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MUSA Citizen
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    Posted: Jul 12 2018 at 9:11am
City gets offer for old Rose Furniture building

Updated July 18, 2013
By Michael D. Pittman, Staff Writer, Journal-News


A group calling itself Historic Rose Furniture LLC wants to salvage a 109-year-old downtown building targeted for demolition.

The building at 36 S. Main St., also known as the former Rose Furniture building, has been targeted for demolition by the city. In May, the Middletown Historic Commission voted 5-2 to permit demolishing most of the building except for the facade, though the city’s Community Revitalization Department was seeking a total demolition.

The city, which acquired the building in 2011, is still seeking proposals to demolish the building while saving the facade and without saving the facade, both options though will be upwards of $300,000 or more. Demolition would be abnormally expensive because the adjacent buildings, just like the other buildings in the block, are connected, and demolition would expose interior walls.

But the Historic Rose Furniture LLC wants to put the breaks on that option.

This past Friday, the group presented an offer to acquire the building and restore it. The group includes Mike Robinette, the city’s former economic development director, and Steve Coon, the developer that took the Mercantile building in downtown Hamilton from the jaws of demolition to thriving loft apartments.

That offer includes a $200,000 grant from the city that would transfer to Historic Rose Furniture once the building is stabilized, which could happen in several months.

One concern some on council had is if the group will ask for additional money, which Robinette said they “don’t expect to,” but will seek state and historic tax credits.

The project could see upwards of $1 million being invested on restoration, which Robinette said is based on spending $100 on 10,000 square feet, excluding the basement and part of the back of the building that will likely be demolished to make way for on-site parking.

Robinette said it could take 12 to 18 months to build out the project.

Coon could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

City council will be presented with the offer at the Aug. 6 meeting, and only after the city’s legal department conducts additional due diligence on the offer.

But something needs to be done soon, said city Economic Development Director Denise Hamet, as a hole in the Rose Furniture roof is causing damage to the building to the north at 34 S. Main St.

“But either way, it’s going to cost us some money,” she said.

Hamet said the city needs to decide what option will “cost us the least amount of money and to leverage whatever we need to spend for this to create something bigger and better.”

There is one fairly large similarity the Rose Furniture building has with Hamilton’s Mercantile building, said Mike Dingeldein, an architect in Hamilton.

“That’s exactly how the Mercantile building looked five years ago,” he said.

The Mercantile building, which is nearly 3½ times the square feet as the Rose building, was also a dilapidated eye sore in the city’s downtown. Dingeldein has been impressed with Coon’s ability to take the Mercantile building from the doorstep of demolition to a jewel of downtown Hamilton.

“He’s very, very good at dealing with existing, dilapidated buildings,” Dingeldein said. “The city (of Hamilton) was thinking there was nothing that could be done with it.”

Now there are 29 loft apartments and three businesses, including Dingeldein’s, in the Mercantile building.

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MUSA Council
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 12 2018 at 11:53am
350 grand has already been wasted on this dilapidated property. Just demolish it and create another open lot hole in the city. Seems to be the thing to do here the last few decades. Let's move on from the Rose situation.

Lessons learned for the city. Enough evidence has been presented to convince the city not to deal with Robinette and Grau in any capacity again. They should be on the blacklist for any city proposals involving development from here on.

It is simple. Hamilton knows how to find credible developers and make old turn to new, re-purposing older structures. Middletown gives money to losers who never accomplish a thing toward honoring any contract with the city and ends up wasting money in the development attempt and demolishing every building in the city. Hamilton ends up with useful redone buildings and Middletown ends up with a large open space for weeds to grow and the old "bombed out/war zone" look city leaders are known for.

Perhaps Hamilton just flat out has smarter people running their city than Middletown does. Such a shame. Perhaps Middletown leaders can get in the car, take a roadtrip 14 miles south and ask the smarter people how to develop a city. Gotta find an alternative to the failed ways of doing things if they wish to have any success at all. (another shot.....same goes for the schools by the way) Find who is successful and emulate what they do may be a suggestion here.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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