The building that houses Hope House, a homeless shelter, and a barber shop on South Main Street in Middletown has been sold. The new owners plan to help the current two tenants find new space. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Photo: ED RICHTER/STAFF
Photo: ED RICHTER/STAFF

Middletown homeless shelter to relocate after current building bought

A group of about six investors — some local, some from Canada — recently purchased a South Main Street building for $115,000 and plan to renovate the property into retail/office space or residential, said Greg Clewer, a partner of BTFO LLC.

The building has two tenants — Middletown’s homeless shelter and a barber shop — and Clewer said he plans to work with those businesses to find new locations.

Hope House, the city’s homeless shelter, plans to build a men’s homeless shelter on Grove Street, said Tim Williams, director of operations. Depending on funding, that facility may be open sometime in 2019, he said.

Clewer said buying the building “made a lot of sense” because of the improvements the investors have witnessed downtown. He also was interested because of the building’s location.

“An attractive purchase” is how Clewer described the business decision.

In the last few years, bars, restaurants, hair salons, music shops, and specialty shops have opened downtown.

While Clewer isn’t sure how the South Main Street building will be repurposed, he said its use will be “more suited for the area” and “meaningful” for the continued redevelopment of downtown.

The three-story building features 30,000 square feet and once was called the US Hotel. Hope House opened in 1989 as an answer to the city’s growing homeless population and All About Cutz, a barbershop, opened a new years ago.

“Something needs to be done to bring it back to life,” Clewer said.

Since December 1987, the property has sold three times, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office. That year it sold for $9,600, then for $39,000 in May 1989 and $115,000 on Sept. 25, according to county records.

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