The Truth Staff
“The Land Bank rarely gives up on buildings,” said Lucas County Commissioner on Tuesday, July 26, during a press conference to announce just that – the demolition of the Rosemary Apartments Building on the corner of Detroit and Phillips.
The “bad history and bad owners,” noted Gerken of the building, led to just that, the impending demolition of a six-story building that has been an eyesore – a very dangerous eyesore – in north Toledo for over 20 years.
“We all need housing, but this isn’t the housing that we need,” added Gerken.
The building was declared a public nuisance by the authority of the Land Bank in May 2022 after the current owner failed to abate over 60 pages worth of nuisance conditions. That authority was ceded to the Land Bank by the City of Toledo.
The Rosemary was built in 1923 and had 31,000 square feet of residential space within its six floors.
“It was a viable place,” said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz of the building that is now located in the Ottawa River flood plane. “The City of Toledo and the Land Bank are dedicated to historic preservation whenever possible.”
In the case of the Rosemary Apartments, noted the mayor and the rest of the speakers at the announcement of the impending demolition, preservation is not possible. The building has been closed for about 20 years and various owners since then have allowed the building to deteriorate beyond possible restoration, even were it not located in the flood plane. There are no plans to build another structure on the site – the future will be green space at the corner of Detroit and Phillips, said Lucas County Treasurer Lindsay Webb, who led the charge to have the structure demolished.
Also present at the announcement were the family – father, mother and sister – of Joshua Sorrell, a student/athlete at Whitmer High School who lost his life in the building in 2016 when he was 16 years old. Joshua fell down the building’s abandoned elevator shaft. The day of the announcement, Tuesday, July 26, coincidentally, would have been Joshua’s 23rd birthday.
Demolition will be put out to bid to local contractors in the coming months. The demolition costs will be paid by the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program which was created by the Ohio General Assembly and signed into law by Governor DeWine in June 2021. The Land Bank has been awarded $500,000 through the Ohio Department of Development from the program to date with most of that funding to be used for the Rosemary Apartments project.
The Land Bank is waiting for an additional $12,000,000 that has been requested for demolition projects in Toledo and the rest to Lucas County.