Plans to convert downtown Toledo's Triangle Building into loft-style apartments have moved a step closer to reality.
The seven-story building at 34 South Erie St. was sold for $575,000 last week to a Lansing developer with experience restoring historic structures.
Records at the Lucas County recorder's office show the 107-year-old warehouse was transferred June 20 to Richard M. Karp and Kevin J. Prater.
Mr. Prater has a 25 percent interest in the building, with Mr. Karp owning the remainder. It was previously owned by Triangle Building LLC, which purchased it in 2005 from Willis Day Inc.
City Council has approved a preliminary measure that would allow Mr. Karp's Karp & Associates to convert the 107,000-square-foot building at South Erie between Lafayette and Washington into as many as 75 rental units.
But this was the first movement on the project since January when council took the action.
It was needed because developers want to build more than twice as many apartments as would normally be allowed on a lot as small as that one.
Contacted at his Lansing office, Mr. Karp declined to discuss the project, saying: "It is simply too early to release any comment at this time."
Mr. Karp, who is the president of Lansing's BuildTech Ltd., has been praised for his work on Lansing's first downtown loft conversion. He oversaw the transformation of a former department store in 2005 into 48 residential rental units and first-floor commercial space.
The $5 million project, which made use of historic preservation tax credits and other programs, earned him accolades.
In Toledo, he would join a small but growing group of developers who have converted downtown structures for residential use. The projects have met with mixed results. The Bartley Lofts project won praise from architects and preservationists, but units remain unsold.
But information submitted to the Toledo council suggests he would lease the units at market rates.
Kathy Steingraber, volunteer director of Toledo's Downtown Warehouse District, welcomed the project.
"There has been activity in the building," she said. "It looks like they're trying to clean it up and get it ready for renovations."
Mr. Karp has not submitted plans for the building to the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commissions.
The Triangle Building was constructed in 1900, according to county records. It served as many years as a warehouse for the Simmons Hardware empire of St. Louis.
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