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$14M project proposed for the Feick Building

  • Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY — A multimillion-dollar proposal calls for reactivating one of downtown Sandusky’s tallest and largest buildings.

During Monday’s public meeting, city commissioners backed a financial package specifically tailored for project developer Marous Brothers Construction to revamp and modernize the empty Feick Building on East Market Street.

The $14.22 million initiative involves:

• Rehabilitating the eight-story structure, which closed in 2015 because, in short, building owner Lance Warner couldn’t afford about $4.3 million in upgrades necessary to keep tenants there; Under this proposal, Warner would sell the building to Marous.

• Creating 66 new “market-rate” apartments, ranging from one- to two-bedroom units

• Building street-level storefronts for businesses, retail or entertainment options in which they would lease space from Marous

• Adding 18,500 square feet, which would increase the building’s total size to 77,000 square feet, by expanding on a section only standing three stories tall today.

• Establishing 57 jobs when factoring in work for construction, property management and at the storefronts

An artist rendering reimagines the Feick Building as a structure housing 66 apartments and street-level storefronts. The project, if approved, would call for making the entire building eight stories tall. A small portion today (background) would increase five stories, from three stories to eight stories, expanding its total size to 77,000 square feet.

The project, however, won’t move forward without Marous receiving upward of $4 million in state and federal tax credits. Company representatives said it’s a necessary component required for pursuing this venture.

Two opportunities exist later this year for Marous to apply for tax credits. If the company secures these funds in 2018, it can start construction by mid-2019. A grand opening ceremony would then occur by mid-2020.

If Marous obtains tax credits, then city officials vowed to provide $1.3 million in local grant funds, specifically earmarked for local economic development undertakings. The $1.3 million represents about 9 percent of this total project cost. In terms of percentages, it falls in line with other projects receiving money from this account.

This would mark the second city-based development project supervised by Marous Brothers Construction. It’s also overseeing an $11.5 million initiative consisting of a new City Hall, apartments and street-level businesses in three empty structures.

During Monday’s Sandusky city commission meeting, officials approved a $14.22 million package to overhaul the vacant Feick Building in downtown Sandusky.

Sounding off

Several people involved in the deal spoke about its significance.

They include:

• Sandusky city commissioner Dick Brady: It’s incumbent upon cities to be the catalyst for these kinds of developments. The city is willing to play a role in this. There is so much economic incentive here. We could have 66 additional families paying income tax in the city. It’s a game-changer not just for downtown but for the entire city.

• Sandusky economic development specialist Maria Muratori: This block is a pretty challenged block in the business district. There are a lot of vacant buildings. We do have the Hogrefes (a married couple from California buying up several downtown Sandusky buildings in recent months) investing a lot of money around there, and this project will be tremendously important to continue that investment we are seeing.

• Marous Brothers Construction president Chip Marous: We already have a major investment in Sandusky (the City Hall project), and we are always willing to look at other projects in Sandusky. This property came along, we took a look at it, determined it has some good bones and wanted to pursue some other opportunities there. Through our due diligence, we know there is a demand for apartments in downtown. In order to attract the young professionals, you have to give them new, modern types of apartments with the right amenities.

• Sandusky city manager Eric Wobser: Repurposing the building and adding up to 100 new residents, who will be spending dollars downtown on a daily basis, will be huge.

• Sandusky chief development officer Matt Lasko: The downtown has seen tremendous growth over the last few years, but it won’t reach its fullest potential without the Feick Building ultimately redeveloped.

During Monday’s Sandusky city commission meeting, officials approved a $14.22 million package to overhaul the vacant Feick Building in downtown Sandusky.

Making sense of the dollars and cents

A proposed $14.22 million project calls for Cleveland-based Marous Brothers Construction to rehabilitate the vacant Feick Building on East Market Street in Sandusky. The initiative involves creating 66 apartments and building out street-level storefronts.

How the project breaks down:

• $7.95 million: money coming from a combination of cash provided by Marous Brothers and tax credit incentives distributed by the federal and state governments; Marous seeks upward of $4 million in tax credits.

• $4.97 million: money coming from Marous Brothers Construction through debt

• $1.3 million: money coming from a city grant

Note: The project is contingent upon Marous receiving tax credits and won’t go forward if it doesn’t get them.

Source: Sandusky economic development corporation

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