One of Toledo's grand old buildings is about to close.
The Spitzer Building downtown goes to auction, next week. Taxpayer dollars will be spent for upkeep of that building through the winter but there's an ironic twist to this story.
The man who owns the old
building has not paid taxes in years. Now, it's being foreclosed on and
Lucas County would prefer the owner *not pay taxes*.
In many ways, the Spitzer Building is Toledo.
was the city's first shopping mall. It was the first steel framed
building in the city. It's been around for 118-years.... since the
horse and buggy days.
Now, a hip coffee shop is one tenant in the 1895-built building, providing that blend of old and new that makes this building important.
Emily Gessner is the manager at The Bleak House. She loves this old building, telling 13abc's Bill Hormann, "I'd like to see people take that importance and building something with it as opposed to letting that importance be a bad side and part of the decay of downtown."
The Security Building, right across the street, is literally crumbling.
Offices in the Spitzer Building are empty, the fire alarm is broken and the owner owes $180,000 in back taxes.
Next week, the building goes to auction.
Lucas County would prefer the owner *not* pay believing he'll never renovate the building.
The Landbank believes it could find developers who would put in shops and apartments.
Lucas County Treasurer, Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "There really is a market there for people to live in downtown Toledo. It's almost filled to capacity to the point where we need to create more supply."
And this old building could be another jewel in a new downtown.
"You can't replicate this."
Patrice Spitzer does not own the building any longer but she's seen it fall into disrepair. However, she believes the building has a future. She says, "I can't do this but I hope that someone can and I hope we have an angel out there."
Toledo city councilman George Sarantou (R) says the city will put up $10,000 for upkeep of the building this winter.
But that's a one-time donation. The hope is, someone will step up and save the building, otherwise, the city may have to abandon one of its own.