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Beautiful Condemned Building

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For a dilapidated old building, it looks surprisingly decent. Must be the sun shining through.

Peter Venkman: What do you think, Egon?
Egon Spengler: I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.
Ray Stantz: Hey. Does this pole still work?
[slides down a fireman's pole]
Ray Stantz: Wow, this place is great! When can we move in?

The lead character is going into business for him/herself, and hears about a building they can buy. Accompanied by their supportive friend or prospective business partner, they walk in, see the filthy run-down old building... and fall in love. They usually say something like, "Isn't it beautiful?", at which point we switch to the friend's POV and/or the stunned look on their face. Often followed by a Fixin' Stuff Up montage. The building usually got this way because fictional cities Never Recycle a Building.

Can apply to other buildings, old cars, planes and boats and objects as well. The trope plays on POV dissonance between the characters; one sees things as they are, while the other sees things as they could be. The skeptic generally serves as an Audience Surrogate, but the dreamer gets the final say because he's the one paying for it.

In can be Truth in Television if the person assessing the building or object has a wealth of experience assessing these properties or items and they are able to see that it is in fact a well-made building or object which has a high potential for restoration.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • In episode nineteen of Rune Soldier Louie, this is how Merrill views her new house. Her cheerfulness doesn't fade despite multiple mishaps during the Hard-Work Montage. Her True Companions are doubtful, despite this being a step up from her previous run-down shack.

     Comic Books  
  • Alex Hayden of Marvel Comics' Agent X is thrilled to have very his own condemned fun park.
  • Discussed in Civil War (2006), when Doctor Strange conceals the New Avengers in his own mansion, bespelled to look decrepit and boarded up (to twist the knife a bit more, it even wears a "Coming Soon — A Starbucks" banner).
  • In Superboy (1994) Superboy finds a derelict, abandoned and in need of repairs home on Maui that he quickly uses all his money to buy and then moves in with his very unenthusiastic manager and his manager's daughter who both think the place is a dump.

     Films — Animated  
  • The Princess and the Frog: Early in the film, Tiana secures a location for her restaurant, an abandoned mill covered in cobwebs. "Look at it, Mama! Doesn't it wanna make you cry?" Mama agrees, but for different reasons.
  • Up: Carl and Ellie buy the abandoned house where they first met as kids.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Ghostbusters (1984): Ray falls in love with a dilapidated firehouse (primarily because of the sliding pole), and asks when they can move in. Despite Egon's pertinent objections, they end up buying it because Ray provided the startup cash by mortgaging his family property.
  • The First Wives Club: The location for their women's crisis center (which also serves as headquarters while the ladies plot revenge against their evil exes).
  • Accepted: The old mental hospital which would become the South Harmon campus.
  • Revenge of the Nerds: The nerds' frat house.
  • It's a Wonderful Life - Mary is in love with the old Granville house, which at that point is an old abandoned mansion that people throw rocks at. After George and Mary are married, Mary buys the house for them to fix up and live in.
  • The final battle in Spectre takes place in the old MI6 building at Vauxhall Cross, which is now abandoned and scheduled for demolition after the attack in Skyfall.
  • In the first two Herbie movies, The Love Bug and Herbie Rides Again, the little Volkswagen and his human companions live in a condemned, but beautiful, Victorian firehouse overlooking San Francisco.

     Live Action TV  

  • Mal Reynolds has this immediate reaction to the titular spacecraft in Firefly.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Ted's "dream house."
    • One of the story arcs in Season 6 involves Ted being hired to rebuild The Arcadian. The company hiring Ted to redesign the building sees it as it is, Ted and a woman protesting its demolition see it as it was until Ted discovers that the woman is trapped in a loveless marriage and uses these protests as an emotional outlet. Plus, she lived in the hotel as a child, so she views it through a Nostalgia Filter.
  • At the start of the second season of Angel they fight a paranoia demon in the Hyperion Hotel. It had been the site of numerous suicides, a lynching (admittedly, it was of Angel, so he survived), and a massacre when one of the staff made his morning wake up calls with a shotgun. In the middle of Wesley describing this, Angel declares that they're moving in. It's also not close to up to code, which Gavin tries to use against them. They generally took the approach of moving into a room and making it livable, and ignoring the rest of them.
  • 2 Broke Girls: The place Max and Caroline rent for their cupcake shop was a soup kitchen that was closed after a mass shooting inside. When they come to check the place out, the walls were still covered in blood.
  • Bones: Booth and Bones are in need of a new house. Booth uses his FBI connections to pick up one that was heavily damaged in a raid. After initially seeming to be unimpressed Bones tells him she can see the "bones" of the structure and it's a great house.

     Video Games  

  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, CJ is dismayed to discover that the autoshop he won in a race is actually a condemned gas station. His sister and their friends eventually convince him of the building's worth, and he soon manages to renovate it into a successful business.


  • Gunnerkrigg Court has the old workshop Kat's parents allow the girls to use:
    Antimony: It looks a bit empty.
    Kat: True, but it's full of potential.