Just say no to eleventh hour developers

Dec 31, 2013


The wrecking ball is just days away from taking its first demolition strike to the Keller Building when a developer comes forward to try to halt the whole process. The developer states that halting wrecking balls at the eleventh hour is a common practice. The eleventh hour development might be practiced in some cities, but that is not how Sandusky should be operating. The city always suffers financially when it doesn’t do its due diligence when it comes to developers and their projects. 
The following was the developer’s proposal for the Keller building:
• Upon agreement, the developer will make masonry and roof repairs within 90 days.
• Upon completion and within 30 days of the repairs, the city will provide the developer the ownership of the building and $400,000 from the Paper District TIF.
• Developer needs to achieve sufficient dedicated parking by using street parking directly contiguous to the building.
• Developer needs a 75% tax abatement based on the future value of the property for 15 years.
• The developer intends to apply for State Historic Tax Credits and Federal Historic Tax Credits by March 30, 2014. If successful, notice of award will not be announced until June 30, 2014 with completion of the development projected 18 months later. In the event the developer is unsuccessful in the March 2014 round, he will reapply in the September round.
Why the developer thinks he is entitled to $400,000 from the TIF money was not explained. If the Historical Society had done its homework, it would have known that the $400,000 of TIF money is restricted to debt pay down until 2019. Besides, even if the TIF money was available, I think the city would have a lot of explaining to do when handing over $400,000 to a developer while trying to deal with budget cuts.
There is no guarantee the developer would obtain the credits needed and the risk would be much too great leaving the city in a bad situation. Credits are not that easy to obtain when one other developer tried and was not successful. The process could take up to 2 years if the first attempt for credits should fail, all the while the building would continue to deteriorate. Another risk for the city would be the expense of breaching the contractor’s contract.
Within 30 days, the developer would take possession of the property and the $400,000 TIF money before the city would know the outcome of the historical credits. The situation could leave the city cleaning up private property due to the surrender of the title if the project did not work out. Does it make any sense for the city to spend an additional one million dollars or more trying to save a building on top of what has already been spent trying to moth ball it? 
The commissioners’ common sense did prevail and the consensus was that they were not buying into the eleventh hour development.



Wait...she did not close with "until next week"!!! Could this mean that the Register finally wised up and is ending her blog?!?!?!

The sad part is that she finally wrote one that was intelligent and made sense. Oh I get it, no rambling, no "Monday morning quarterbacking", and no "until next week"...you know what this means folks...she has hired a ghost writer.

The Bizness

We could only hope that is the case.

I don't really understand the point of blog entry however, seeing that the commissioners turned down the proposal making the whole topic a moot point.

It would have been interesting to see her write something about what she envisions the property to become after demolition is finished. I would probably disagree with her, but offering up ideas for the future is much more constructive than discussing things that can't be changed from the past.

T. A. Schwanger


Or maybe she knows offering up ideas for the site would fall on deaf ears.

Months ago, Save Our Shoreline Parks recommended the City preserve and recycle the Keller Building sandstone doorways and arches for use at the two designed public plazas (2010) adjacent to the Chesapeake Lofts (Northwest and Southeast corners) as a way to pay tribute to the Keller Building and it's history. The idea was to create a maintenance free public sitting area similar to the one found outside the Sandusky Greenhouse. The idea was supported by the Bayfront Corridor Committee and informal support from the Sandusky Old House Guild if demolition of the Keller Building was imminent

The only response we received was "thanks for the input" from the City Manager. No further discussion.

The creation of the Paper District/Chesapeake Public Plazas are part of the Tax Increment Financing agreement with the Sandusky School Board and were part of the Ohio DRN and US Army Corp of Engineers permitting process for the Paper District Marina. A steering committee was formed using members from the Bayfront Corridor Committee and Chesapeake Lofts residents for the purpose of discussion and brainstorming plaza ideas.

The Bizness

A. There is no such thing as maintenance free.

b. What is there to pay tribute too, and who gives an F about an informal, aka meaningless, endorsement from the old house guild.

You and Sharon never offer ideas, you seem to always play Monday morning quarterback, and honestly it just be refreshing to see ideas that are inspiring and thought provoking.


He just related how they DID offer ideas, and well in advance of "the game." I am no fan of the Schwangerites, but you seem to have a problem with everyone who is not you.

Tim, please understand the context for the B. comment and don't take it personally. The Bizness holds everything that happened before his enlightened wisdom came along in contempt as the result of an evil conspiracy, and thus has no regard for heritage or history.

The Bizness

One idea? And I often offer ideas in the comment section. I said tear the thing down, get it sold and make a deal with developer to build a mixed use LEED certified building.

another idea would be to build a small business incubator. Work with successful business in the area to fund a mixed use building and help entrepreneurs get a start.

Another idea would be to build an building for arts. So artist could have an open area to construct anything they want.

I do like the other two ideas, but at least I brought them up for discussion. That is all I am saying Sharon should do. Bring us ideas so we can discuss options for the future.


Perhaps you are confused; Tim and Sharon are not the same person. Gp back and read your response to Tim in the context of that knowledge.

T. A. Schwanger

@ Nemesis

I must say the lively banter between The Bizness and yourself is quite refreshing.

Responding to The Bizness' "maintenance free" public plaza concern, he/she needs to understand a stone/concrete/flowerbed public sitting area (maintained by volunteers) would be a vast improvement over the current grassy area (needs constant mowing). He/she suggested turning the Keller Building footprint into temporary green space--maintenance free?

The Bizness always has shown a lack of doing adequate research on issues and has a habit of putting words in other's mouths or making undocumented accusations against the group I represent--case in point--a claim we were against the Chesapeake Lofts Project or any PRIVATE PROPERTY project benefitting the City of Sandusky.

While I do honor all opinions, when I can show documentation someone is spewing forth false information, I will take the opportunity to make corrections.

The Bizness

So who will be these volunteers that maintain your plaza? Why can't those same volunteers mow the grass of the temporary green space?

I also understand Mr. Shwanger and Sharon are two different people. They just seem to be coming from the same camp.

We do not need more parks, we need to actively be searching for ways to bring in more income and jobs to the city.


"They just seem to be coming from the same camp."

If you believe that, then you haven't been paying very close attention. I disagree with Tim more often than not, but he has almost nothing in common with Sharon, as I've already outlined above. Of course, you've made it clear that all people over 30 look the same to you.

The Bizness

I could not disagree more, almost every week I madmen a comment to Sharon's blog, and more often then not Tim is defending Sharon, including this thread.

The Bizness

Oh and I never said grass was maintenance free, now your putting words in my mouth ;)

Also, that grass would be there until lot gets sold. I dont know how long you want your elaborate sitting area to be there.


To be where? He's not talking about placing anything on the Keller building site. What part of "the two designed public plazas (2010) ADJACENT TO THE CHESAPEAKE LOFTS (Northwest and Southeast corners)" didn't you understand?


In reading this discussion, it looks like The Biz may have a split personality or a difficult time processing information.

The Bizness

I'll admit I'm confused on what and where Tim wanted those arches placed, and what he wants to see done with the Keller blding property.


This truly is Sharon's best work to date. Let's hope the improvement continues.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

The Bizness

It is definitely hard to see what Mr. Shwanger, and Ms. Johnson would like to see happen to Sandusky. It always seems no matter what happens they will be pissed about it.


It's quite easy to see what Mr. Schwanger would like to see happen. He's been very vocal with often detailed plans and proposals, including having gotten a very meaningful charter amendment on the ballot, which is far more than YOU have ever done. Granted, I disagree with most of his ideas, but he's been very clear about most of them, and has never complained about anything in town without offering clear alternatives.

Matt Westerhold

True that. 

The Bizness

You have no idea what I do for your this area so you can't say that.

Sharon is the one that never offers ideas in her blogs, she's the one always playing Monday morning quarterback.


"You have no idea..."

You're welcome to list the initiatives you have started and the proposals you've formally submitted to the proper parties to act on them. I'm sure we're all on the edge of our seats waiting.

Again, Tim is not Sharon. Perhaps you could follow the game better if you purchased a program?

The Bizness


I think yourself and Tim are missing my whole point.

I am asking for ideas from Sharon, as I have said many times, not Monday morning quarterback.

Let us all discuss ways we can grow this city and bring it more jobs while keeping it clean and beautiful.


That's all well and good, but Tim is not Sharon, and your criticism was aimed at Tim, who has consistently offered ideas, in the most effective forums and formats, and has effectively been the antithesis of Sharon's columns (and he writes much better, too.)

Oh, and you could probably give us some hints without revealing who you are. If not, oh well, then you lose any standing to claim you've done what you admonish Tim to do (despite his having done it.) No one ever said anonymity came without some cost.

If you want to discuss ways to improve the city, that's great, but how productive do you expect to be if you can't tell that the person you're addressing is not the originator of the idea to which you're responding?

The Bizness

Let's see, I made a comment and tim responded to it, so there for I am trying to address two different topics at once. I like that Tim offers ideas, even though I disagree with many of them, at least we are having a discussion about ideas.

My whole point, and you keep ignoring it, is that I want Sharon to stop playing Monday morning quarterback.