Tearing down the beautiful but neglected Keller Building would not be productive at all. The Paper District is the smartest and most community-oriented plan the city has for downtown, unlike the Marina District which will just cater to the yacht club crowd and do little to benefit downtown.
The Keller Building will be a mixed-use structure, the most space efficient form of development. New buildings do not have the same appeal restored historic ones do. I would strongly urge the city commission and other officials, as well as the citizens of Sandusky, to educate themselves about smart growth, Traditional Neighborhood Development, New Urbanism and other progressive city planning disciplines proven to improve towns and cities.
We can't beg anyone to bring money and business to our town at the expense of the community. We can't just fly by the seat of our pants and develop recklessly. We have to have a clear vision and plan of what we want downtown and the rest of the city to be.
I applaud the developer for proposing what this city really needs, not just more unaffordable condominiums. We need stylish, modern apartments the majority of people can afford.
That's the key. If one just looks to the second and third floors of any of the Columbus Avenue, Market Street or Water Street storefronts, the buildings are hollow, vacant and just begging to be renovated.
A smart city government would regulate these businesses and demand they at least maintain their buildings properly. There are hundreds of apartments and offices just waiting to be created downtown. Once we provide housing desired by the kind of people who will actually live downtown, business will come. As for the Keller Building, it and the Reiger Building are two of the most valuable assets to downtown. I would be very interested in living in the Keller Building when and if it's completed. Here's hoping the city has the vision and the will to make the Paper District happen and that we don't give up before we even get started.