The mortar holding the brick facade of the Rieger Lofts is crumbling -- but plans for the lofts aren't.
City officials had to block off Market Street in front of the former Hotel Rieger, also known as the Sanduskian Hotel, because bricks were falling off the roofline of the building's north-facing facade Tuesday morning.
Greg Spatz, building owner and president of U.S. Construction, said he wants to start renovating the building into loft-style units and business office space if he can get past further hurdles, but said the crumbling facade will be stabilized immediately.
Spatz is in the process of securing loans and awaiting the state's decision on a possible tax credit grant that 232 Jackson Street LLC, Rieger Lofts LLC, and Rieger Commercial LLC applied for July 1.
He expects to know by September whether or not the project is eligible for the new state program that gives tax breaks to those restoring and rejuvenating old buildings for new purposes.
"Hopefully we will have loans secured and be ready to start late fall," he said.
Carrie Handy, chief planner for the city of Sandusky's Department of Development, and other city staff used a fire department ladder truck to assess the condition of the brick.
"There's quite a bit of mortar missing," Handy said.
Spatz applauded Chesapeake developers for showing customers what can be done with old buildings and said the completion of the project is helping to show the development potential for other historic buildings in Sandusky including the Rieger.
Spatz is hoping to do more than stabilize the loose bricks on the roofline and begin the window and masonry restoration with a private source of funding he is working to secure.