Federal money could help convert Berdan Building into apartments

Light from South Erie Street streams in from the left into the Berdan Building.
Light from South Erie Street streams in from the left into the Berdan Building.

edo City Council on Tuesday plans to review the possible funneling of $2 million in federal funds that would help transform the vacant Berdan Building in the Warehouse District into apartments.

The historic but blighted building at 1 S. Erie St. across from Fifth Third Field -- a former grocery warehouse -- has been eyed for development for years. In 2012, a deal fell apart after more than a year of planning by the city of Toledo and Cleveland development company Landmark RE Management.

“We have been working with the new developers the past six to eight months,” said Toledo Councilman Adam Martinez, the chairman of council's neighborhood committee. “The developers have a proven reputation of getting the job done, they use local contractors and local union workers, so this a great addition to the warehouse district and brings us one step closer to bringing people back to downtown.”

A Lansing development partnership purchased the Berdan Building this year and announced plans to renovate it into downtown living and retail space at a cost of up to $20 million. The Berdan LLC paid $700,000 for the property, according to records on file with the Lucas County auditor. The previous owner was listed as Parkstone Berdan LLC.

Kevin Prater, a Lansing-based developer and partner in The Berdan LLC, in April said the project could hold 115 market-rate apartments with retail space on the ground floor. Redevelopment of the deteriorating five-story structure will take at least two years, he said. Mr. Prater could not be reached for comment late Monday.

The sale was facilitated by a decision by the Lucas County Board of Commissioners in March to release liens on the property owed to the county by a previous developer dating to 2005.

Mr. Prater and Richard Karp, his partner in The Berdan LLC, redeveloped the nearby Standart Lofts, a 75-unit apartment building, with stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, and a rooftop deck.

The Bell administration is asking council to approve reallocating $2 million from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2.

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat said the money was originally earmarked for the project under the previous developer.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.