The title to this writing is a famous line from the origins of my relationship with Priscilla. About 16-1/2 years ago we knew each other, had known each other for a while and were finally touching on the subject of seeing one another in something other than a business setting. I asked, she accepted, then she later declined (for the dumbest reason ever, but that’s another story) and I left her alone after that. While I may have worn a brave face around the office, I was devastated by the rejection because I had been holding a candle for her for quite some time and life, at that time, generally sucked.

So jump ahead three long, arduous, lonely weeks and I’m at the office about to leave. I get behind the wheel of my Saturn and begin to pull out of my parking space but am blocked by another car coming into the lot. Impatient as always behind the wheel, I’m annoyed as I wait for them to drive off, but the car pulls into a space to the right. I look over to see Priscilla smiling and waving at me. I knew something was up. I smiled for the first time in a while and turned to stare through that same steering wheel before me and said, out loud, “This is gonna be good.”

We had our first date that night and have been dating, courting, marrying, raising children, starting businesses, and traveling the world ever since. And ever since that fateful day, one that could easily have been ruined had timing not been perfect, when something awesome comes into our lives we both say “This is gonna be good.”

Why on Earth am I telling you this? Because just a few short weeks ago we pulled the trigger on location # 2 for Linnemann Realty. I abhor renting, and given that we’re never ones to do anything on a small scale, we’ve decided to build a new 3-story office building just across from the Courthouse in Belton’s fabled Historic District. It’s how we make decisions and it usually works. Immediately in agreement and set on our plans, Priscilla smiled and said, “This is gonna be good.”

The new office will be a landmark in downtown and will feature collaborative workspace for fellow entrepreneurs, private offices for rent, panoramic views of downtown Belton, and a conference and training venue on the 3rd floor. It will also provide the perfect physical location for our property management division to expand into Belton and Temple and a great spot to help local folks buy and sell. After everything we’ve done in business together for 15 years, this is our most exciting move yet, and we can’t wait to open the doors, hopefully by the end of 2019.

Funny how she and I get things done together. We decided on a 2nd location a few months back and started exploring Belton and Temple. We drove through a number of areas but kept coming back to the Historic District and noted that every time we were there the area was inundated with cars and pedestrian traffic. Every day, all day, without fail. We knew this was where we wanted to be. But, folks in downtown Belton are proud of their buildings and there wasn’t anything available to purchase, aside from this one empty lot next door to the old bank building on Central. Robert Dominguez had been trying to sell it himself for quite some time and had no takers until she called on the sign. We were under contract within 48 hours.

Now we are the proud owners of a .11 acre tract that is 21’ wide and over 100’ deep, with a cool little asphalt courtyard in the back and a private drive with a gate that opens onto East Street. In that space, we will construct our next office and write the next chapter in the ever-developing story of Michael & Priscilla.

There is SO much to do! The complexities of this project are too numerous to list in one writing, so I’ll break it out into several blogs. At this moment we are in the middle of replatting the land (yes, we’re doing that post-purchase), initiating our 1031 Reverse Improvement Exchange, preparing several rental houses we own for sale to free up cash, reviewing financing options with our banker, working on plans with our architect, and going over requirements with both the City of Belton and the Historic Preservation Society. And that’s just the tip of the Linnemann iceberg.

Here’s the deal: I’m going to write, in exhausting detail, about the process of building a commercial structure in the middle of a historic district. It will be a blog series that will take you from A to Z with construction. You’re welcome to tag along, even ask questions, and yes, you can visit the site with me should you want to see something in particular. The first few will need to be in retrospect as we have already started the process, but the rest will be written in real time to convey the progress and the challenges as they arise.

Note: we would love for this project to involve the community as much as possible, and in that light, we would like to use as many local area contractors as we can. Keep the money at home and allow the whole town to take pride in the final product. I will be the general contractor as I have been for all of our projects but will need qualified subcontractors to bring this to life. Tag the folks you know who may want a shot at having a role in this and we’ll visit with them to discuss.

We have always loved this business. Well, maybe not so much at the start, but we certainly love it now. It comes with challenges, it comes with big change, and in order to succeed you need to be ready to make tough decisions and move forward with what you know to be right. Change is in the air and we couldn’t be more thrilled about what 2019 holds in store. So keep reading my friends! Stay tuned, comment if you like, share if you like, and take part in this enormous endeavor we’ve thrown ourselves into. And trust me when I say this is gonna be good…