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Published: Saturday, 2/15/2003

Bay View Armory sale falls through

The hoped-for sale of the city-owned Bay View Armory was canceled yesterday because of city demands for financial information from the new owners.

Jerry Thompson, managing member of Naval Armory Enterprise, Ltd., said that just prior to the scheduled closing in a lawyers' office in downtown Toledo, his attorney was asked by the city's attorney to show that he had money in hand to repair the roof.

Mr. Thompson claimed such a demand has never been made before.

But Jay Black, Jr., the city's chief operating officer, said the written agreement with Mr. Thompson required that he show he has the money to make the repairs.

“They're trying to change the terms of the deal at the ninth hour,” Mr. Black said. He said the administration is unwilling to sell the building, even with a clause that returns it to the city's ownership if the projects planned for the structure fails, without assurances that the buyers can finance emergency repairs, let alone the rest of the projected $5 million project.

Mr. Thompson said he had in hand the $150,000 purchase price for the building but not the $48,000 budgeted as the cost of repairing the roof. Mr. Thompson said a contractor has agreed to repair the roof as an investment in the project.

“They got a reversionary clause,” Mr. Thompson said. “If I don't do what I say, they get [the building] back and they keep my money.”

It was not clear yesterday if the closing would be rescheduled.

Mr. Thompson has been trying since 1995 to persuade the city to sell him the empty and deteriorating armory building for a waterfront entertainment, boating, and retail center. City council voted to approve the sale in November, 2001.

The 1936 structure on the Maumee River near Point Place has been closed since the mid-1980s. The city purchased it from the state in 1997 for $40,000.

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