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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

Developer says city snubbed armory offer

A local real estate developer who is trying to block the sale of the Bay View Armory testified yesterday that he submitted an offer for the building in August after learning it was going to be sold to a Michigan businessman.

Testifying at a hearing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Don Baumgartner said he started the bidding at $100,000 when he read in The Blade that Roger Homrich was buying the imposing structure and 6.9 acres for $90,000.

Mr. Baumgartner said he tried for five weeks to meet with city officials to discuss his proposal, and that he boosted the offer to $140,000 when the meeting was finally held Sept. 15 - a day before council sold the structure to Mr. Homrich.

“At no time did the city call me or anything,” Mr. Baumgartner, a Sylvania Township business owner said.

Despite the 11th-hour bid by Mr. Baumgartner, council approved selling the building to Mr. Homrich, owner of Homrich Wrecking in Carleton, Mich. Mr. Homrich plans to use the armory for boat storage and sales of boating equipment and supplies.

A preliminary injunction issued Sept. 18 by Judge William Skow has put the sale of the armory at 3900 North Summit St. on hold. Yesterday s hearing on whether the city should be forced to put the building up for bid was continued to Monday.

Gerald Thompson, of Oregon, testified that the city agreed to sell the armory to his company, Naval Armory Enterprise, Ltd., for $150,000, but the sale collapsed in February when the city demanded an additional $45,000 to repair the roof.

The group had proposed using the empty and deteriorating building as a restaurant and entertainment retail outlet.

Mr. Thompson said investors were concerned about a reversionary clause that called for improvements to be completed by various dates during five years or ownership would revert back to the city.

Steven Seaton, the city s director of economic and community development, said the city began negotiations with Mr. Homrich after the sale to Mr. Thompson fell through.

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