LORAIN — A series of violations against the former Spitzer Plaza Hotel in downtown Lorain have been moved from the city’s Department of Building, Housing and Planning to Lorain Municipal Court.
“We had sent the owner a notice of violations that had noted several problems with this building and they originally had until Jan. 11 to address the issues,” said Leon Mason, department director. “That date was extended until Jan. 19 and since the notice wasn’t addressed by the owner of the building, the violation has been referred to the court.”
Assistant Law Director Mallory Holmes said since the violation has only been with the law office for a few days, it hasn’t received an official court date.
The owner of the building, Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd., was sent the violations, which include a failure to maintain the exterior structure in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so it will not pose a threat to public health and safety.
Another exterior violation cited that bricks appeared to be detaching from the outside of the building.
There also were two unsafe conditions violations which cited that siding and masonry joints were not maintained or weather resistant as well as that veneer, cornice, belt courses, trim and other decorative features were not property anchored or capable of supporting loads.
The Spitzer Co. is trying to sell the property, attorney Anthony Giardini, who represents the company, said.
“The company has been working on getting the property sold and redeveloped for over a year,” Giardini said.
“There’s Chicago-based ReTown that’s interested and some others might be as well. ReTown has taken its idea to the public to garner support, and I think that property is ready to be taken over.”
In 2014, James Louthen, ReTown president and managing director who also developed Black River Landing, expressed an interest in turning the building into 50 upscale apartments for those ages 55 and older.
The building, at 301 Broadway, is the former home of the Spitzer Plaza Hotel, which closed in 2005 due to a low occupancy rate. It was built in 1928, opened as the Broadway Building and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
Due to the building’s historic nature, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the future developer of the property a $440,203 tax credit.
“The historic tax credits the company received are really going to help get the building purchased,” Giardini said. “And Spitzer stands ready to take offers and sell it to a developer.”
Resident Denise Caruloff said something needs to be done about the building and soon.
“The building was great in its time, but lately it feels like there’s always an excuse as to why nothing’s been done to fix it up,” she said. “They’re tempting fate by letting it fall into such disrepair, and there’s the possibility that something could happen, like something falling through one of the nets, and there could be a major lawsuit.”
Caruloff said she as well as many others are sick and tired of looking at the dilapidated state of the former hotel and that those wanting to see a better downtown Lorain need to stand up.
“Why is Spitzer able to get away with this for so many years?” she said. “If it was me or someone else that had let our properties fall apart like that, we wouldn’t have been given the same level of leniency. We would not have gotten the same amount of courtesy. Period.”
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