SIDNEY — The city of Sidney is beginning the process of taking possession of the foreclosed Ohio Building.
On Tuesday afternoon, Sidney City Council voted 5 to 2 to take the title of the building, located at 113 N. Ohio Ave., by way of an expedited foreclosure. Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan and Council member Joe Ratermann voted no.
“If (the city of Sidney) didn’t take possession of the building and get it ‘buttoned up,’ we would be saving for a demolition. It would be (a situation) just like the Taylor Building. It would end up as a parking lot,” Sidney City Manager Mark Cundiff said.
In 2011, after absentee ownership and serious deterioration, the city was forced to demolish the historic Taylor Building, which was located at the northeast corner of Poplar Street and Main Avenue.
The Ohio Building was originally erected as a three-story office building in 1922. Over the years, the building had been renovated, adding two additional stories, and updated to include an elevator that accesses all six levels. It has remained vacant for at least the past 5 years and now is in need of serious repairs.
“If you keep losing buildings in downtown, and the goal is to revitalize downtown — and that’s one of council’s goals — it will be very difficult to revive. If it (the Ohio Building) goes, we wouldn’t have any another five-story building in the downtown,” Cundiff said, when speaking of the goal of bringing new businesses downtown.
Sidney Law Director Jeffrey Amick explained to the Sidney Daily News that an expedited foreclosure is relatively new to Ohio and deals with abandoned, unoccupied land with unpaid taxes for at least two years. This method, as its name suggests, is a quicker process afforded to public entities than the standard foreclosure proceeding, which usually takes six to nine months from start to finish.
Amick said the proceeding must be initiated by the county prosecutor for public entities as the end user. It shortens the process for interested municipalities by omitting the step of a public sale, as in a standard foreclosure. Also, the county treasurer can wave the collection of back taxes if it will be obtained by a public entity.
Amick said the goal is to get the abandoned, non-productive property back to an income producing, productive property for the community again.
There will be a small amount of money exchanged when the agreement is made, Amick said. The city of Sidney will be responsible to reimburse some of the county’s out of pocket costs associated with the property, such as title examination fees, court costs and/or local newspaper publication costs.
According Cundiff, the building has not had a “clean title,” for a while, so, it likely has been a deterrent for potential buyers. However, once the city takes possession, the title will be considered a clean title and may be easier to attract businesses.
Cundiff said the building needs a new roof, although they may be able to patch it until they can take on the large roof replacement expense. Also, it has water damage within the upper floors and the basement. He also said the elevator mechanics probably needs replaced and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit, wiring and plumbing may be in question, too. He said the city has an at least two-year-old building inspection that may need revised.
Cundiff said when the city controls the building, they can determine what happens in regard to repairs and allows flexibility to seek an investor. He said if the city has control to make immediate repairs they can to save the Ohio Building.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.