REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Make a deal on Apex

It does seem a hefty asking price: $7.5 million for a long-neglected factory building, once part of Sandusky's industrial fabri
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

It does seem a hefty asking price: $7.5 million for a long-neglected factory building, once part of Sandusky's industrial fabric and now a shell of falling bricks.

But the former Apex factory on First Street also needs an expensive environmental cleanup.

One idea is admittedly a long way off, if even likely: a public beach. Although a beach would be expensive to build and maintain, it's an idea worth consideration.

The building, owned by Famous Supply Co. of Akron, is used for storage, but there are certainly other potential redevelopment options for the property: a resort area that might complement the LymanHarbor entertainment facility or simply a razed site on which a potential tenant could build.

A big stumbling block is its status as a brownfield site. As with many old industrial properties there are years of ground contamination to contend with from the days when environmental rules weren't as stringent as they are today. A cleanup will be expensive, and that's a liability the city can ill afford.

But a deal could be arranged through the city on behalf of some interested buyer to purchase the site less the cost of cleanup. Famous gets to unload the property and relieve itself of the cleanup liability and a prime site in the city becomes available.

The city has shown it can secure federal cleanup dollars for brownfields and that will offset the cost for local taxpayers.

There are pitfalls, to be sure. The city does not want another mess like that at the Rieger building, where it was the facilitator and now bag-holder for a project more defined by its potholes than any road to success.

But the Apex site is too valuable, both now and potentially, to do nothing.

Famous Supply has a responsibility for the cleanup and repair of the property. It should begin that process; be billed for it; or start serious negotiations to sell it to someone with the vision or wherewithal to redevelop it.