LORAIN — The historic tax credits are gone, and so is the Broadway Building development deal.
Lorain Port Authority Executive Director Tom Brown said $440,023 in credits expired May 31, making a deal with developer Jim Louthen of Chicago-based ReTown fall through.
“This means the old proposal we had on the building is killed,” Brown said. “It was based on him having these tax credits, and since those aren’t a part of the equations, we’re looking for something else. Louthen isn’t involved anymore at this point.”
Brown said he hoped to re-energize some local players in the project and reapply for the tax credits because they’re tied to the building, not the developer.
The tax credits originally were part of a $12 million project to turn the former Spitzer Plaza Hotel at U.S. Route 6 and Broadway, which closed in 2005 due to low occupancy rates, into apartments for seniors.
In August, an agreement was reached with the building’s owner, Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd., to donate the property, valued at $1.1 million, according to the Lorain County auditor, to the Lorain Port Authority.
In turn, the authority would have leased the land to Louthen and his development team, but Brown said the building was never given to the Lorain Port Authority because Louthen and his development team couldn’t get the financing together.
“The financing wasn’t ever presented in a way that we as the Port Authority board were comfortable with,” said Brown, who served on the board up until this year when he was being considered for the executive direction position. “One of our main goals is to keep the dialogue going and get the building back to where it should be.”
In December, City Council approved a letter of intent to offer Louthen and his team numerous incentives, but they were never realized, and Mayor Chase Ritenauer said even though any new deal wouldn’t necessarily involve the city as a key player, he still hopes to see it be developed.”
“I’d like to see something happen with it, but we have to get someone in there quickly,” he said. “We have to act fast to get a new developer in there if that’s what we’re going to do. I know there were people interested when Louthen was making his plans and it would be great to vet some of them and see what we can come up with.”
Spitzer Great Lakes has been in some hot water for the deterioration of the building and made an agreement in Lorain’s Housing Court to get a development deal in place.
Ritenauer said it would be up to the court to decide if the code violations will be looked at again.
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