Historic Middletown building redevelopment moving forward with celebration today

The Goetz Tower stands at the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
The Goetz Tower stands at the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A “restoration celebration” kickoff is planned for this morning at the Goetz Tower in downtown Middletown.

The event is being presented by Historic Developers and Moving Middletown Forward at the building located at 1000 Central Ave. which is undergoing a $3.5 million restoration and redevelopment.

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Several officials will be speaking at the event including Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr.; Steve Coon of Historic Developers; Ken Cohen, Middletown Moving Forward board president; Tim Abbott of Duke Energy; Traci Barnett, Middletown Community Foundation executive director; and Zach Bohannon, senior field representative for U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson’s office.

“I’m really excited,” Coon said. “There are a lot of nice buildings that can be redeveloped in Middletown. I hope this inspires other people to invest in these buildings here.”

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The seven-story office building is being redeveloped into 16 market-rate apartments ranging from 800 to 1,100 square-feet. The Art Deco building was constructed in 1930.

Coon said the apartments should be ready for occupancy in 2020.

In addition, about 2,000 square feet of office space on the first floor and second floor mezzanine will be utilized by the Middletown Economic Development Department and the Small Business Development Center, Coon said that space should be ready for occupancy by October.

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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 2018.

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.

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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 said he will be seeking another extension due to delays in settling the insurance issues from the water damage.