PORT CLINTON - A Lorain County firm that specializes in developing new uses for old buildings plans to have 19 condominiums in Port Clinton's historic City Hall and fire station ready for occupancy by next summer.
Ken Bublinec, president of a construction firm associated with Lighthouse Historic Development of Grafton, Ohio, said yesterday the exterior of the downtown landmark will be preserved.
More than half of the condos will be on one floor and have about 1,000 square feet, while the remainder will be two stories, with more space, and be built above the old fire station. The fire house will be converted into indoor parking.
A singe retail shop inside will likely be a coffee house, Mr. Bublinec said. "Port Clinton is a good because it is a vacation spot," he said.
The firm paid $250,000 in April for the deteriorating limestone landmark at Second and Adams streets, which dates to 1912.
It has been vacant since municipal offices moved out a decade ago
The project is valued at $3 million and the units, which will be sold through Remax, range in price from $140,000 to $160,000.
City officials have touted the project as a way to help businesses downtown and to make what is now an eyesore into an attraction.
Linda Hartlaub, president of City Council, called the plans a great addition for the downtown district.
The developers told council members on Tuesday that four of the units have been sold already. Six units will need to be presold before construction financing can be obtained, Mr. Bublinec said.
Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year, he said.
Ms. Hartlaub said downtown living is currently limited to apartments above retail stores.
"I think it's great because they're preserving a historic building," she said. "And it brings property taxes to the city of Port Clinton."
Mr. Bublinec, is president of LB and Associates, the construction arm of Lighthouse. His partner is Don Longwell, an attorney in Grafton.
Lighthouse has been developing properties for four years. Its current projects include turning a Lorain warehouse into 29 condominiums, developing Conneaut's former Cleveland Hotel into a 28-unit condo project, and a building in Grafton.
Mr. Bublinec said other projects are under consideration for Port Clinton.
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