There was a receptionist behind a tempered glass partition. She looked up at them for a moment, “Mr. Krupp’s office is down the hallway to the left,” then looked back down at her crossword.
Wallace and his friend walked down to find the office, where Mr. Krupp welcomed them, evidently mistaking them for someone with a prior appointment. “We haven’t listed the building yet, but the price is firm. Would you like to take a look around?” Wallace agreed.
They toured each floor of the building with the owner. The place was trashed - boarded windows, no daylight, and no fresh air. One floor was filled with oil-driven sewing machines, a Latino woman hunched over each one, hard at work. At their feet, the floors were scorched where sparks from the electrical conduit had ignited the oil-soaked wood.
On the next floor up, Wallace remembers men pulling silk screens at rows upon rows of tables, stretching from the front wall to the back of the enormous space. There was paint everywhere, and a smell of turps and lacquer so strong that he felt heady walking in. “It was dreadful. A sweatshop. I knew I would have to completely gut the space. But the building had so much potential.”
They headed back down to the office, where Wallace explained to the owner “I’m not who you think I am, but I want to buy the building. I just need a couple of weeks to come up with the money.” Mr. Krupp said he didn’t care who bought the place, he was firm on the price and just needed to sell it.
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