A Toledo businessman whose family has paved roads and parking lots in northwest Ohio for nearly 60 years has moved into a renovated building that was saved from an uncertain fate by the Lucas County Land Bank.
Chad Buck, 38, owner of Buck Brothers Asphalt Paving & Maintenance, proudly showed off his new, larger offices Tuesday during a news conference meant to highlight the latest example of the land bank’s ability to act in favor of making deteriorating property useful again.
“A year ago, this lot was on its way to nowhere,” said Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, the land bank’s chairman.
He was joined at the event by Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez — a candidate for Toledo mayor in Tuesday’s primary — and credited in the transaction because she let the property be transferred to the land bank rather than sold in the next forfeited-land sale.
The hotly contested mayor’s race, in which Ms. Lopez, a Democrat, is a candidate, was not officially mentioned. She is one of eight people competing Sept. 10 for two slots in the general election. The other candidates are incumbent independent Mayor Mike Bell, Democratic Councilman Joe McNamara, independent Councilman D. Michael Collins, independent Alan Cox, Republican Opal Covey, Libertarian Michael Konwinski, and write-in hopeful Don Gozdowski. The top two vote-getters will face off Nov. 5.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz, a Democrat, is neutral between the two Democrats, Mr. McNamara and Ms. Lopez. He said the news conference was held at Ms. Lopez’s request.
Mr. Buck paid $250 for the 45,000-square-foot building on 2.1 acres at 2727 Avondale Ave. near Westwood Avenue after it twice failed to sell at the county sheriff’s auction. He since has spent more than $100,000 to clear out and renovate the structure and move his business in.
The move also let him add six employees, boost-ing his staff from 15 to 21.
County records show the property was offered at auction in January and September, 2012, at a minimum bid of $37,194. It sold neither time.
From there, the property normally would have gone to the forfeited land sale, where it could have been auctioned for as little as $60. Mr. Kapszukiewicz said many buyers of forfeited land live outside the state or country and the properties tend to remain neglected and often end up being forfeited again.
Ms. Lopez said this transaction boosts local investment and employment. “The faster we get those properties into the hands of entrepreneurs, like Mr. Buck’s, then we can restore them faster and create economic development,” she said.
Mr. Buck’s business was started by his great-grandfather in 1954. He said he has enough room to conduct business, store equipment, and take on new customers. He said the building was being raided for wiring and other parts and he found someone living on the roof. His previous office was next door and is being rented.
The building had been owned by Nazar Rubber Co., which closed in 2006.
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