Main Street group considers downtown Sandusky building rehab

For Sale: Building in prime waterfront location. Needs TLC.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 11, 2013

Sandusky Main Street Association has first right of refusal for the building at 109 E. Water St., an abandoned structure wedged alongside Water Street Bar and Grille.

In all, the association spent about $34,000 to help fund a building analysis, perform minor construction and preliminary design work.

"We have the first right to buy the building from the owners. If it's deemed feasible, we'll move forward with it," association executive director John Lippus said. "It would be a complete building restoration."

For more on this potential renovation project and its costs, pick up a copy of Friday's Register.



@ reader - Exactly, how did they get the funds for this? What product or service do they sell? Oh wait it's FREE grant money provided by the grant fairies!

Destroy it and put in a park. People have to come to a realization that nothing is forever... except the Keller Building!!


The main problem is the owners. The owners think these falling down buildings that are on the waterfront are worth a fortune. This particular building had been the real estate magazines for a while. Last time I saw the listing they were asking $1 million.


Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages. Welcome to your new Sandusky City Building. Worried about parking availablity? Don't be. The power-brokers believe a parking problem downtown is a good thing.


I have been in the building recently, The structure is sound, everyone should calm down and see what happens.


Sandusky will never be what it once was, the buildings are on The National Histrical List, so you can't go in and knock walls down or add on to without knocking it off the wonder noone wants to move downtown, or the buildings can't be rented out....they need to revamp all of downtown so they can put new buildings up so people will want to move to downtown, if you ask me downtown Sandusky has moved to Rt.250

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I certainly hope for the best. Getting new neighbors is always a good thing, but there certainly does need to be a plan in place. Having doing a lot of business restructuring and research myself lately with the SBDC, RISE, and other similar programs it can be tough to put thoughts to paper in a way that lenders or investors are interested in committing the funds to follow through. Asking for $1M on that building, if that is the case, does seem a bit excessive considering the quote I am working with to purchase the building I am in. Unless a water view honestly is what does it?


Hero Zone. How much $$ can you shove into an antique building before it becomes inviable? A shell of the facade looks cool and all, but the windows, the heating, the plumbing, the flooring, the sound proofing, et all? Where do you draw the line?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Oh I agree, Luv. The cost to even appraise a building is high as even this article points out $34,000. It's not even public places that need evaluations but private lenders too. EPA screenings, special material handling, there is a lot of expense involved and that is all BEFORE any money is put on the land/building! I don't say that so much to gripe about the EPA, but just in the general context that the mere act of showing interest can cost ~$50k.

Perhaps it is because I don't have a lot (in the grand scheme of things) invested in downtown monetarily nor sentimentally that I am all for the clean out or knock down of derelict buildings to be eventually replaced by something better and more modern - which in the case of nostalgia can very well have an older facade. There is a crossing point though where renovation succumbs to demolition.

Looking at modern uses for buildings from a residential or commercial standpoint there is such a huge gap in use/need and cost control from 50-100 years ago. Quality and standards of life issues for residents or downtown in general. It's a weird juggling act. I count my blessings that I am in a relatively newer building in the downtown area, yet I still have many of the up front costs to get various approvals before anything is done with it.


Watch. Unless some monumental event occurs this is a dream. Facts are too many are struggling. For the most part there are no real decent jobs that pay living wages. You'll figger out the rest.


I had the opportunity to purchase downtown. The problem is the buildings need too much work to be safe and usable. Unless you have a lot of money to throw at them its better to look somewhere else to get the best bang for your buck. Downtown is not what it was and people need to just deal with it.


I'm not certain that the Sandusky Main Street Association really benefits themselves by going into the real estate business. Sounds like it could be an awful lot of headaches and misdirected energies.

Comment to Biz,

You have a lot of great ideas.

Certainly in this great land of ours there exists city revitalization plans with successful track records that blueprint every phase of development right down to square inch.

At any rate my suggestion to perk up downtown is a daily shuttle shuttling between the city's parking lots and the downtown businesses that would run every half hour or so with pickup and drop off points on each corner. In addition, businesses could entice potential customers to park in the city lots by giving riders specials' coupons.


Just follow the City's "old" money.

Don't think for a moment DMSA is footing the bill for the property purchase and/or renovations. More than likely a local philanthropist or two are financing the project. Odds are when the building is completed, it will house government offices whether it be the City Court or City offices.

One thing ic for sure--we will never know who is actually footing the bill-DMSA is not required to make public their funding sources.


"The Flats" in Cleveland isn't perhaps the best reference to compare this project to, whereas the Warehouse District is a better comparison, which has been a major success for many years. The benefits of historic preservation are largely underrated here as in many mid-west communities. In most cases the preservation and utilization of existing older buildings has been tremendously successful when preservation projects are implemented; Medina being a perfect example of the balance between new construction sprawl on vacant land and the preservation of buildings with historic integrity and design within a city center. It is well understood that growing communities need new construction for growth but it is less understood that the loss of existing historically interesting structures increases the inertia of downtown district decay. The value of preserving these types of districts is immeasurable at times when hasty decisions to either remove them or simply allowing them to fall into disrepair. If the city wishes to make centrally located neighborhoods and districts safe, valuable and desirable it is wise to invest in them. It is not only environmentally responsible but projects to those living in the city or visiting the sense of pride to the city's unique aesthetics and responsibility to its economy.

BW1's picture

The warehouse district has already begun the slide downscale, with all the attendant problems.


It might depend on how "decline" is being measured; Or perhaps it is simply a retort against an opposite idea. Cleveland's Warehouse District continues to draw people by implementing a combination of retail, restaurant and residential space with existing structures. By doing so it keeps property values higher, neighborhoods safer and creates revenue for the city. It is undoubtedly a challenge for cities with shrinking populations to attract people after an area is already in decline, which in itself supports the idea of the benefits of utilizing existing historic buildings through restoration and preservation, city planning, business incentives and a plethora of other benefits in sustaining these types of projects.


Use it as a 24 hr. homeless shelter, liquor store, fight club or soul food restaurant. It will thrive!