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Published: Tuesday, 5/17/2011

Nicholas Building owner misses repair date

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The owner of the vacant Nicholas Building at 608 Madison Ave. failed to meet a deadline imposed by the city of Toledo to fix the facade and permanently prevent pieces from falling. But the owner says repairs are moving forward and he has plans to renovate the structure.

Ergur Private Equity Group LLC of San Francisco was given until May 2 to fix an unstable facade, according to David Golis, the city's chief building official. "They were given 30 days to comply and they did not," he said. "The aluminum trim, the facade, at the main entrance is loose and when the wind blows, you can see it move and it could fall."

The sidewalk in front of the building has been blocked to pedestrians for weeks, and the city filed a complaint with Toledo Municipal Court. The owner is to be subpoenaed to appear in municipal court, city officials said.

Koray Ergur, head of Ergur Private Equity Group, said the loose trim has been temporarily secured.

"Hopefully we will get it done before the court date so [we] can move forward," Mr. Ergur said. "The building is going to be renovated into a mixed-used [commercial and residential] building."

The Ergur Group paid $314,000 in 2008 for the 17-story Nicholas Building but closed it in September, 2009, after having trouble keeping tenants. The building has been mothballed, but a Spitzer Co. maintenance man tends to the building to minimize damage.

The Ergur Group bought the nearby 10-story Spitzer Building in April, 2009, for $800,000, but the California firm has struggled to make payments. After the purchase, several tenants left the Spitzer Building for other offices downtown.

The property owner owes $219,566.49 in taxes on the Nicholas Building dating to when it was purchased, records in the Lucas County Auditor's Office show.

Nevertheless, Mr. Ergur said the building will retake its place as a viable piece of downtown Toledo real estate.

His plan includes developing retail and shopping on floors one through three, offices on four through seven; a college branch on floors eight through 10, student housing on 11 and 12, residential units of about 500 square-feet each on 13 through 16, and penthouses on the top floor.

"Starting from the top floors coming down, we are going to raise the money from several different angles, so we are meeting with involved parties consistently and I think once we start at the top floor, the momentum will start," Mr. Ergur said.

He said the plan would require a $15 million investment.

"What we have [downtown] are professionals and at the end of the day they go home to Perrysburg, so you have a ghost town downtown and one of the reasons we are building small apartments is to attract the young people," Mr. Ergur said.



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