Redevelopment of this 88-year-old Middletown tower back on track to feature apartments, businesses

A nearly 90-year-old Middletown building is scheduled to soon transform into office and residential space that officials say will help that area of downtown.

The redevelopment of the Goetz Tower could begin as soon as Thanksgiving, said Steve Coon, president of Canton-based Coon Restoration and Sealants and the Historic Goetz Tower LLC. The structural and design drawings for the $3.5 million project are completed and contracts are being let out to bid, he said.

Coon said plans include 2,000 square feet of office space on the first floor, a second-floor mezzanine and 16 market-rate apartments ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet inside the seven-story, Art Deco building. The building was constructed at 1000 Central Ave. by the Middletown Building and Deposit Association in 1930.

Jennifer Ekey, Middletown’s economic development director, said her department and the Small Business Development Center would occupy the first and second floors of the building. The new office also would provide space to Middletown Moving Forward or other city partners, she said.

“What a better way to tell people we’re in business and want to make things happen than being here yourself,” Coon said. “This is one of the prettiest buildings in Middletown. We just have to breathe new life into it.”

He said he will be keeping much of the building’s original look, such as the mail slots, terrazzo flooring and other features. On the upper two floors, there will be four units that will be stacked for an upper and lower level and will feature a spiral staircase as well as private roof patios.

The project has been in the works since 2014. One of the issues that delayed progress was an interior fire main that burst on the building’s fourth-floor around New Years Day.

Water ran from the pipe for more than 48 hours at a time when the temperatures hit minus 10 degrees with wind speeds of 30 mph, Coon said. Ekey said an adjacent business owner contacted her to report flowing under the doors and freezing.

When Coon and others entered the building, they found the basement had been flooded from the water running down from the fourth floor. He also said when the walls remained damp, they found more water in other places in the building 30 days after the break.

The water damage put the project behind schedule by a year to 14 months, which required Coon to get extensions for state and federal historic tax credits. In addition, Middletown City Council recently extended its Community Reinvestment Area abatement completion date to Dec. 31, 2019. That agreement provides a 100 percent tax abatement for 12 years. The Ohio Developmental Services Agency also agreed to continue the historic tax credits with the same completion date as the city.

Coon, who has restored buildings statewide, also has worked with several buildings in Hamilton including the ArtSpace Hamilton and the Historic Mercantile Lofts, the former Journal-News building, and the former Fifth Third building. His work also includes projects throughout northeast Ohio as well as the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on Lake Erie. In 2017, he purchased the iconic Longaberger building, shaped like a basket, outside of Newark.

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