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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Madison gets reprieve

Mayor Jack Ford inspects space once occupied by a business in the Madison Building. Mayor Jack Ford inspects space once occupied by a business in the Madison Building.

Toledo City Council agreed to spend $44,500 yesterday to winterize the Madison Building, while Mayor Jack Ford suggested renting out space on the first floor.

The building was awarded to a Detroit developer two years ago for a $15.8 million renovation, but the deal fell through.

Mr. Ford toured the building, at Madison Avenue and Huron Street yesterday, and said his administration would boost efforts to market it.

As an interim measure, he proposed fixing up the first-floor commercial spaces and renting them. He said the city could open a one-stop shop in the corner storefront. He said he was told it would cost more than $1 million to repair the building enough to be fully occupied.

“No one will buy it because of what appears to be over $1 million to get it back to work, and there s no parking,” Mr. Ford said. “If we can figure out a way to get the first couple of floors back in action, it ll make it real to an investor.”

The Madison Building is actually two structures under one modern facade: the 1891 Nasby Building and the 1924 Wayne Building. The Nasby, considered Toledo s first skyscraper, was named for Petroleum V. Nasby, a fictional character created by former Blade editor David Ross Locke.

The city became the owner of the building in January, 2000, after its former owner threatened to demolish it. The city has spent more than $200,000 to mothball the structure.

The money approved by council would be used to replace glass in boarded-up windows, fix sidewalks, repair a basement sidewalk access, install electric heating to prevent freezing, and shut down and preserve the boiler.

Also yesterday, council confirmed the appointment of Toledo lawyer R. Michael Frank to a vacancy on the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors.

Mr. Frank, one of the founders of the public-interest law firm Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc., promised to represent the city s interests on the port board.

Mayor Ford appointed Mr. Frank, managing partner of Arnold & Caruso, to replace board member Jerry Chabler, who resigned Oct. 1 to spend more time with his family.

Mr. Frank, 62, will serve until July 31, 2005.

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