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Goetz Tower Project

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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2017 at 9:47pm
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:

Thank you Vivian!

Isn't it true that the city passed an ordinance prohibiting living in a commercial building? Has this been reconsidered? If not the Goetz, Rose and Journal buildings all would not be in compliance. Why shouldn't present owners of those buildings with available living space not be allowed to use them fully? Or have they just given up trying to survive and moved on, leaving another black hole for the city to raze or give away? Is this the reason no one is living downtown?

I believe this is dependent on zoning.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2017 at 9:54pm
Upper floor living is permitted in UCC and UCS which is what most of the downtown core falls under


Do your homework before you start ranting off hearsay whistlersmom 
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Analytical View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2017 at 10:00pm
Bill (realtor) or Marty or Sam A,?   Just a hunch?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2017 at 10:05pm
Originally posted by Analytical Analytical wrote:

Bill (realtor) or Marty or Sam A,?   Just a hunch?
No, no and no.  


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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2017 at 9:20am

Census records show that over the past 200 years many business men and their families lived over or behind their shops in the downtown area. Everything that a family needed was available within walking distance of the downtown area.

When you want to revitalize a downtown area today this is what you are trying to recreate.

An urban dweller does not need or want a front porch, a backyard with a grill or grass to mow.
So the populations you are now looking for are young adults without children and the elderly.
This is why most cities first use HUD funding to help repopulate their downtown areas.

When City Hall talks about putting apartments above a business in the downtown area they need to remember that people today will not want a third floor walkup…they will want an elevator.


The Goetz Tower is a great building however in order to support high end apartments it needs attached parking imo.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2017 at 12:40pm
Surely not Mr. Robinette or another "downtown" property owner?  It says much about you for: 1) being so cognizant of city council, board of zoning appeals and planning commission history pertaining to "downtown"; 2) resource person of zoning regulations, property ownership and transfers, etc. as they relate to "downtown", and, 3) in-the-know source of "downtown" scuttlebutt.  And, by the way, your condescending comments about WhistlersMom, etc. were over the top.
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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2017 at 1:30pm
Originally posted by Analytical Analytical wrote:

Surely not Mr. Robinette or another "downtown" property owner?  It says much about you for: 1) being so cognizant of city council, board of zoning appeals and planning commission history pertaining to "downtown"; 2) resource person of zoning regulations, property ownership and transfers, etc. as they relate to "downtown", and, 3) in-the-know source of "downtown" scuttlebutt.  And, by the way, your condescending comments about WhistlersMom, etc. were over the top.
Nope. 

As I continue to reiterate, everything I have stated or posted is a matter of public record and searchable on the internet with a key search terms.

Yes, I do keep a pulse on the downtown area simply because i am interested in is redevelopment and am of the personal opinion that it is crucial if Middletown is to make a turnaround. That is simply an opinion that I have. I do not own property downtown nor do I have a business downtown.

What i says about me is that I try to be informed when I post, providing factual backup whenever feasible.
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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2017 at 1:35pm
Originally posted by Vivian Moon Vivian Moon wrote:

Census records show that over the past 200 years many business men and their families lived over or behind their shops in the downtown area. Everything that a family needed was available within walking distance of the downtown area.

When you want to revitalize a downtown area today this is what you are trying to recreate.

An urban dweller does not need or want a front porch, a backyard with a grill or grass to mow.
So the populations you are now looking for are young adults without children and the elderly.
This is why most cities first use HUD funding to help repopulate their downtown areas.

When City Hall talks about putting apartments above a business in the downtown area they need to remember that people today will not want a third floor walkup…they will want an elevator.


The Goetz Tower is a great building however in order to support high end apartments it needs attached parking imo.

Goetz is a great building and i think conversion to apartments makes sense.  Agree that for this development, an elevator is crucial--i understand this is a component of the project.

Disagree on the need for attached parking.  At the moment, there is plenty of surrounding surface-level parking.  I think it's important to consider future forecast of auto dependency and growth of ride-sharing services and driverless cars.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 11 2017 at 11:51am
swohio75:

"I think it's important to consider future forecast of auto dependency and growth of ride-sharing services and driverless cars".

Don't know about anyone else but it will be a cold day in hell before I get in a car that is controlled by a computer and is "driverless". Too much distrust on the computer malfunctioning and loss of control. Prefer a human (me) driving the car. I can't fathom the concept being widely accepted at this time. I don't want a computer driven car coming at me on a two lane highway at 50-60 MPH (although it would be better than a person on heroin or drunk coming at me I suppose). Both are risky.

Mass transit/ride share?......right now, don't see it happening in the downtown area as it just isn't, nor, IMO, will it ever be populated enough to warrant ride share or mass transit to and from downtown. Based on the downtown progress/growth in the last four decades, I don't notice a great amount of need for moving people around simply because of the scarcity of downtown foot traffic to date and the potential customer base for mass transit of ride share. Right now, adding to the argument against mass transit and ride share, is the fact the there are very few people actually calling the downtown home right now nor is there any indication, other than this Goetz Tower talk, that there will be in the near future. The Manchester Hotel idea of making the hotel into condos fell through so that is off the table on the "people living in the downtown" topic. All JMO of course.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 11 2017 at 7:45pm
Historic Goetz Tower Project Financing Questions

Background:  As per the last City Council workbook, it states that this project will ultimately cost $3,000,000 (+/- 10%).  It also mentions that the ultimate capital outlay of the project redeveloper will total $2,000,000 (+/- 10%).  It is understood that $600,000 in tax credits will be available to defray project redeveloper costs.

Questions:  Please restate where the $400,000 balance in estimated project costs will come from?  Second, what is the amount of square footage of ground floor space to be utilized via a five-year lease with the city?  Third, as per the lease agreement, how much will the city pay per square foot, monthly rent and annual cost for said space?  Note: my apologies in advance to swohio75, etc. if any or all of these questions have been answered already.

Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 11 2017 at 10:36pm
Historic Goetz Tower Income and Project Cash Flow

According to the latest City Council workbook, completion of this project will yield 10+ apartments.  Therefore, what will be the unit mix and projected rent rates?

Even with tax credits and city subsidies, will this project generate sufficient income to cover debt service and maybe generate a little positive cash flow for the redeveloper?  As said earlier, the above statement regarding the number of rentals, unit mix and anticipated rent rates would be most helpful to know.

Thank you.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 12 2017 at 9:30am
swohio75:

"Yes, I do keep a pulse on the downtown area simply because i am interested in is redevelopment and am of the personal opinion that it is crucial if Middletown is to make a turnaround. That is simply an opinion that I have."

Wow!!!! Seriously sw? You actually are of the opinion that the success of the downtown development will make or break Middletown's turnaround?

I would think that even if the downtown made it all the way to completion, and they achieved all they wanted downtown, it would only attract a very small, niche clientele interested mainly in the arts, fru fru, specialized coffee shops and "yuppie" type interests. Considering the current direction, lack of measurable progress over decades of business startup/failure attempts, and the ultimate theme they are trying to achieve, I can't see more than 2-3% of the total population of Middletown heading for the downtown area at all, and that may be a generous percentage assumption on my part. If they are going to pull people to the downtown area, given the current/future offerings in their plans, they will have to rely on a huge percentage of out of town patrons to frequent the businesses down there. They are certainly not going to fill the stores with Middletonians.

If that is true, I can guess there won't be enough pull from out of town visitors to make a real difference at all and therefore, can assume that the downtown will never prosper as planned by the downtown supporters. IMO, the downtown dream is never going to fully materialize if the reliance is on non-resident customers. IMO, they need to change the theme to match the demographic interests of the community. It is blue collar, not artzy/cultural white collar in make-up.

Couple that with the fact the the downtown stopped becoming a shopping, entertainment, attraction destination decades ago and by offering nothing for those decades,has given itself a permanent black eye as to interest. It is now and has been the norm to think there is nothing to go downtown for.

I just can't see the downtown having enough clout to make any impact on making or breaking Middletown whatsoever. It hasn't made any impact since it went dormant in the 70's and the city found shopping in the east end, entertainment out of town and interests elsewhere. I see nothing that the majority of the city would be interested in in the downtown, that they haven't made allowances for already. JMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 15 2017 at 10:35am
sw said:

Upper floor living is permitted in UCC and UCS which is what most of the downtown core falls under



http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Ohio/middletown_oh/parttwelveplanningandzoningcode/titlefourzoning/chapter1254ucurbancoredistricts?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0




Do your homework before you start ranting off hearsay whistlersmom


In answer:

Not sure what, if any, regulations on living space over businesses existed before 2007.

The online library for public records, amlegal.com, shows that in 2007 numerous and very stringent regulations for revitalization (including the living space over business) in Middletown’s downtown area, were put in place. It looks like getting through that maze would require at least some insider assistance. An unsuspecting newcomer might be well on the way to building up a business location only to be confronted with an obscure ordinance (unrelated to the matter at hand) which requires a fee of several hundred $ to get a variance, since it will be otherwise impossible to comply. Or at this point the city could decide that it would be impossible to comply and put an end to the project in midstream with no consideration for expenses already incurred. The city is well known for selective enforcement of ordinances. Might this be tantamount to selecting winners and losers?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 15 2017 at 1:28pm
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:

sw said:

Upper floor living is permitted in UCC and UCS which is what most of the downtown core falls under



http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Ohio/middletown_oh/parttwelveplanningandzoningcode/titlefourzoning/chapter1254ucurbancoredistricts?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0




Do your homework before you start ranting off hearsay whistlersmom


In answer:

Not sure what, if any, regulations on living space over businesses existed before 2007.

The online library for public records, amlegal.com, shows that in 2007 numerous and very stringent regulations for revitalization (including the living space over business) in Middletown’s downtown area, were put in place. It looks like getting through that maze would require at least some insider assistance. An unsuspecting newcomer might be well on the way to building up a business location only to be confronted with an obscure ordinance (unrelated to the matter at hand) which requires a fee of several hundred $ to get a variance, since it will be otherwise impossible to comply. Or at this point the city could decide that it would be impossible to comply and put an end to the project in midstream with no consideration for expenses already incurred. The city is well known for selective enforcement of ordinances. Might this be tantamount to selecting winners and losers?

Upper level rental units have been a general practice, as I had a family member rent a unit above a commercial building along Central in the 1990s. Also Peggy and Tom Blakely revocated the upper level of the old Greathouse store (ground level was their insurance office) into a single dwelling unit.  And this was while the mall was still in tact. 

I do know of one current project (outside of Goetz) where a dwelling unit is being constructed above retail space in a commercial building. It is a single unit and will be owner occupied. 

I stand by what I said past on zoning classifications that upper floor living is permitted in UCC and UCS which is what most of the downtown core falls under at this time. 

Exterior modifications are governed by the Council on Landmarks and Historic Districts.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middletownscouter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 15 2017 at 4:21pm
For a while in the late 1990's I lived with a couple of friends on the upper floor of one of the downtown buildings along Central.  There was an antique store below if I recall correctly.  We moved out after the owner of the store (possibly building) decided he and his wife were going to move into the residence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 15 2017 at 9:15pm
Here are some excerpts (with inserted comments in parentheses) from the latest article (of 2/15/2017) that Middletown city officials have dictated to the Journal News:
NEW DETAILS
Middletown focuses on downtown living
Goetz Tower project moves forward without 1 developer.
By Mike Rutledge
StaffWriter
The Goetz Tower stands at the intersection of Main Street and Central Avenue. Middletown officials say they are seeing a demand for housing and hope to convert the historic building into apartments. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
MIDDLETOWN — A project to bring more market-rate housing to downtown Middletown is moving forward but without one of the original two developers.

(We still don’t know who (other than, formerly, Robinette) the developers are!)

Revitalizing downtown is one of the key strategies city officials are pushing in an effort to return Middletown to vibrancy.
City officials have invested hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in the purchase of vacant buildings that they’ve turned around and sold at a reduced rate, and in some cases given away, to investors and groups to redevelop.

(WOW, city officials have blatantly admitted to our complaint about their tunnel vision “strategy of downtown revitalization.” Using taxpayer money to buy buildings to give away is a waste by a city that refuses to repair our streets, refuses to spend tax dollars as intended and refuses to live up to their fiduciary responsibilities.)

Almost 2½ years after Middletown signed an agreement with two companies to redevelop Goetz Tower, located at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and South Main Street, council approved an update to the contract without one of the entities.
Grassroots Ohio has been removed from the original agreement to renovate and restore the former Middletown Building and Deposit Association Building at 1000 Central Ave. with a mix of retail, office and apartments.
Under the original agreement, the city granted a 100 percent tax exemption to improvements to real property for 12 years. The agreement specifies the project was to begin in December 2016, with completion of “all acquisition, construction and installation” by Dec. 31, 2017.

(After 2 ½ years, somebody finally decides to stipulate in a contract that the project should begin in Dec. 2016. How gullible is the Journal? Delaying 2 ½ years before starting a project doesn’t make sense. I’d like to see the date and content of the original contract , if it exists. And, thankfully, they have designated a completion date of Dec. 31,2017, which however, will mean nothing without stipulating a penalty for failing to complete.)

Mike Robinette, who signed on behalf of both Historic Goetz Tower LLC as its president and also as the president of Grassroots Ohio in the original agreement.
According to the amendment of the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) Agreement, Historic Goetz Tower LLC now will invest $3 million, plus or minus 10 percent, in improvements to the building.

(Is this like the $12 million then amended to $20 million that was to be spent on the Manchester Inn? Is it like the $1.5 million to $2 million that was to be spent on the Rose Furniture building? Is it like the millions that was to be spent on the Journal building? To date none of the promised work toward repurposing any of these buildings has occurred. Oh, but there was removal of the valuable antique glass windows from the Journal building.)

Robinette said via email he no longer is part of the Goetz Tower or Rose Furniture (at 36 S. Main St.) projects in Middletown. He is, however, still developing two other properties downtown for a micro-distillery set to open this spring.
The Goetz Tower project is still an exciting, positive move, said Vice Mayor Dora Bronston, noting that it can increase the vitality of downtown.

(The Goetz Tower has not been developed in 2 ½ years. How is an empty building increasing the vitality of downtown? Maybe the rent for the first floor (a gift from council) for unneeded space will help the unknown members of the LLC live a little better lives.)

By adding more downtown living space, she said during a recent council meeting, more impetus for additional shops and businesses will be created.
Middletown’s draft strategic plan for the downtown corridor noted the need for more downtown residents in order to lure more businesses.
(But you need the businesses to lure residents downtown. We continue to see failure after expensive failure on both fronts.)
Jennifer Ekey, the economic development director for Middletown, said she believes trendy urban living inside the Goetz Tower will be a large part of downtown’s revitalization.
“This will be our first foray into market-rate housing in our downtown,” Ekey said “That’s why this is such a critical piece for us in, sort of, the revitalization of downtown Middletown.”
It’s critical because the city doesn’t just want to bring people downtown — it wants to keep them there.
But it seems the vision is getting some resistance. City Manager Doug Adkins wrote in his blog that “downtown seems to be the economic development area that irritates people or part of this city’s rebirth that the residents don’t fully understand.”
The key to winning people over may involve getting them to stop looking at Middletown’s past, and get them instead looking toward its future, according to Ekey.
“People remember Middletown the way it used to be, and it’s never going to be the way it was in the ’30s or the ’40s or the ’50s or the ’60s, but that’s OK,” Ekey said. “We’re here to create something new.”
Triple Moon Coffee Company owner Heather Gibson, who opened her downtown business about two years ago, agreed.

(Hasn’t this ploy been used multiple times? The wool has been pulled threadbare. There seems to be a lack of any other positive examples. Yes, that’s irritating to people to be told that we don’t understand. Why, Mr. Adkins, do you continue? It is you who doesn’t understand that your “strategy of spend millions of tax payers $ downtown, give away millions worth of property and amenities (golf course, parks, etc.), tear down millions in real estate (with resulting loss of tax base)” isn’t and likely never will be in any way positive. I site the present economic condition of our city which has shown no improvement for years on end.)

“I think the more that we do down here and the more people that come down here, it’s going to happen, it’s just going to take time to get that old mentality out,” Gibson said.
Officials hope to have the Goetz Tower renovation done in a year with 16 units. From there, the city hopes the future holds as many as 180 more units as part of the continued rebirth of downtown
Journal-News media partner WCPO contributed to this report.
Contact this reporter at 513-483-5233 or Mike.Rutledge@coxinc.com.
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