Life Hacks

Man buys wrecked old firehouse for $1 and opens a pizza joint and luxury apartment.

May 27th, 2021

If you check out dirt cheap real estate properties, you know very well that they are totally a fixer-upper.

Walnut Hills in Cincinnati, Ohio, went through a tough time in the 1850s. During this period, people abandoned the area, and they opted to reside in the suburbs.

But Kent Hardman is determined to bring it back to life.

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Facebook - Kent Hardman Source: Facebook - Kent Hardman

He buys an old firehouse for a very cheap price of $1.

Ironically, the firehouse building is in the worst shape after going through fire in 1977. Though it didn’t really crumble to pieces as the fire was extinguished, it was no longer renovated and was left unoccupied.

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

Being a developer, Kent Hardman still makes the decision to purchase the building from the city for $1 to salvage the remnants. He recalls,

“When I purchased this building, there was no roof on the back end. There was also a tree growing on the first floor, so it was in pretty rough shape.”

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

A plan to reawakenWalnut Hills

His plan, after all, is to revitalize the neighborhood and invite more people to make Walnut Hills alive again. He’s even okay with breaking even on his investment. Making extra bucks is a bonus.

He searches for somebody to help him renovate the old building. This was when he established HIVE513, an organization that has renovated more than 20 properties in the area. Hardman, his brother, and his father’s goals are to improve the rotten structures and give the building a new life.

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

In an interview with WCPO News in 2017, he reveals:

“The house I grew up in really made me appreciate old architecture. I was fascinated by it.”

However, he cannot do this all by himself, and he needs the help of the community.

Walnut Hills becomes lively again.

Hardman has spent a hefty fortune on his restoration project. But it was all worth it, and now he has a luxury loft on the second floor. The first floor became a pizza restaurant that invites people into their neighborhood.

He wants the pizzeria to draw more people to visit and potentially make the place much more alive.

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

Investment in the area is also being encouraged by the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation. In line with this, they host a “pop-up Biergarten” every month (the Five Points Biergarten).

“The idea of community and togetherness is key,” says Kent. “Seeing people enjoy themselves in a place that I helped bring back to life gives me so much joy and satisfaction.”

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

The incredible transformation of the firehouse

Kent Hardman gives a tour in the video of his pride and joy, the restored historic building. He’s happy that people come to spend their time in the pizzeria.

Going up to the second floor, his beautiful apartment boasts very old lumber. He didn’t let go of the 155-year-old remnant woodwork of the lockers in the old firehouse. Now, they serve as utility closets.

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

With his adoration for old architecture, he decided to keep the original character of the firehouse.

Because of his commitment to bring back life to the neighborhood, he now lives in the building and even bought the adjacent building and other vacant buildings across his home.

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YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen Source: YouTube - Kirsten Dirksen

Many are now encouraged with his vision for restoring Walnut Hills. To follow the recent developments and get more updates, you can check out the historic neighborhood’s account on Instagram.

Check out the video as Hardman brings you to his pizzeria and luxury loft, and be amazed by the $1-property’s transformation.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Source: Kirsten Dirksen, *fair companies, WCPO News, walnuthills, Kent Hardman

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