Man wants to lease Conimicut Light from Warwick
WARWICK, R.I. — Three years ago, Nick Korstad sold his condo, quit his job working for Marriott, and put up $56,000 to buy the Borden Flats Lighthouse at the top of Mount Hope Bay from the U.S. Coast Guard that had only maintained the light itself since 1963.
"Aside from periodic exterior maintenance, the inside had been left to the elements. The windows had all been pulled out. Rain was allowed to come in, all the weather," said Korstad, who is from Oregon.
The lighthouse was built in 1881, and the Coast Guard continues to maintain the light.
"I was probably a lighthouse keeper in a past life and this is kind of what I want to do with my life," Korstad said.
Korstad spent countless hours doing most of the $20,000 upgrade himself. He now has a fully-furnished, historically-recreated 500 square feet, with living room, kitchen and a bed. He makes his money running tours, and renting it out for overnight stays.
"The romantic notion that people have of being a lighthouse keeper, that's what you're paying to come out here and experience," he said.
There's a toilet, and a tank, but no shower. One night stays are the maximum.
"I started out kayaking out here with gallons of paint and materials and they thought I was just crazy," Korstad said.
With the success of Borden Light, Korstad wants to lease the Conimicut Lighthouse from the city of Warwick for 15 years.
"I was out just touring the bay, decided to contact the city, if they'd be interested in an agreement to allow me to fix it up in return to rent it out to make the money back in the cost to restore it," he said.
"It's great. It's a win for us. It's not an investment in city money, but we get an operable lighthouse that adds to our tourism and adds to our economic development," said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedesian.
It appears lighthouses are Korstad's calling, and bringing them back to their majesty is his mission.