Even Warren Buffett doesn't want old Berkshire HQ

Warren Buffett

The mayor of New Bedford, Mass., wants to save Berkshire Hathaway's old headquarters, but Warren Buffett isn't interested.

The Wall Street Journal reports the owner of the 86-year-old "squat, dilapidated office building" at 129 Cove Street wants to build a parking lot in its place but has agreed to wait a few months while the city looks for a buyer for what once housed the Berkshire Hathaway textile company.

While the roof leaks water and most of the oxidized copper molding has been stolen, the offices do feature oak and mahogany paneling and a marble fireplace. It was put up for sale in 2008 for $500,000.

To Mayor Jon Mitchell, it's a piece of business history. He tells the Journal, "This is where the Berkshire Hathaway empire was launched. It has a very significant connection not only to New Bedford's history but to the life and times of Warren Buffett."

Buffett, then 34 years old, bought the company in 1965 because he was angry at its management and wound up losing money on the deal.

In a 2010 interview on CNBC, Buffett said his holding company would be "worth twice as much as it is now" if he had bought a good insurance company instead of dumping money into the dying textile business. He said it was the "dumbest" stock he ever purchased.

The building's owner, Roland Letendre, contacted Buffett in October about the availability of the building, the Journal said.

But Buffett said he has no interest in coming to the building's rescue. "I don't know what you'd do with that place," he told the Journal.

-By CNBC's Alex Crippen. Follow him on Twitter: @alexcrippen

image: © Mark Hirschey

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts