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Fix it or flatten it, now, Lorain Council says about former Spitzer hotel


LORAIN — The former Spitzer Plaza Hotel needs to be rehabilitated or razed.

That’s been a common refrain of Lorain officials and City Council members since the hotel closed in 2005. Frustration intensified Monday, a day after the latest extension for the building owner — Alan Spitzer of Spitzer Great Lakes LTD Co. — to make repairs expired.

“We need to do something about this piece of crap at the end of the street,” Councilman Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, told Council members and Mayor Chase Ritenauer at Monday’s meeting. “I would really like to see the (Ritenauer) administration start to move things forward and to see what we can do to get that thing torn down.”

Schuster said after the meeting that the blighted building at 301 Broadway and East Erie Avenue, is one of the first things visitors see when they cross the Bascule Bridge into Lorain. He said it sends a bad message. And Schuster said it was hypocritical for the Nuisance Inspection Task Force to cite homeowners for minor infractions while allowing a blighted building to stand across from City Hall.

“If we’re going to expect everybody else to follow the rules, then I do believe that piece of property is just as important to the revitalization of Lorain as any,” Schuster said. “It’s an eyesore for the whole city. It needs to be torn down to be able to promote new business in the city.”

The building — formerly known as the Broadway Building and placed on the National Historic Register in 1985 — continues to deteriorate. A Sept. 25 task force inspection found multiple code violations including broken windows, peeling paint, a need for foundation repairs and weeds in the parking lot, according to task force documents.

On Monday night, there were BB gun holes in a window on the East Erie Avenue side of the four-floor, brick building. Some windows on the East Erie side were boarded up. Plywood was stacked at the entrance on Broadway, and ladders and brooms were visible inside on the first floor.

When the 69-room hotel closed because of shrinking business, attorney Anthony Giardini, who represents Spitzer, said the building might remain a hotel or be converted into condominiums, time shares or assisted-living units.

Giardini — who also represents the Lorain Board of Education and is Lorain County Democratic Party chairman — didn’t return calls Monday night.

Ritenauer said developers have told him the asking price of between $2.5 million and $3 million for the building is too much.

Ritenauer said while parts of the first floor are in good shape, ceilings on the upper floors are collapsed and the parking lot is decrepit and unsafe.

He said it might cost $3 million to renovate and several hundred thousand to demolish including razing the parking lot. Ritenauer said that if the property were demolished, the cost might be assessed on Spitzer’s property taxes or it could be paid for with federal taxpayer demolition money.

Ritenauer said no more repair extensions will be granted and the building’s fate is in the hands of the Board of Demolition Appeals or the city prosecutor.

“We have to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said. “We need to see some action.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or

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