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As published in Toledo Business Journal - February 1, 2018

Rendering of the new City Hall in downtown Sandusky

Rendering of the new City Hall in downtown Sandusky

Sandusky investing $12M in downtown

Renovation project includes City Hall, apartments, and storefronts

The City of Sandusky is embarking upon a $12 million restoration project for three buildings at the corner of Columbus and East Washington Row. The vision for the 51,000 square foot overhaul is for a multi-use structure that will include 18 apartments, three new retail storefronts, and Sandusky’s own City Hall.

According to officials, once brought to life, the project is expected to create 25 new jobs in the City, independent of City Hall, and $600,000 in annual payroll. The project has an economic impact of its own in supporting 44 new construction jobs and $4.1 million in construction wages.

The City’s administrative facility will be relocated into two existing buildings (known as the Kingsbury and Commercial Banking and Trust Co. on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and East Washington Row) as part of the larger 51,000 square foot, three building renovation project. The City of Sandusky has signed a lease to occupy approximately 21,000 square feet – which is currently under construction and slated to be completed in December of 2018.

Matt Lasko, Sandusky chief development officer, further explained drivers behind the project. “Moving the City’s administrative functions to the core of downtown will prove to be catalytic for the continued and expanded revitalization of the City of Sandusky and Erie County. The City’s role as an anchor tenant in the mixed-use project will leverage an additional $6 million in private investment and bring additional in-demand housing units online. The project will also activate 50,000 square feet and enhance daytime and early evening foot traffic to the benefit of our downtown merchants and restaurants.”

Abbey Bemis, executive director of Erie County Economic Development Corporation (ECEDC), said, “An overhaul of 51,000 square feet built in the 1920s is not your typical construction project, but the team this opportunity has brought together is more than equipped to handle it.”

The development team includes:

The City of Sandusky – According to Bemis, the City of Sandusky is the project’s anchor tenant, master orchestrator, and cheerleader of a vibrant central business district.

Vintage Development Group –Vintage got its start 30 years ago when the company took on a dilapidated property in Willoughby, Ohio. According to Bemis, the team saw how one renovation can be inspiring to an entire neighborhood’s development, transforming abandoned storefronts into a bustling historic business district. The company has maintained a commitment to revival ever since, taking on projects that have significant impact for the cities in which they occur. The group’s expertise lies in crafting and building lasting neighborhoods.

Marous Brothers Construction – According to Bemis, the Marous family has been in the construction business since the 1980s. They first applied their carpentry expertise to a historic building in 1985 when they transformed a decaying building into its first corporate headquarters. This was its launch into historic renovation, and over the next five years, the company would restore six additional properties in its neighborhood. This foundation and the company’s quality reputation has led to notable projects across northeast Ohio like Jacobs Field, downtown Cleveland’s Central YMCA, and the Arcade, amongst others, noted Bemis.

Larry Knauer – A local resident with a passion for historic structures, Larry purchased the Old Calvary Temple Building a few years ago and his mission was in preserving the structure. According to Bemis, without his engagement, the City Hall project would not be possible.

“Old buildings have intrinsic value as reminders of a community’s complexity, culture, and character. It seems fitting that as Sandusky approaches its 200th birthday, it is embarking upon a massive restoration project that will return three historic properties to their glory days in the heart of the City’s vibrant downtown,” concluded Bemis.