Four Northeast Ohio projects are among the 18 projects statewide that have been awarded state historic tax credits. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the credits and the properties they’ll help reshape.
The biggest project is the nearly $54 million conversion of the old Halle Brothers building on Playhouse Square into a mix of apartments, commercial and retail space. It’s getting tax credits of $5 million. The Halles built the white terra-cotta building in 1910 as a high-end department store. Developer K&D paid $20 million for it two years ago, and the building saw major security upgrades this summer when officials were headquartered there during the Republican National Convention.
Two other Cleveland projects – rehabilitation of the Empire Building’s commercial space on Superior Avenue and conversion of the Bloch Building in the warehouse district -- are getting a total of about $1.25 million in tax credits.
The fourth Northeast Ohio project is in Kent, where the L.N. Gross manufacturing building is being converted into office, light industrial and residential space. It’s getting about $900,000 in credits toward the more than $9 million project.
The credits – which generally top out at $5 million per project are designed to attract private redevelopment of historic buildings and landmarks. They cover up to 25 percent of rehabilitation expenses.
Here's the complete list of projects approved today for the credits:
Bloch Block (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
- Total Project Cost: $2,845,270
- Total Tax Credit: $249,000
- Address: 1273-75 West Ninth Street, 44113
Built in 1868, the Bloch Block is a four story building in Cleveland's Warehouse historic district. The first floor currently has one commercial tenant, but the upper three floors have been empty for 20 years or more. After rehabilitation, the upper floors will be home to 12 new market-rate apartments, and the main floor and basement will provide space for additional commercial tenants.
Empire Improvement Building (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
- Total Project Cost: $10,183,296
- Total Tax Credit: $1,000,000
- Address: 2101 Superior Avenue, 44114
The Empire Improvement Building in Cleveland's Superior Avenue Historic District was constructed as light industrial space in 1913. It originally housed a series of textile manufacturers important to Cleveland's garment industry. In more recent years, other light industrial tenants occupied the building but it is now nearly 100 percent vacant. The project will rehabilitate four floors as commercial office space for a single corporate client. The basement and fifth floor are not included in the scope of this project.
Halle Building (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
- Total Project Cost: $53,518,768
- Total Tax Credit: $5,000,000
- Address: 1228 Euclid Ave, 44115
Once one of downtown Cleveland's premier department stores, the Halle Building will be revived as commercial, retail, and residential spaces. One hundred twenty-two apartments will be constructed in the six highest floors, retail space will be located on the ground floor with commercial space located in between. The significant terra cotta facade will be cleaned and repaired and decorative spaces from the days of the Halle Brothers Co. such as elevator lobbies and stairways will be retained.
L.N. Gross Company Building (Kent, Portage County)
- Total Project Cost: $9,111,371
- Total Tax Credit: $906,000
- Address: 315 Gougler Ave., 44240
The L.N. Gross Company Building was constructed as a facility for a women's clothing manufacturer. It served a variety of industrial and warehouse tenants over the years with its most recent tenant vacating in early 2016. Only the second tax credit project to be awarded in Kent, this project will become revitalized office and light industrial space and two residential units.
Columbus Avenue Revitalization Project (Sandusky, Erie County)
- Total Project Cost: $9,336,600
- Total Tax Credit: $1,623,000
- Address: 238-240 and 256 Columbus Avenue & 115 E. Washington Row, 44870
This project consists of two historic buildings in downtown Sandusky: The Kingsbury is a nearly vacant, mixed use building with commercial space on the first floor and apartments above. The Commercial Banking and Trust building served the bank's needs until the 1970s when it was reused as a church, but it has been vacant since 2014. After the rehabilitation, the buildings will bring reactivated commercial spaces on the ground floor, office space for the City of Sandusky, and 12 market rate and affordable apartments on the upper floors.
Lima Trust Building (First National Bank) (Lima, Allen County)
- Total Project Cost: $19,114,103
- Total Tax Credit: $2,355,000
- Address: 43 Town Square, 45801
The Lima Trust Building sits in a prominent location in downtown Lima. Constructed in 1926, it housed a bank, offices, and retail spaces but is now almost completely vacant. After rehabilitation, the building will house commercial space on the first floor and 47 one, two, and three bedroom apartments on the upper floors. Historic features such as decorative windows and plaster work, wood trim, marble floors, and original chandeliers will be retained.
Tunison Flats (Tiffin, Seneca County)
- Total Project Cost: $620,902
- Total Tax Credit: $99,031
- Address: 105-107 Frost Parkway, 44883
The Tunison Flats project is the first to be awarded state tax credits in Tiffin. Constructed as a duplex in the late 1880s, this building was later converted into four apartments. This project will rehabilitate the brick building into three apartments while preserving the original staircases, fireplace mantels, wood trim, and windows.
Budd Dairy/174 Detroit (Columbus, Franklin County)
- Total Project Cost: $24, 928,750
- Total Tax Credit: $1,999,000
- Address: 1086 N. Fourth St. and 174 Detroit Ave., 43201
This project will rehabilitate two historic buildings in Columbus' Italian Village neighborhood and includes new construction residential buildings on the sites as well. The Budd Dairy building, which served as a milk processing and distribution facility for decades will be rehabilitated for a variety of restaurant and commercial uses. The vacant warehouse at 174 Detroit will be rehabilitated into 20 apartments.
Newark High School (Newark, Licking County)
- Total Project Cost: $2,995,000
- Total Tax Credit: $260,000
- Address: 112 W. Main Street, 43055
The former Newark High School, two blocks west of the courthouse square, will be rehabilitated into 30 market rate apartments. Many of the historic features remaining from its use as a school will be maintained such as chalkboards, wood trim, stairways, and corridors. Vacant since 2012, the building will contribute to redevelopment efforts in downtown Newark.
Stratford M.E. Church (Delaware, Delaware County)
- Total Project Cost: $996,758
- Total Tax Credit: $191,538
- Address: 2960 Columbus Pike, 43015
Built in 1843 to serve members of the small mill community of Stratford, south of Delaware, the Stratford M.E. church remained active until 1958. Aside from some marginal uses and maintenance, it has been mostly vacant. After rehabilitation, the church will become the offices for David Kerr Architect LLC. The historic sanctuary space will be retained and the original stone walls repaired.
Litt Brothers Building (Xenia, Greene County)
- Total Project Cost: $828,942
- Total Tax Credit: $183,714
- Address: 21 E. Main Street, 45385
The Litt Brothers Building, constructed c. 1875, faces Xenia's courthouse square. Home to Xenia Shoe and Leather Repair on the first floor for many years, the upper floors have seen decades of vacancy. This rehabilitation project will reactivate the second and third floors for five one and two bedroom apartments. The owners hope this project will provide momentum to revitalize other downtown buildings in Xenia.
United Brethren Building (Dayton, Montgomery County)
- Total Project Cost: $46,360,135
- Total Tax Credit: $5,000,000
- Address: 40 S. Main Street, 45402
The United Brethren Building in downtown Dayton once housed the publishing house for the United Brethren along with other commercial and office tenants. Constructed beginning in 1904, the building had a series of additions and its tallest portion rises to 21 stories. After the denomination moved out in the 1950s the building had numerous tenants over the years, most recently government offices on some of the upper floors and retail on the ground floor. The building, now completely vacant for a number of years, will be rehabilitated into 164 new apartment units with commercial spaces available for lease on the main level.
1810 Campbell Street (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
- Total Project Cost: $1,809,547
- Total Tax Credit: $250,000
- Address: 1810 Campbell St., 45202
This building in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine historic district is part of the larger revitalization project called Market Square at Findlay Market by the Model Group. Vacant for many years, the building will be rehabilitated for commercial office use.
1925 Vine Street (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
- Total Project Cost: $1,814,236
- Total Tax Credit: $249,000
- Address: 1925 Vine St., 45202
Located on the northern edge of the Over-the-Rhine historic district, 1925 Vine will be returned to service as a residential building, as it was from the time it was constructed in the 1850s until it was abandoned a few decades ago. The 20 residential units will be a combination of studio and one-bedroom apartments and will feature original staircases, wood floors, wood trim, and fireplace mantels. OTR Adopt played a role in saving the building.
509 E. 12th Street (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
- Total Project Cost: $1,073,442
- Total Tax Credit: $150,000
- Address: 509 E. 12th St., 45202
The two buildings in this project sit on the front and rear of a single parcel in the Pendleton area of the Over-the-Rhine historic district. After serving as housing for approximately 130 years, the buildings sat vacant for another 20 and finally suffered a fire earlier in 2016. The buildings will be rehabilitated into seven one and two bedroom apartments.
Dollar Federal Bank Building (Hamilton, Butler County)
- Total Project Cost: $1,577,098
- Total Tax Credit: $250,000
- Address: 2 South Third St., 45011
The Dollar Federal Bank Building was constructed in 1958, an example of Mid-Century modern architecture in Hamilton's Downtown Historic District. This project will rehabilitate two of the upper floors to again serve as commercial office space.
Liberty and Elm (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
- Total Project Cost: $21,444,861
- Total Tax Credit: $1,358,772
- Address: 212 and 214 (front and rear) W. Liberty St., 1711 and 1713 Elm St., 45202
The Liberty and Elm project in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine historic district will rehabilitate five historic buildings and build more than 100,000 square feet of new construction on currently vacant lots. About 15 percent of the project will be first floor retail space with the remainder finished as 109 apartment units.
Market Square III (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
- Total Project Cost: $17,012,186
- Total Tax Credit: $1,690,000
- Address: 30, 34, 124 Findlay, 1821, 1834, 1936, 1941 Race, 41 W. McMicken, 45202
The Market Square III project in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine historic district will rehabilitate eight primarily vacant historic buildings. Located near Findlay Market, these buildings were once a collection of residential and mixed use commercial storefronts with residential units above. After rehabilitation by the Model Group, the buildings will serve again as retail and office spaces and 38 residential units. One non-historic building will be demolished and a new commercial building constructed in its place.