Sunday, Jul 15, 2018
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Company plans to buy historic Nasby Building

Toledo’s 1st skyscraper was built in early 1890s

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    The Madison Building in downtown Toledo, which was built during the 1890s, is more widely known as the Nasby Building.

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    Employees of Total Environmental Services remove asbestos panels from the outside of the Nasby Building at the corner of Madison Avenue and Huron Street.

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    At left, asbestos panels are being removed intact so as not to endanger passersby.

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This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information.

A Holland-based real estate management company has a letter of intent to buy the city-owned historic Madison Building downtown, where contractors have been removing exterior asbestos panels for nearly a month.

Diversified Real Estate Management LLC, of 1100 S. Holland-Sylvania Rd., sent the city a letter of intent Aug. 23. The document, obtained Friday by The Blade, said the purchase price would be determined; the deal would include a general warranty deed, and the firm would be allowed a 12-month due diligence period.

“[The] city of Toledo will explore and provide economic funding opportunities for subject properties,” stated the letter by Todd A. Strayer, managing member.

Attempts to reach Mr. Strayer were unsuccessful.

The city has tried for years to divest itself of the building and find a suitable developer willing to spend the millions necessary to renovate the vacant property.

Calvin Lawshe, the city’s top economic development official, said the letter of intent is still valid.

Interest in the building has been sporadic.

Only one person, Koray Ergur, president of Ergur Private Equity Group LLC, which owns the Nicholas Building at 608 Madison and the Spitzer Building at 520 Madison, took advantage of the city’s offer last year to inspect the city-owned real estate that was once a crown jewel of Toledo’s downtown.

The structure at Huron Street and Madison Avenue is better known as the Nasby Building, but has been called the Security Bank Building and Wayne Building, and more recently Madison Building. The name changes came about as new owners took it over.

Built in the early 1890s, the Nasby was the city’s first skyscraper even though it had just nine full stories and two partial floors topped by a steeple-like tower. 

It was originally named the Nasby Building, after Petroleum V. Nasby, pseudonym of David Ross Locke, one-time publisher of The Blade.

The five-story section that faces Madison was constructed in 1925 to house the former Security Bank, which closed during the Great Depression.

The Nasby’s tower, which was designed to replicate the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral in Seville, Spain, was removed in 1934 because pieces were falling on the sidewalk.

The city of Toledo acquired the 150,000-square-foot building during the Finkbeiner administration when its out-of-town owner threatened to tear it down. The city eventually replaced the roof and used a $200,000 state grant to remove interior asbestos.

The city hired Total Environmental Services for $66,899 in October to begin the following month removing asbestos-containing exterior panels that were installed on the building. The enameled asbestos panels were installed on the exterior of both structures in 1964 to unify its appearance and modernize the buildings after they were acquired by a New York investor.

Workers dressed in hazmat suits and wearing respirators have been removing the panels since mid-November.

Terry Luhring, owner of the company, said the panels are not being broken and instead being removed intact so there is no danger to people walking nearby.

“They have had plastic down every day underneath the work area,” Mr. Luhring said. “It is a non-friable, category-two material and you need a regulated area and drop cloth.”

Workers have swept up piles of dust and debris at the end of each workday.

Mr. Luhring said some of the panels were broken during the work.

Ohio EPA spokesman Dina Pierce said regulations allow “minimal breakage” of the panels.

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

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