New from north Indiana

6 Replies

I have a property in downtown Rochester where a building burned and have cleaned it out.  I want to make a sunken garden in the old basement and have one or two food vending trucks or trailers (on the grade level).  The area where there was a building will have a solid fence and be rather private (limited access) but open to the public for setting, having coffee, etc. .  Does anyone have thoughts or ideas or ever seen such a place?  

Interesting idea. What's your business plan?

Are you sure the area can support a coffee shop, there used to be a pretty good one across from the court house that also sold trinkets that went out of business a few years ago.  Also, there isn't a lot of foot traffic in the area.  You might be better off trying to rent the area out to the city/county.

Omar,  You seem to know the area!  We are a small community yes and like most downtowns, have lost many businesses.  But I'm on the highest traffic count corner, across from Walgreen, which does have a lot of traffic coming and going.  Advertising may be one way to create some cash flow.  

Todd, I plan to hold or sell, but not give it away.  I can hold for an extended period as I have no debt and taxes are low for the lot.  The plan is to develop some cash flow, but I don't need too much.  A community survey by the local paper had several respondents that wanted to see a "green" public space.  The "sunken garden" is the best I can do but still maintain security.  A food truck or trailer is taxed to the owners, not to the property, so my fixed costs remain low to try it.  

Hi James,  thanks.   

@Toby Seiler  Welcome to BP. Great thinking outside the box! Have you checked your city ordinances for zoning and permits for what you intend on doing? Your idea sounds very appealing. Do your due diligence and research.

I wish you the best of luck!


Hi Pyrrha.  I'm working on it.  My wife's cousin runs a public (Indy Parks owned) garden conservatory in Indianapolis and may be of some help in the design.  Wonder if this website has a simple site plan computer program that can be shared?  

Ordinance requires utilities, which I am preserving and rebuilding.  Public water preserved, sewer in to the site and electric 95% of incoming service is installed.  Note I have a small business and am a licensed electrician, so do a lot of my own work. 

But the zoning director and I do not get along...she is untruthful and aggressive and I have fought her through court(s). She will be a thorn in my side, which is why I will not build a building or make a taxable structure of any size.  Simple green space and seasonal food vending in the heart of town would seem to be a fine plan, entirely within the zoning ordinances as they currently exist (although a restroom facility may be necessary for long term).  Of course the vendors must meet health codes and are subject to inspection.  There is room for 2 and one can have a car drive up from the alley.

I have watched some video programs of very successful mobile and seasonal vendors with good, but simple and targeted, offerings.  Or maybe a farm/nursery stand.    

Hope some people have examples and ideas, what do you think?


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