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The city has scheduled the demolition of the decrepit Clarion Hotel for early July to stop squatters from starting another fire.
Toledo City Council voted to acquire the foreclosed property from the state in February with plans to eventually have it razed as part of redeveloping the Southwyck corridor. A fire in the building June 1 has forced the city’s hand, pushing up the timetable for demolition. Council will vote today whether to spend as much as $850,000 to demolish the building starting July 7.
“We know there’s people living in there,” Matt Sapara, department director, said at a council committee meeting Monday. “What we’re trying to combat here is someone getting really, really hurt.”
Toledo Fire Chief Luis Santiago said the building’s broken windows allow winds to bolster flames in the 11-story structure, posing an even greater threat to trespassers and firemen. The theft of copper water lines in the building further hinders his department’s ability to control any fire, according to the council’s legislation.
Though the building has been officially vacant since 2009, when the Toledo Hotel Investment Group LLC defaulted on loans, people have entered repeatedly. They have left walls marked with graffiti and floors marred by the occasional needle or blood stain, Mr. Sapara said.
Mr. Sapara insisted that the city’s goal is primarily to remove a safety hazard, but the property is also considered an economic burden in southwest Toledo.
“It creates the impression for potential residents and probably investors who are thinking of putting businesses there that things are dicey,” Jim Oedy, the owner of the neighboring Genesis Village retirement complex, said.
Council will discuss whether to allocate up to $300,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund and $200,000 from the sale of a property in Monclova Township for the project. It will also vote on whether to borrow up to $250,000 from the Lucas County Land Bank, with a promise to repay the loan by the end of the year. The repayment will be covered by the sale of the land on which the hotel stands and revenue from other city-owned properties.
JobsOhio, a state-funded private organization, had previously pledged $100,000 for asbestos removal, but a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will cover asbestos remediation. Because the money from Jobs Ohio cannot be used for other purposes, the city will receive no state assistance.
Bill Burkett, the commissioner of economic development, said the estimated cost is about $850,000, but the contractors who submit their demolition plans today will determine the final price. It could be far lower because of the competition between the firms, and the firms’ ability to profit from materials salvaged from the site.
Contact Maya Averbuch at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6522.