Middletown building project progressing after another delay as city eyes first floor

Work on a downtown Middletown building, which has been delayed for a few months, is expected to get back on track soon, according to its developer.

Steve Coon, president of Canton-based Coon Restoration and Sealants and the Historic Goetz Tower LLC, said the $3.5 million project had a setback and that its targeted completion date will be in 2020. Coon told this news outlet that the 89-year-old Goetz Tower, 1000 Central Ave., has to be completed by the end of 2020. But he said 2,000 square feet of office space on the first floor is expected to be completed by this spring.

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He said the building was without electricity for two months as a result of a nearby Duke Energy transformer malfunction which filled the building with black smoke. Coon said Duke Energy turned the electricity off to the building but there was no other damage to the building.

“This thing seems to have died a thousand deaths. I know everyone is complaining now, but once it’s finished, everyone will be taking credit for it when it opens,” Coon said. “There’s a lot of pieces to projects like this.”

Coon, who has redeveloped 12 buildings in Hamilton, is also working on the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill project there in addition to the Goetz Building project.

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The city of Middletown is working on a lease for the first floor of the building to move the city Economic Development Department. Middletown City Council was supposed to review the proposed five-year lease but pulled it off the Oct. 15 meeting agenda because there were questions on how the lease was structured, Economic Development Director Jennifer Ekey said.

She said she was at a conference and could not respond before the Oct. 15 meeting, so council pulled it from the agenda. Ekey confirmed the city still plans to utilize the first floor of the building.

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Council originally approved the proposal in December 2016 of its intent to lease the building’s first floor. However, delays in the project have pushed dates back. City officials said the building’s office and residential space will help downtown development.

In addition to the 2,000 square feet of office space planned on the first floor, Coon is planning to develop 16 market-rate apartments ranging from 800 to 1,100 square feet inside the seven-story, Art Deco building. The building was constructed in 1930 by the Middletown Building and Deposit Association.

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