Leave Feedback

Bye bye Keller building?

Andy Ouriel • Aug 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

City commissioners plan to vote Monday on a proposal to raze the Keller Building on West Shoreline Drive.

"It's necessary that it comes down now," commissioner Wes Poole said. "The building has reached the point where we haven't had any viable offers to utilize it. It is deteriorating from exposure to the weather, and we have made a decision that it's going to come down."

Keller Building bits

• Sandusky city commissioners plan to vote Monday on a proposal to demolish the Keller Building.

• The demolition costs, including environmental work, are estimated at $550,000.

• At the earliest, the condemned West Shoreline Drive building will come down in 2014.

If a majority of commissioners approve the vote, officials will then seek out contractors and obtain project costs. The condemned structure could fall as early as 2014, Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein said. Engineers are still working with project consultants to hammer out a construction timeline.

Klein, in a memo to commissioners, estimated the demolition cost and related environmental work would run about $550,000. A bond would cover $400,000, while city funds would cover the remaining $150,000.

Earlier this year, city commissioners agreed to borrow up to $2.7 million in bonds to help pay for the Keller Building's demolition.

In the past, city officials have leveraged these funds to make various improvements in this area, such as:

• Building a public walkway around the Chesapeake Lofts.

• Repairing the emergency breakwall.

• Establishing the Paper District Marina.

In the recent past, city officials have addressed some Keller Building concerns. They spent $19,000 in September 2012 to tear down the crumbling chimney, then $26,000 in April for a preliminary demolition plan.

Meanwhile, a portion of West Shoreline Drive by the Keller Building will remain closed until the building comes down, Klein said.

Fears about safety risks peaked in February 2012, when a brick fell from the building's chimney and plummeted several stories onto West Shoreline Drive. No one was injured, but the situation still concerns nearby residents, who say they'd be pleased to see the building torn down.

"It's a deathtrap," said West Shoreline Drive resident Bob Gentzel, who represents a group of residents at the nearby Chesapeake Lofts.

Since February 2012, officials blocked off the area, a main corridor leading from the Paper District Marina to the downtown business district.

Another mystery revolves around the building's iconic water tower.

"We have had phone calls requesting to have it and to buy it," Klein said. "At this point, it's going to be the contractor's responsibility."

Recommended for You