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Toledo has deal to sell historic Nasby Building

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    The Nasby Building in downtown Toledo.

    The Blade/Lori King
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    Photo dated December 1927 shows The Nasby Tower (Building), one of Toledo's landmark office buildings in the business section of downtown originally housing the Toledo Blade. Built between 1891 and 1895 at 605 Madison Avenue, it was the city's first sky-scraper and was named after longtime Blade publisher David Locke's pseudonymn Petroleum V. Nasby. Its cupola and steeple are copied from a tower in Seville, Spain.

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    The Nasby Building in 2016

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    Workers remove a facade at the Nasby Building Thursday, November 17, 2016, in downtown Toledo.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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  • ROV-Naby-Building

    Workers remove a facade at the Nasby Building Thursday, November 17, 2016, in downtown Toledo.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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The Hicks-Hudson administration has a deal to sell the historic but vacant and deteriorating Nasby Building — the structure that sits at the only intersection in downtown Toledo with office buildings still standing at each corner.

A company called Nasby LLC will get the building for $10 but has five years to complete a renovation into a mixed-used development with commercial, residential, and office space or it must pay the city $250,000, said Calvin Lawshe, the city's economic development director.

GALLERY: Nasby Building through the years

“They have to get the building buttoned up right away so they can start interior renovations and so it is not open like it is now through the winter,” Mr. Lawshe said.

“I was very concerned about selling the building and someone not doing anything with it,” he said. “That is why we built that in the lump sum payment to the city.”

The deal also requires the city to acquire the adjacent properties at 611 and 617 Madison Ave. — which includes the bus station on the east side of North Erie Street owned by the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority — and include those in the sale to Nasby LLC, according to a Toledo City Council ordinance.

Jim Gee, general manager of TARTA, said the agency is willing to relinquish the property.

EDITORIAL: Key buildings downtown still abandoned

“It has not been sold to the city, but we have had an ongoing discussion about elimination of the [downtown bus] loop and getting to a single facility,” Mr. Gee said. “It is our intent once we finalize plans for a single facility that we would be able to divest TARTA of those properties.”

In August, 2016, Holland-based real estate management company Diversified Real Estate Management LLC signed a a letter of intent to buy the city-owned building downtown.

Mr. Lawshe confirmed Todd A. Strayer, who is a managing member of Diversified Real Estate, is the developer buying the building.

The August, 2016, document 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.

Attempts to reach Mr. Strayer were unsuccessful.

Kevin Prater, president of Prater Development Ltd., is also involved with Nasby LLC, city spokesman Carrie Hartman said. Mr. Prater also could not be reached.

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

The structure at Huron Street and Madison Avenue is known as the Nasby Building and is located at 607 Madison Ave. and 243 N. Huron St., 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 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, 2016, to remove 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.

Toledo City Council could review the real estate purchase agreement between the city and Nasby LLC during its agenda review meeting Tuesday. The city has been working on the deal for a year, Ms. Hartman said.

City Council President Steven Steel said two other buildings at the intersection — the Spitzer and the Nicholas — are vacant and the city needs to push for renovation of the Nasby.

“It is a really important building downtown, and it has been a pretty bad eyesore since the city took off those panels,” Mr. Steel said. “Hopefully, the new owners will renovate it and restore it to its former glory.”

Staff writer Mark Reiter contributed to this report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com419-724-6171, or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

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