Building Construction
Old 501c3 Info

Why Miniature World Of Trains Museum Can Not Be Built, Can't Find A Home!
Update 04/02/23

Frank Ruby
Founder and President Lilliput LLC
/ dba Miniature World of Trains™ ™

The return of the Miniature World of Trains™ status!

First a little back story.

Since 2010 the Miniature World of Trains™  has been trying create a top notch world class group of highly sophisticated model train displays that are both fun but educational as well.

Examples would be Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg and the Porsche Museum in Germany, Grand Maket Rossiya in Russia, Little Canada in Canada and Entertrainment in Ohio to name a few. However, the new Miniature World of Trains™  wanted to create a new group of new displays unlike anything seem in North America.

Back in 2010, right after the non profit version of the concept was created, a 30,000sf former Winn Dixie was offered to the MWOT™ concept for free. The catch, it needed about a one million dollar over haul! We had to pass on that deal.

At this same time we created the first Christmas Display for the Children’s Museum of the Upstate with full sponsorship for MTH-Railking, Lionel and Atlas O. We did this in the space of two weeks for Thanksgiving.

In the forth quarter of 2010 the concept negotiated a $1.5M sponsorship donation from the Siemens corporation via 7 separate $200k donations from each division of the company. The deal was almost complete in late 2010 when one of our board members did not follow up as I pleaded that he do. When he finally did so, the Siemens contact went back to Germany for Christmas. When he returned in 2011, Siemens was reorganized into 5 divisions and our contact was in a new position. We could not resurrect that deal.

Soon after I negotiated a lease of just $20,000 p/m for an old Sam’s Club on Laurens Rd. But they wanted to sell the building for a mere $3M dollars. I was working on the funding with BB&T bank and the State of South Carolina. At the same time MWOT™ created a second Christmas Display for the City of Fountain Inn which drew some 2,000 in its limited two week run in early December 2010 and the redisplay located at the N Pleasantburg office location through Christmas 2011.

During this time a development company purchased the Sam's Club building for cash and promptly tore it down for future development.

Following the success for the Fountain Inn display MWOT™ was approached by a local grocery chain to take over one of their closed properties. After 4 months of negotiations we could not come to an agreement.

That same day the MWOT™ Beta test location came available and the deal for the 5,000sf to create the first MWOT™ HO test display and house the current Christmas Display was agreed to that same day!

A 2.5 year lease was signed for the MWOT™ Test which would allow us to seek a new location. That lease ended in the summer of 2015 when the board of directors decided to end the non profit. Though the parking issues in the area and new construction with a construction crane to be placed right outside of entrance, the BETA test still drew some 80,000 in total of the two years. This was done without parking or any advertising!

But, up until last month we have not been able to find a viable location, though we got close with a 60,000sf former grocery store back in late 2019.

Then the Covid situation hit and in early 2022 the new for profit Lillput LLC™ was formed to find a viable location.

Well after a year of searching and losing out on several locations that a AAA fitness business was scooping up, we finally have found a location that this fitness company seems not to be seeking that will work for MWOT™!

In March 2023 CEO Kelly Orr submitted a Letter Of Intent to lease 27,000sf of space just off I-85 in Greenville, SC. I have hoped to have this great location open by the holidays in 2023! But the owner kept dragging their feet. We had $700,000 has been committed to getting the venue for the project started by June 2023 if not sooner! But that does not seem to be likely to happen as of this update because of the lack of response from the owner. 

Already, I have the plans for the new larger O Scale Christmas Model Train Display™ and the new larger Miniature World of Trains™ HO Display have been created for this location but we have no commitment from the property owner these will not be built.

The plan was to start building a Christmas Model Train Display™ as soon possible along with the set back barriers for the first two displays. At the same time we wanted to begin the addition of 16’ and 10’ high partition walls, update the flooring and paint. At this point this will  not happen and there are no other locations for the project in the Greenville, SC area but again this will not happen it seems

The only other option is to build from scratch. However, the cost to acquire the land and build PHASE I is $7M. So, as of this update I do not think the project has the investors to reach the $7M threshold.

Where does the blame sit for the funding issues the project when it was a non profit and there was plenty of locations to lease?

Originally, the first president of the non profit version for the concept was Roland Stadelman. He advised he could get the needed $1.5M from his clients in the Tryon, SC area. Just after the submission of the 501c3 paperwork to the IRS, he abruptly resigned for the Board of Directors and thus the potential funding went away. At this point I took over the reins of the non profit as president.

Once the 501c3 was approved in early September 2010 we began looking for locations and funding. This is when board member Ed Eichelberger and I worked on the Siemens deal. Because of his lack of follow up the $1.5M deal went away!

After this, Roland Stadelmann rejoined the team again in mid 2011 promising the funding from his contacts. Not one dollar was donated from these contacts. Simply stated he lied! He quit again!

So as of today with about half of the needed $1.5M committed to but I can not find a location to house the project. The build from scratch option is not going to happen at this point either with no one with deep pockets stepping up to fund the project.

So, after trying to get the viable project funded over the last 13 years I am giving up and will  not be moving forward with any activity. I have wasted all this time. So I am done! Frankly, I have other things to do. I tried and have failed.

The LOI is still out there but I do not hold out any hope that this will be accepted by the owner of the property. If, by some miracle it is approved then I will step back in but and will not be actively working on the project as of this update.

So, I am putting all my efforts into my personal layout the Denver, Front Range and Rocky Mountain Railroad under the Miniature World of Trains™ website since I own the site and the MWOT™ name. So updates on the layout will be under this name at this time.

This layout / display is located in a 30' x 40' / 2,400sf out building. The DFR&RMRR is located on the upper floor and is on 3 levels. I started working on this back in 2010 after dismantling my European N scale layout that was in this space prior to the new HO layout.

The past 13 years I have been working, as time permits between work and the Miniature World of Trains™, on the DFR&RMRR™.
The great thing about the DFR&RMRR™ is that I will be incorporating some of the features and special effects I planned for the MWOT™ into the  DFR&RMRR™!

Now it is  time to work on this layout full time!

Frank Ruby
Founder and President Lilliput LLC


Copyright Miniature World of Trains / Denver, Front Range & Rocky Mountain Railroad / DFR&RMRR / Frank Ruby 2023

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