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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2004

Ford to resume search for Madison Building developer

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Madison Building is called an "eyesore" by officials at neighboring Fifth Third Bank. The Madison Building is called an "eyesore" by officials at neighboring Fifth Third Bank.
FRASER / BLADE Enlarge

With the vacant and deteriorated Madison Building being cited as a threat to downtown employment, Mayor Jack Ford today is expected to announce another attempt to find a willing developer.

Mr. Ford has invited dozens of people, most associated with Downtown Toledo, Inc., to the corner of Madison Avenue and Huron Street today, where he will spotlight the release of a request for proposals that will be distributed to developers.

Top officials of Fifth Third Bank, across the street, said the Madison Building's poor condition and appearance are unacceptable.

As part of their application to raze three buildings on Huron Street for parking and deliveries, bank Chairman John Szuch and President Bruce Lee said the Madison Building harbors vagrants and is an eyesore. The bank leaders said they may be forced, unless logistical and safety issues are resolved, to move 140 jobs out of Fifth Third Center, 606 Madison Ave.

Peter Gozza, president of DTI, said work on the request for development proposals was being done before Fifth Third applied for a demolition permit.

The city has tried to market the building before.

In December, 2001, City Council agreed to sell the building to the Detroit architectural firm Madison Madison International for $75,000. It planned a $16 million project.

The development never proceeded. One local realtor said the cost of renovation was not justified by the rent that could be charged for residential, office, and commercial space.

The Madison Building is two structures under one 1960s-era facade: the Nasby building, built in 1891, and the Wayne Building, built in 1924. The 11-story Nasby building, considered Toledo's first skyscraper, was named for Petroleum V. Nasby, a Civil War-era fictional character created by former Blade editor David Ross Locke.

Madison is considered the prime downtown pedestrian street, and has been designated for streetscape improvements under the Downtown Toledo, Inc., master plan.

The city took over the building in January, 2000, when its out-of-town owner threatened to tear it down. Later that year, city council authorized $205,000 to mothball the building. The city government recently spent $44,500 on repairs.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419 724-6058.



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