Lebanon sues local businessman over redevelopment building violations

The owners of a former shoe factory that’s supposed to be redeveloped as a $12 million microbrewery and event center have been sued by the city of Lebanon.

K&D Alexander Commercial Properties 4 has until Jan. 2 to respond to the lawsuit asking the local judge to order the owners to correct the violations and the city “or its agents” to fix all building-code violations at the owners’ cost.

In addition, the lawsuit filed in Lebanon Municipal Court asks the court to appoint someone to oversee the work at the owners’ cost and fine the owners $100 a day “for each and every day of such continuing violations.”

The company is one of those in which the Alexander family manages and holds properties.

The company owns more than 50 rental properties, including homes and businesses. They recently purchased the Cobblestone Cafe and Hamill House Inn in Waynesville.

The family business holdings also include Rose & Remington and Birch & Burlap clothing and home decor businesses.

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These businesses were launched on Main Street in Lebanon, but include locations at the Dayton Mall, Liberty Center and are expected go nationwide in 2020.

Earlier this year, the Lebanon Planning Commission approved exterior improvements, including replacement of the windows, with the condition that the work be completed in July, City Manager Scott Brunka said.

The violations listed in the lawsuit for the building, 120 E. South St., include chipped and peeling paint on window frames, missing window panes, rotting wooden steps and a chimney “rusted through to the base.”

The family has installed a security fence and made some improvements.

Last week, Keith and Nate Alexander said the violations would be corrected.

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“The city has been more than helpful. They want to make sure everyone’s safe,” Nate Alexander said.

The lawsuit was filed on Sept. 26, several months after city officials expected work to begin on The Shoe project.

“Early spring, we’ll be able to get started,” Alexander, son of Keith and Dee Alexander, said last week.

He said the family was awaiting building approvals from the city and county and bids for a sprinkler system for The Shoe.

Mark Yurick, city attorney for Lebanon, said the city was about to bring such a lawsuit when the Alexanders proposed the redevelopment.

“We’re just trying to get compliance,” Yurick said, explaining that such litigation usually ends with the owners proposing to make the repairs.

“There’s no real good alternative,” Yurick said, because violations are typically traced to a lack of funds.

Otherwise Yurick said property owners wind up paying fines with money they could otherwise to fix up the building in question.

He said the city would probably accept a schedule for improvements “if it’s reasonable.”

In August, Keith Alexander said it’s going to take some time” to replace 367 windows in the building.

Yurick acknowledged, “It’s a big job.”

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