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Published: Wednesday, 3/16/2005

Request to raze buildings is rejected

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral wants to demolish 823 and 825 North Summit St.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral wants to demolish 823 and 825 North Summit St.
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The Vistula Historic District Commission last night denied a request by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral to demolish two buildings it owns along Summit Street.

The church, which owns the buildings at 823 and 825 North Summit, plans to appeal the decision.

The commission denied the petition by a voice vote, with one member absent and one abstaining.

William Frisk said he abstained because he didn't feel comfortable with all the data that had been presented to the commission.

The church will appeal to the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commissions, said Paul Stieben, the church's representative on a panel to study the issue.

Either party could appeal the plan commission's decision in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

The church wants to expand, adding 3,700 square feet of space and improving handicapped accessibility and the buildings and grounds.

Mike Young, the Vistula commission's representative on the panel, and independent panel member Paul Sullivan, said renovating the buildings was economically feasible, an opinion with which the church disagrees.

The church estimates it would cost about $600,000 to restore the buildings, and revenue gained by turning them into condominiums and then selling the condos would not cover the costs, Mr. Stieben, an architect with LeanTrak Inc., said.

Mr. Sullivan, an architect who worked on restorations in the Warehouse District, said the buildings the church wants to demolish, which date to the late 1800s, are in better shape than the St. Clair Village buildings were.

"It takes some tenacity to find the right tenants to get in there," he said.

Mr. Sieben pointed out that St. Clair Village had five buildings available to developers rather than two, which he said created a critical mass. The church has not been able to find anyone interested in its buildings, he said.

"We have followed up on every lead," he said.

Steve Shrake, chairman of the city historic districts commission, spoke in support of saving the buildings, which he said would help prevent the creation of a gap between the neighborhood and downtown Toledo.

"It's disturbing that we continue to see demolition request after demolition request in your neighborhood," he said.

In other action, the commission approved the demolition of a house at 818 Locust St. owned by an absentee landlord, and agreed with commission member Stuart Cline's suggestion that they ask the city to work on ways to deal with absentee landlords who don't maintain their property.

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