The Lucas County Land Bank and two county officials -- including County Auditor Anita Lopez -- showed off the land bank's latest success today: redevelopment of an abandoned industrial property in central Toledo.
Chad Buck, owner of Buck Brothers Asphalt Paving & Maintenance, bought a 2.1-acre industrial site at Avondale and Westwood avenues from the land bank after it had failed twice to sell at the county sheriff's auction.
The property would have gone to the forfeited land sale where bidding would have started at $60, but instead was taken over by the land bank. The land bank sold it to Mr. Buck for $250. Since then, he has spent over $100,000 to renovate the deteriorating structure and has moved his business in, allowing him to hire seven additional people.
Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, chair of the land bank and a Democrat, said the auditor cooperated with the land bank by agreeing to transfer the property.
"A year ago this lot was on its way to nowhere," Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.
Ms. Lopez said the transaction boosts local investment and employment.
"The faster we get those properties into the hands of entrepreneurs, like Mr. Buck's, then we can restore them faster and create economic development," Ms. Lopez said.
Mr. Buck's business was started by his great-grandfather in 1954. He said he now has enough room to conduct business, store his equipment, and take on new customers. He said the building was being raided for wiring and other parts and he found someone living on the roof.
The building was previously owned by Nazar Rubber Co., which shut down in 2006.
Ms. Lopez, a Democrat, is running for mayor, although the hot political contest in which she is embroiled did not surface during the news event. She is running against incumbent independent Mayor Mike Bell, Democratic Councilman Joe McNamara, independent Councilman D. Michael Collins, independent Alan Cox, Republican Opal Covey, and Libertarian Michael Konwinski. The primary election, in which the top two vote-getters will be selected for the run-off election Nov. 5, is Sept. 10.