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A Non-Geeky Solution To The Abandoned Buildings Problem

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Seriously, I’m going to need someone to tell me why this can’t work.

You get some capital together, and you go buy some bulldozers, a wrecking ball, a couple of backloaders (I went on some auction sites…I’m stunned how cheap some of that heavy equipment can be), find yourself a demolitions expert…and then you open up a destruction company.

But you’re not the one doing the destruction.

No, it’s people like me doing the destruction.  Or you.  Or anyone.

I read stories like this one – http://www.freep.com/article/20120415/NEWS01/304150016/For-many-kids-in-Detroit-school-zones-are-danger-zones – about how many abandoned, dangerous buildings there are near schools, and there’s a problem.

And then I realize that there are a lot of people with a lot of pent up stress and frustration.  And I see an opportunity…

Remember how fun this was?

I would absolutely pay, oh, let’s say $100 to drive a bulldozer through the front door of a house that needs to be destroyed.  Or hey, let’s wire up a vacant, useless building with explosives, and then sell raffle tickets at $20 a pop to be the one to push the button that blows it up.

I played the video game Rampage a lot over the years…you give me access to a wrecking ball, and keep score on damage done to the building as various people take turns at $20 a swing, and you’ve got yourself a money maker.

But you also get the buildings knocked down that need to go, too.

Oh, and sure, you’re going to need to buy a ton of liability insurance.  And everyone involved has to sign waivers until their hands cramp up.

$20 a swing. You’d do it.

I first started talking about this a little over two years ago…and I still haven’t heard a reasonable answer as to why this can’t be awesome for all involved parties:

– The cities involved don’t have to worry about burning their already strapped budgets on demolition.

– The people around the dangerous, empty buildings get to get them cleaned up and out of their neighborhoods (and then, hey cities – sell those lots cheap to the neighboring property owner and you both get an even bigger win)

– I get an awesome new stress release, as does anyone else who participates

Seriously…tell me why this is a bad idea.

Go.

3 Comments
  1. Cynthia Bardel-Swtilik says

    That is an interesting idea. I by no means am saying this is a bad idea, in fact quite the opposite. The only problem (other than insurance) I could potentially see is the red tape involved obtaining the demolition permits from the cities. Based on my past experience at a demo company, depending on the location it really can be quite a process. Oh and the possibility of asbestos depending on the building/house. If you are seriously interested in the logistics of it, I can see if I can get in touch with a health and safety specialist and ask for information about what would be entailed.

  2. Christopher says

    Do you honestly think the largest cost of demolishing a building is the labor cost of the folks swinging the wrecking ball? I’d be surprised if you could generate enough income selling swings of the ball to pay the costs of gathering and hauling away the remains (something you didn’t have to do in Rampage).

    1. Dave says

      Oh heavens no, don’t believe that in the least! The cleanup efforts are inevitably where the majority of the costs would live. Like any idea, you have to start with the end-point and then figure out a way back to a starting point that makes sense. There just HAS to be a way to do something. It’s a bit ludicrous currently.

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