As published in Toledo Business Journal - June 1, 2018

The Feick Building in downtown Sandusky

The Feick Building in downtown Sandusky

MDG to invest $14.2M in Feick Building

Marous Development Group (MDG) of Willoughby, Ohio is planning to invest $14.2 million to renovate and redevelop the Feick Building in downtown Sandusky into a mixed-use retail and residential location. The project is expected to start in January 2019 and be completed in June 2020.

The Feick Building is currently 59,000 square feet and with the planned redevelopment – including a five-story addition on the backside – the total space will be 77,500 square feet once completed.

MDG is the developer of the project and will bring in the team of architects and construction industry professionals.

Planning and financing for the project are currently underway, including a substantial investment from the developers, financing through a local bank, and a $1.3 million grant from the City of Sandusky. Federal Historic Tax Credits and Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits are being pursued as well, according to Abbey Bemis, executive director of Erie County Economic Development Corporation (ECEDC)

Bemis also noted that the renovation of the Feick Building, originally built in 1908, will celebrate the community’s past while embracing future growth.

“Though the building has sat vacant for some time, it is structurally sound, and redevelopment will be able to maximize and preserve the historic detailing. Securing State and federal tax credits will allow this project to maintain the brick and windows as historically accurate,” said Bemis. “The façade will be brought back with stone and its original look – careful masonry cleaning and restoration will be performed and decorative elements will be refurbished. The former bank hall at street level will also retain all its premier historic finishes including the ornate ceiling; and surviving historic finishes on ceilings, window openings, and walls will be retained, cleaned, and where missing ¬– reinstated. Portions of the upper floors feature a historic circulation pattern and will be retained along with the terrazzo floor.”

Bemis noted that this project takes what was once known as the “skyscraper” of Sandusky and ultimately restores it to its historic glory while modernizing the space for tenants and residents. The final project will boast 66 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors and retail space for restaurant or entertainment on the first floor.

“This is the largest vacant building in the downtown Sandusky business district which is in the midst of a powerful renaissance, adding 30-plus new businesses in the last three years. There is a pressing need to retain and attract talent to the community to meet the growing job market and the availability of these modern apartments will address that need allowing space for 100 residents,” said Bemis.

Bemis noted that the project will create an estimated 57 new construction jobs and 23-28 new permanent jobs without accounting for the additional economic benefits of 100-plus new individuals living, working, and spending throughout Sandusky’s business district.

“The scale, timing, location, and notoriety of this project suggest it will be a catalyst for additional capital investment into the city. The City expects this project to continue the renaissance of downtown and spur investment in surrounding areas. The momentum this project brings to the city will contribute to the economic development ‘domino effect.’ In similar projects, the injection of people and money into the community provides an economic boost for the surrounding area, reduces crime, and drives philanthropy,” said Bemis.

In 2014, the City of Sandusky pledged that one-half of new admissions tax revenue, a tax that applies to operators of movie theaters, theme parks, professional sporting events, and other activities for which there is an admissions charge, would be used to support local economic development efforts. Since that time, according to officials, the City has supported many new projects with its economic development programs and has fostered millions in new investment.

Recent announcements in the City include the renovation of 125 East Water Street to be the home of the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Visitors & Convention Bureau; as well as another 51,000 square foot downtown renovation from Marous Brothers Construction and Vintage Development Group, which will be a multi-use structure encompassing retail locations, apartments, and a new City Hall.

“Old buildings have intrinsic value as reminders of a community’s complexity, culture, and character. It seems fitting that as Sandusky celebrates its 200th birthday this year it is embarking upon another restoration project that will return a historic property to its glory days in the heart of the City’s vibrant downtown,” concluded Bemis.


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