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Published: Tuesday, 4/18/2006

Guard sells off Findlay armory

Bowling Green armory. Bowling Green armory.

FINDLAY One of three vacant Ohio National Guard armories up for sale in northwest Ohio has been sold, and two others will be offered at public auction this spring.

Findlay auto dealer John La Riche said yesterday he expects to close next month on the Findlay armory on East Crawford Street, which he bought for $110,000 at a March 30 auction. The 1928 building, which is next to his car dealership, had been appraised at $165,000.

Mark Wayda, director of government and public affairs for the Ohio National Guard, said the Napoleon armory on East Clinton Street will be sold to the highest bidder May 18. He expects an auction to be scheduled soon for the Bowling Green armory on East Wooster Street.

Our intent is not to hold on to empty properties longer than we have to, Mr. Wayda said.

The National Guard vacated the Bowling Green facility last year after a new armory-community center was built in partnership with the city and Wood Lane on Newton Road on the city s northwest side.

Napoleon armory. Napoleon armory.

In all three cities, the buildings were first offered for sale at their appraised values to the city and then the county, but none were interested enough to buy the old armories. Mr. Wayda said the National Guard received a letter just yesterday from Wood County commissioners declining the Bowling Green armory.

Napoleon City Council seriously considered the armory there for a new municipal court building but decided the cost of renovating the 1913 building was prohibitive, said City Manager Jon Bisher. He is hoping someone will be able to restore and use the building.

It s such a pretty building. You hate to see it not be used at all, Mr. Bisher said.

The Napoleon armory, which has 12,294 square feet, was appraised at $70,000. Mr. Wayda said it will be open for inspection by the public from noon to 2 p.m. May 11. The auction will be held at 11 a.m. May 18.

Findlay armory. Findlay armory.

In Findlay, Mr. LaRiche said he has not decided what to do with the armory, though it will initially be used for record storage for his auto dealership, which has been in its current location since 1985.

Obviously, it s a piece of property that s adjacent to mine, he said referring to his Chevrolet-Cadillac dealership. I want to stay downtown. It s really hard when you re landlocked to stay downtown especially when you re a growing dealership like we are.

The Flag City Marine Corps League Detachment 1148, which has leased the armory for about two years, has been notified by the state to vacate the premises by the end of the month. The nonprofit group had hoped to either acquire the building or work out a deal to continue leasing it, but Mr. LaRiche said that wouldn t be feasible.

We ve talked a little bit but initially I m going to store some really sensitive documents there. It would be tough to have people going in and out, he said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-353-5972.

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