The crumbling trolley-barn buildings on the Near East Side have a new owner. After months of negotiations and a years-long court odyssey, the owner of the site - Minnie McGee - has sold the property for $337,000 to Brad DeHays, the man behind the Rehab Tavern in Franklinton and broker/owner of Connect Realty.
The crumbling trolley-barn buildings on the Near East Side finally will see new life.
After months of negotiations and a years-long odyssey in and out of court, owner Minnie McGee sold the property for $337,000 to Brad DeHays, owner/broker of Connect Realty and the man behind the Rehab Tavern in East Franklinton.
That’s the value an appraiser set last year for the 3-acre site at 1610 Oak St., south of Franklin Park.
The deal was completed on Thursday, said Peter Merkle, the broker for DeHays. He said DeHays plans a mixed-use development with residential, commercial and retail components. Merkle said the plan calls for the trolley buildings to be preserved and incorporated into the project.
McGee, an assistant dean at Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, bought the property at a sheriff’s sale in 2003 for $231,000. Two years later, the city filed the first of its code-violation complaints against her.
McGee said yesterday that she could not comment.
On Sept. 9, 2013, McGee reached an agreement with the city to sell the property within six months or face foreclosure by the city.
McGee had amassed $30,000 in fines for failing to correct code violations at the property — including collapsing roofs on four of the six buildings — since an April 1 order by then-Franklin County Environmental Judge Harland H. Hale.
Assistant City Attorney Kristen Kroflich said McGee has paid $2,110 in costs related to the foreclosure proceedings. That released the $30,000 lien, which allowed the sale to go through.
City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. said the city held the fines over McGee to “get her off her duff.”
“I know some of the neighbors will say, ‘Punish her,’??” Pfeiffer said. “We reached our goal."
James Flannery, president of the Franklin Park Civic Association, said he and others have been frustrated with the deteriorating buildings that they call an eyesore and a danger to the neighborhood. They’ve also been upset with the delays in the case.
Pfeiffer agreed that it took too long to straighten out. “I think that the city attempts to work with owners to get them to fix the property,” Pfeiffer said. “Perhaps we bend over too far sometimes.”
Flannery said he’s looking forward to talking to DeHays about his plans.
“We are confident that this will be a rewarding investment for the developer, for the Franklin Park neighborhood and for the Near East at large,” Flannery said in a statement.
The six brick buildings at the trolley-barn site were built between 1880 and 1920.
In 2012, DeHays converted the former Three Deuces bar at 456 W. Town St. in East Franklinton into the Rehab Tavern, just down the street from the 400 W. Rich artists’ complex.
He also upgraded the former Custom Coach property at 1400 Dublin Rd. for his business and other tenants to move into.
That gives Kroflich confidence that DeHays can redevelop the trolley-barn site. “You can hear me smiling,” she said.