General, or Glasgow-Specific, Advice on Spaces I Could Convert to Large Single-Room Studios
August 24, 2004 7:42 PM   Subscribe

New house filter. I need somewhere cool to stay {MI}

It's time to move out of my current flat, and I'm fed up with flitting from tiny bedroom to tiny bedroom. I want a groovy large single-room studio-style space, like you see in a million and one music videos.

A ready-to-move-in option is pretty much out of consideration because of the cost, so I'll need to find my own and do it up. I'm up for an old factory, or the disused space above a shop, or an attic space, etc etc. I'd prefer city centre, which limits the warehouses, natch. I am prepared to do the necessary work to make it livable, and I guess there will be some sort of certification required.

Beyond that, I'm at a loss. Can anyone offer advice?

I'm in Glasgow, but I don't need city-specific answers, any general advice will do. Happily, Glasgow council is hoping to rejuvenate the city centre with homes above shops, so certificates may be easier to get.
posted by bonaldi to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
You might be able to talk a landlord into renting the space above whatever's on the ground floor somewhere--it's a ton of work, especially if a space is raw. Or you can check out what squatters have been doing, if you have them there.
posted by amberglow at 8:48 PM on August 24, 2004

Response by poster: What's the best way to find these empty spaces? Are there registries?

I'm OK with the necessary work - I think I might have lowish standards for this project. Fight Club house but up to code for the first few months/year would be fine
posted by bonaldi at 9:39 PM on August 24, 2004

As amberglow says, it is a ton of work. I'm guess Glasgow, along with the rest of Canada, has building code restrictions. As such a commercial space has to be converted to a residential space. This means no exposed wires and the such. It won't be as easy as you going to some business and asking to rent their space. It may be too much hassle for them to conform and pay insurance and all the necessary things for just one tenant.

And I don't believe you can "just get to code". No one would pay to get it just to code and not the trivial extra to make it appealing.
posted by geoff. at 9:42 PM on August 24, 2004

In the U.S., you can only reside in property located in an area "zoned" for it--if Glasgow has an equivalent, you'll need to convince the city government to permit this use or else you'll be limited to a space in a mixed-use (commercial/res) zone. It's not clear whether you're envisioning this as a rental or purchase, though geoff is surely right about landlords being skeptical. It may also be tricky to get a mortgage on something that you intend to convert from commercial to residential use; usually those are different lending categories, with very different requirements/terms.

For inspiration, see the companion site for Extreme Homes. Those people's stories may lend some insight into the process.

To locate properties, I'd start by talking to some real estate agents. They'll know which commercial spaces have been vacant long enough for a landlord to be open to something radical. The good news is, in commercial it's commonplace to "build to suit" (add walls, move doors, etc) as part of the deal. So wiring, etc. is not out of the question. The bad news is, such expenditures are normally possible because commercial leases often run significantly longer than residential. 5 years, 10, even 20 year terms are common. It's hard to imagine them wanting to do that for someone on just a 12 month.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:09 PM on August 24, 2004

Erm... Glasgow is in Scotland.
posted by twine42 at 6:45 AM on August 25, 2004

Response by poster: coo, thanks everyone.
posted by bonaldi at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2004

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