Let's dance! Fire house could rock

ASKING: $475,000

SQUARE FEET: 10,000 sq. ft.

YEAR BUILT: 1955 / updated 1976

ADDRESS: 5361 Spotswood Trail

NEIGHBORHOOD: Barboursville

CURB APPEAL: 2 out of a possible 10

LISTED BY: Ronnie Hartsook - Montague, Miller & Co. 540-832-3065

Eyes down!

That resounding call to action has started so many Bingo games over the years that they probably number in the googols (look it up). And Bingo has been very good to the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department. So good, in fact, that thanks to weekly games over the years, the company was able to abandon this, their original fire house, and build a brand new one a little way up the road.

That's good news for real estate shoppers with some imagination, because the old place is now for sale in all its Fire House Glory. But what exactly does that mean?

First of all, it means that a prime piece of real estate 1.83 acres, with parking for 250 vehicles is currently on the market right in the heart of downtown Barboursville, within sight of the Barboursville Playhouse, and a hop, skip, and jump from the Barboursville vineyards and Palladio restaurant.

And if that's not enough to make you drop your little kernels of corn, how about what's inside the place? For starters, of course, there's the big (2,640 sq. ft.) room where the fire engines used to sit waiting for the bell to clang. (The bell isn't there any more, alas, but there's a big Klaxon, and the PA system is still intact.)

Prospective buyers so far have had novel ideas for this space. Some antique dealers have wanted to fill it with display tables and pack in the Avon bottles and pie safes. Some, eyeing the concrete floor, have dreamed of lining up cages and opening a dog training school or kennel. Less creative types have mumbled about insurance offices, or car restoration businesses.

One thing you can't do here is open a restaurant. Something about "perking." The septic system, apparently, cannot handle the plumbing demands of an eatery ("50 gallons per seat," according to the agent).

But other than that, obviously the possibilities are endless.

Because the big fire-engine bays are just the beginning of the fun. The real potential for buyers with some pizzazz is the other big room in the place: a 5,688 sq. ft. "ballroom," complete with fireplace, kitchen space, and great '50s men's and ladies' bathrooms done up in yellow (hers) and orange (his) tile.

As we poked around this ballroom, admiring the glass bricks surrounding the fireplace, the impressive sweep of the linoleum floor, we could almost hear the fiddles and the stomping feet and imagine a hoe-down of majestic proportions. (250 parking spaces, don't forget.)

So if you're heading to your car to make the trip up Route 33 to get a look for yourself, you'll want to know some technical particulars. There are three cooling and heating systems (oil furnace and air conditioning). There's a "drop ceiling throughout." Another plus: "multiple panels (electric)." One downer: the "membrane roof" has a few problem spots. But, hey, in a 5,688 sq. ft. ballroom, you can strategically position a few buckets here and there, right?

The parcel is zoned light commercial and limited residential and can be rezoned into commercial, according to the agent.

A truly imaginative planner is probably already ordering the kegs, booking the bands, and getting ready for a summer of fun in the old fire station at 5362 Spotswood Trail.

"Mustang Sally," "My Girl," "Boogie-oogie-oogie"we can hear it now. Just, please, no "Light My Fire."