There’s a lot of debate about what to do with the train station. I’ve briefly mentioned it before in a post, but I’ve been curious about why nobody has already fixed it up on their own. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me whether they tear it down or fix it up. I’m actually going to try to be objective here.

Unfortunately, nobody has actually measured the building. I had to use the ruler tool in Google Earth to make this estimate, which may end up being very wrong.  I am roughly guessing that there is 4000 square feet of usable space in the building.

For the moment, we’ll assume that there will be 4000 square feet of total rentable space.

A few years ago, I was told by a real estate agent that buildings cost $100/sqft to build new. I’m not sure that’s 100% accurate, but that’s the figure we’ll use for now.

So to build a building the same size as the train station, it would cost $400,000. The net rent on a building in the same area is about $8 per square foot per year. This means that it will take 12.5 years to recover the building cost. Operating expenses and taxes aren’t included in the net rent. Usually money has to be reinvested into the building for renovations after about 20 years as parts of it get worn out (like the roof).

The formula used to get the years to ROI is:
(cost to acquire / square feet / net rent)

So for a quick summary, we have:
(400,000 / 4000 / 8 ) = 12.5

Now, many sources tell us that the train station will cost up to $2 million to fix. So plugging it into the formula we get:
(2,000,000 / 4000 / 8 ) = 62.5
Yikes. 62.5 years is definitely not commercially viable at all.

Let’s just run another similar sized building through the formula. We’ll take the Electric Motor Service building as a comparison. On June 22nd 2009, the values given were: Cost: $495,000, sqft: 5881

So we’ll plug them into the formula:
(495,000 / 5881 / 8 ) = 10.5

Depending on the current state of the building, 10.5 years is pretty good.

So for the train station repair to be commercially viable, $1.5 million will have to come from somewhere. It will either be J.D. Irving (who refused to pay much less for the basic maintenance that was required for the station to not get into its current state) or taxpayers (who will not be happy at paying for something that J.D. Irving broke).