LORAIN — Conversion of the blighted former Spitzer Plaza hotel received support from City Council members Monday.
Council voted to support Lorain Building Investors LLC applying to the Ohio Development Services Agency for $1.9 million in historic tax credits for the former hotel. The 69-room hotel, also known as the Broadway Building, was placed on the National Historic Registry in 1985.
Developers include Chicago-based T-2 Capital Management and Black River Landing developer James Louthen. Developers want to spend $10 million to convert the building into about 50 upscale apartments for residents 55 and older.
Since the hotel closed in 2005, it has been an eyesore and a risk at times. Building owners had to shore up the crumbling façade after bricks fell a few years ago. Council members have called for the building to be demolished if it couldn’t be rehabilitated.
Major repairs are needed including a new roof, said project architect Gary Fischer of Cleveland and Lorain-based Arkinetics. However, Fischer said several mechanical and structural engineers and plumbers said the building is sound. “There is nothing in there that is not fixable,” he said.
If renovated, the rooms would be turned into one- and two-bedroom apartments. The building would include a pool, sauna and restaurant.
Fischer and Louthen said the building at 300 Broadway, at the East Erie Avenue intersection, would be popular for prospective tenants due to it being next to Lake Erie. Fischer said an estimate on the cost of apartments and how many jobs the project would create hadn’t been determined.
Fischer said competition for the grants is fierce, with only 18 out of 40 applicants receiving money last year. He said Council’s support will give more points on the developer’s application due to the agency by Sept. 30. A decision is expected by late December.
The renovation would cost $10 million and Fischer said the credits are crucial. “Usually, the building ends up a hole in the ground if you can’t get the tax credits,” he said.
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