon Paper Box building. The conversations have been a mixture of constructive and destructive criticism. I have not been moderating the conversation as I want everyone’s voice to be heard. After all, criticism is a sign of doing something and making a contribution.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
– Aristotle

In the meantime, keep the ideas and suggestions coming! Also, give some thought to how some of these ideas can be accomplished though other initiatives. This is just one building in the City of Lebanon, but it can be a part of a bigger movement to help bring life into the surrounding community. This is bigger than one person or one building and it is going to require the effort of many.

If you want to become more involved in the Lebanon community, but don’t know where to start, feel free to reach out and I can help.

 

 

Sharing my Love for LED Light Bulbs

Never in my life would I have expected to get so excited about light bulbs!

It didn’t take me long after settlement on the Lebanon Paper Box warehouse to develop a passion for converting old ballast powered light strips to work with LED bulbs. Although there is a significant cost savings to switching over to LED, the primary motivation for me was to be able to see the building that I just purchased!

Over the years of prior ownership, all of the windows have been bricked over on the first floor and a majority of them have been bricked over on remaining floors. This was done to improve security since the building had previously been a target of vandalism in years past. The building is now locked up tight, but it is also awfully dark inside. I’m not quite ready to reopen the windows, so I needed to find another solution.

workshop light strip

Fluorescent Light Fixture

The lights that are in the building are of various ages. I’m not a lighting professional, but some are probably from the early iterations of fluorescent lights. The fixtures that are really old are salvageable, but I prefer to retire them when possible. Besides the fixtures being old and ballasts failing, fluorescent lights tend to mind the cold. The Lebanon Paper Box building does not have an HVAC system and it is often much colder inside the building than it is outside. The fluorescent lights take a while to start up in the bone chilling months of winter, and sometimes they just won’t turn on at all.

So between the failing ballasts and cold temperatures, converting the fixtures from fluorescent to LED was the most logical and economic option to solve my lighting issue. An expensive ballast replacement is not necessary when converting to LED and bypassing the need for a ballast. It took me a while to research how to retrofit a fluorescent light ballast to LED and I wasn’t sure which LED light bulbs to purchase. Most of the YouTube videos that I watched made the rewiring look easy since the fixture was laying on a table. It is actually pretty easy, but I was retrofitting the fixture while it was still hanging over my head. If possible, I highly recommend taking down the fixtures. It ends up being about 2000% easier. Also, if you’re not 100% sure what you are doing, speak with a certified electrician before attempting to do this yourself.

After a ton of research and trying multiple brands and styles of LED bulbs, for the 4′ fixture retrofits, I very highly recommend the Diva Light Plug and Play & Bypass Tube Lamp. I don’t get royalties for you clicking that link and purchasing the bulbs. I just love them that much! They are also very inexpensive compared to some of the other LED bulbs out there. I have spent as much as $30 for an LED bulb that performs no differently than this Diva bulb. I have also done a few 8′ fixture retrofits and have been very happy with this 8ft 40W LED (bypass) by GreenLightDepot.

One of the options that you will notice when choosing a light is the color. They typically range between 3000K – 6000K. The 3000K side of the spectrum is your typical office lighting scenario which is very similar to the traditional Soft White incandescent bulb. It is explained as a warm light that tends to have a bit of a yellow coloration. The 6000K end of the spectrum is a very bright, almost blueish, light. This level of light is supposed to be more along the lines of daylight. I have tried the different colors of light and prefer 5000K for my application.

Color Temperature Chart (Kelvin)

The afterthought of all of this for me is the cost savings. I have been able to cut the cost of energy for each light fixture by over 50%. In some cases, even more because one bulb is a sufficient light source in certain parts of the warehouse. Going from two fluorescent bulbs to one LED is over a 75% energy savings!

Lebanon Paper Box: Day 40

40 days have gone by so fast! Beginning to think about the future life and renewed spirit of the Lebanon Paper Box building.

As I arrived in Lebanon City this morning, it dawned on me that today marks the 40th day since taking ownership of the Lebanon Paper Box Co building. Time certainly flies, and although I have been busy working tirelessly on nights and weekends at the warehouse, it wouldn’t appear to be any different to someone walking by on the outside of the building.

The only changes that a local resident may notice is that there are a few more lights on and some security cameras are spontaneously popping up on the corners of the building. The iconic Lebanon Paper Box building is situated between Cumberland, Jones, and Willow streets on the edge of the Western gateway into Lebanon City, Pennsylvania. This magnificent building has valiantly stood the test of time. Sure, there have been a few leaks, vandalism, and the appearance of being an abandoned warehouse, but I can assure you that there is life beyond those exterior walls.

Believe it or not, this building has been the home of BOXIE for over 40 years! BOXIE is primarily in the business of storing patterns, which is why there appears to be limited activity in and around the building. BOXIE is actually a part of a very important foundry industry that is thriving in the Lebanon area.

Lebanon_BolognaOn a quick side note: Lebanon, Pennsylvania is the home of Lebanon Bologna. I know! It was so obvious, that I was shocked too! Seriously though. If you like Lebanon Bologna (even if you don’t) then this is a city that you must visit. Many restaurants, brewery’s, and the vendors in the farmers market have a ton of bologna related foods and beverages to try. Check it out!

Now back to BOXIE and the Lebanon Paper Box building. Admittedly, I didn’t know a single thing about this industry before I got involved with this real estate deal. So I can’t blame anyone else for not knowing what a foundry is or a pattern for that matter. Let’s just say that the Lebanon area is supposedly a hot spot and this is the area where the patterns come to stay. More information about foundry’s can be found here on Wikipedia.

While the building has been storing patterns for many years, I believe that there is an opportunity to bring something new to the community. There is currently perfectly located space in the portion of the building that faces Cumberland Street. This is a major road straight through the heart of Lebanon City and is easily accessible to the surrounding suburbs. With over 16,000 vehicles passing this building everyday, it could be a great opportunity for some small businesses, artisans, and at least one restaurant. Personally, I would love to see some life in and around this 217,000+ square foot building and a renewed spirit.

What do you say Lebanon City? What would you like to see this space turned into to bring something special into the city limits?

I will be continuously following up on this project and will post the feedback that I receive for further discussion.


I’m an entrepreneur looking to help others achieve their dreams. What are your ideas? How can I help? Please feel free to comment or send me a message about this post at info@lebanonpaperbox.com

Finding a Little Inspiration

Depending on my current space emotionally or related to a business deal, I seek inspiration…
Currently, my inspirational need is a trip to New York City. There is simply no matching the energy that pulses through the city streets. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about the city that really gets me excited. I’m not sure if it’s the lights, food, people, architecture, arts, or advertising. I’m absolutely certain that it’s a special combination of things.
I’m about to close on a big real estate deal next week that, I feel, will be a catalyst to my future real estate endeavors (hence the need for big city inspiration). Even though the property is not located in a large city, it’s certainly unique and offers some interesting learning and development opportunities. I like to get out and see what other real estate developers have done with similar spaces to make buildings come to life.

IMG_5808

As I type this entry, in the rear of an Uber, I take in the views of the city skyline… and traffic. It’s all part of the experience…
How are you currently feeling and where would you go for some needed inspiration?

861 Mandy Lane – House Rehab Introduction

One of the projects that the rehabbing team is working on is 861 Mandy Lane. This is yet another amazing property that we have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to bring back to life! Special thanks to the Hawk Rock Construction team. They are the crew that is going to be managing the day to day work and transformation of this home.

We ended up purchasing this property through a wholesaler. This was our first experience with purchasing a wholesale deal and settlement was quick and easy. We have previously purchased our properties as foreclosures listed on the MLS and through online auction websites like Auction.com and Hubzu.com. You can find some pretty good deals on the auction websites, but be cautious. Make sure that you do your due diligence and carefully inspect the property before placing a bid. They also have automated bidding bots that counter your bids to get the highest selling price possible. If the reserve price isn’t met and you’re the highest bidder, don’t be surprised if they don’t honor your winning bid and simply re-list the property for a future auction.

Here are some of the images that we took of the inside of the house once we had control of the property.

Kitchen – We plan on installing new cabinets and countertops. We will also be tearing up the laminate flooring and installing ceramic tile. We have not yet evaluated all of the appliances, but we will be purchasing a new stove and microwave.

Dining Room – The mirrors on the wall are going to have to go. They had a similar wall of mirrors in the 2nd bathroom and we took them down as well.

Living Room – We are begrudgingly going to keep the existing hardwood flooring in the living room. At first sight this appears to be an area rug in the middle of the room, but it is actually built into the center of the room and tacked down. Overall it isn’t too bad and we can work with some of the color tones in the patter to make it work with the final product.

Bedrooms – The bedrooms are very nice in size. This is a 3 bedroom 2 full bath house with two separate living areas. We decided that all of the trim needs to be replaced along the baseboard and around the doors. Once the window treatments were removed, the room was already showing so much potential.

Upstairs Bathroom – We lucked out with this bathroom. The tub and fixtures are in great condition and there isn’t too much work to be done to this room. There is a linen closet off to the left which is not in the photo. We are going to make some improvements to the inside of the closet and fix a broken door.

Deck – This is probably one of the most fascinating features of the property, but we don’t have any photos at the moment. We must have been so distracted by the view of the backyard that we didn’t capture any photos. The deck cascades down a hill over four different levels before turning into a path that leads to a clearing along the Conodoguinet Creek. Don’t worry, we will be posting photos of the backyard in future rehab updates coming out of 861 Mandy Lane.

Click subscribe so that you receive notifications as we continue to provide updates on this project and many more. Next update, demolition!

Have questions or suggestions? Leave a comment below.

335 Front Street Before and After Photos

We have received numerous requests to share some of the before and after photos of our projects. Below is a comparison of the before and after from our whole house rehab at 335 Front Street. This project was completed during the summer of 2017 after a very long renovation. The new homeowners were excited about their purchase and entry into home ownership

BEFORE & AFTER EXTERIOR

BEFORE AND AFTER KITCHEN

BEFORE AND AFTER STUDY




DINING ROOM BEFORE AND AFTER


STAIRS AND UPSTAIRS HALLWAY


UPSTAIRS FULL BATH 



BEDROOM NUMBER 1

BEDROOM NUMBER 2

MASTER BEDROOM

MASTER BATHROOM

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