With a two-property building beginning to crumble at its corners, Broad Street could see an empty lot in the near future.
The City of Hillsdale is considering demolishing the properties at 23 and 25 N. Broad Street, due to the fact the building owner has failed to meet the city’s property maintenance code for some time.
“The front facade is separating, if you go inside, it’s even worse because there’s no roof in the center section of the building. It’s really bad,” City Manager David Mackie said at the Nov. 5 Hillsdale City Council meeting.
The Tax Increment Finance Authority plans to discuss the demolition process of the property at its meeting next week, before presenting a plan to the city council.
“Unfortunately, the building has been neglected for years and is deteriorated beyond the point of repair,” according to the council meeting agenda item summary. “It is a serious hazard to the CIty that must be demolished ASAP.”
The property was posted as unsafe in December 2015, when Planning and Zoning Administrator Alan Beeker inspected the building with an architect and found significant damage to the foundation, exterior walls, floors, and interior. The property’s problems were caused by roof failure as well as lack of maintenance. The owner, Mortgage Management LLC, was ordered by the city to submit a plan for demolition or repair and complete that plan within the next six months, according to the a write-up from City Assessor Kimberly Thomas which was given to the council.
After failure to comply with these requests, Hillsdale’s Department of Public Services placed barricades along the sidewalk outside the building in September 2017.
The building’s owner was ordered by the city to either bring it up to code through repairs or demolish the building by Jan. 23, 2018. When Mortgage Management LLC failed to meet those orders, the issue went to the Hillsdale County Circuit Court on the grounds of potential foreclosure due to unpaid property taxes, according to a March 2018 Collegian article.
The property was foreclosed on in April after the property owners, who owed more than $50,000, failed to pay even a minimal payment of $3,566.23 to redeem the property.
Stephanie Kyser, county treasurer, had the building re-inspected in June. The conclusion of the engineer’s assessment was a recommendation that the building be demolished, the report said.
“This is the safest and most cost-effective solution,” Richard Moran wrote in his report of the inspection, published in a city council packet. “Any attempt at repairs would be band-aid fixes and would not overcome the structural inadequacies that exists.”
The first county tax sale was held in August, with the minimum bid at $50,000, the amount owed in back taxes. When no one bid on the property, a second county tax sale was held in October, and the City of Hillsdale purchased the property for $75.
“Since then, at that particular time, the county had received an engineering reporting stating that the building needed to be torn down,” Mackie said at the council meeting. “That all those years of tax delays and no maintenance on the property had deteriorated the building to such a degree that there is no repair of it.”
Purchasing the property will allow the city to apply for blight elimination grants and other available funds. Ultimately, following demolition, the property will either be sold for redevelopment or left as a green space.
“I thought given our staff and our ability to search out grants with Kelly LoPresto and my office, that we were more inclined to actually get something done with that property and search out a grant to demolish it and work with, potentially, private interest to either redevelop it or maintain green space,” Mackie said.
Mackie said several private parties have expressed interest in the potential empty property.