Spitzer site fails to draw bids at auction

Downtown landmark to return to sheriff’s sale list on June 27


Editor's Note: The story has been corrected to say the Nicholas Building was closed because of unpaid utility bills, not taxes.

A second auction for the landmark Spitzer Building on Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo has been set for June 27.
A second auction for the landmark Spitzer Building on Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo has been set for June 27.

A Lucas County sheriff’s auction to resolve the fate of downtown Toledo’s 10-story Spitzer Building drew no bidders Thursday and as a result, a second auction has been scheduled for June 27.

If the building at 520 Madison Ave. draws no bidders a second time, ownership of the property reverts to the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation, otherwise known as the County Land Bank.

The Land Bank, whose mission is to return vacant or abandoned properties to productive use, would have the power to redevelop the building by hiring a developer or other interested party looking to restore it. Because the building is half-occupied, the Land Bank could just hire a management firm to run the Spitzer Building, or it could sell the property.

The 107-year-old building has been in foreclosure since January, 2011, and under the control of Patrice Spitzer, a court-appointed receiver. The building was scheduled for sheriff’s auction because of unpaid property taxes that surpass $130,000.

Land Bank officials have committed to keeping the building open. But once it takes control, all the liens and back taxes are stripped off the property and the Land Bank then can take ownership through the forfeiture process, said Scott Ciolek, an attorney representing Ms. Spitzer, the court-appointed receiver.

“They can decide how to run the building or find a company to redevelop it,” Mr. Ciolek said. “But the Land Bank has their own agenda. If anyone wants to own the building, they should not count on working with the Land Bank. It has strict rules on how it operates and who it works with.”

Mr. Ciolek said any would-be owners need to attend the June 27 auction and make a bid to buy the building.

Otherwise, it is unlikely a prospective buyer would be able to attain any level of ownership later.

Although Thursday’s auction drew no bids, several tenants of the building attended in hopes of meeting with any potential bidders.

“There have been interested buyers for the past two years. They have come in and shown interest and we assumed they were waiting to bid [Thursday],” Mr. Ciolek said. “I don’t know if they lost interest or they were more interested in the Nicholas Building,” he added.

The adjacent Nicholas Building, at 608 Madison Ave., is scheduled for a sheriff's sale July 11.

The 17-story building, which formerly was the downtown headquarters of Fifth Third Bank, was closed in September, 2009, because of unpaid utility bills.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.