Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 19, 2013

Sell of Nobil building put into motion

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — Two years after sinking $175,000 into reconstructing the former Nobil Shoe building on Winchester Avenue, the city is moving forward on plans to sell it.

The city commission agreed Thursday to sell the building by sealed bid. The commission set a bid floor of $50,000 and imposed some other conditions, including that the buyer complete development of the street-level floor and basement to commercial space within a year from closing the sale and convert the upper floor into residential space within two years.

The sale restrictions will discourage speculative buyers who might purchase the building and forego further development, city manager Steve Corbitt said.

The city doesn’t need the building and wants to promote new business and residential development downtown, Corbitt said.

The city bought the building in September 2010 for $42,000 and at the time officials were undecided whether to renovate it or tear it down.

Vacant at the time for at least five years, its roof was leaking and some sections of the floors were rotten. The city fixed the roof and floors, stabilized support beams and demolished a rear section of the building.

The work was to have been financed by a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant. The city lost the grant and had to pay for the work itself and budgeted $175,000 to do it.

There is no plumbing and electrical systems need replacement. “It’s kind of a shell right now,” Corbitt said.

The reconstructed building now is a downtown asset, according to economic development director Chris Pullem. The city had not planned to move on the sale so soon but with the building included in Saturday’s Downtown Living Tour it seemed wise to market it immediately.

The tour typically draws people who are considering downtown investment. “It’s a good chance for someone to pick up a downtown building, open a business and experience downtown living,” Pullem said.

The city has several other buildings in various parts of towns it is likely to put on the market in the near future, Corbitt said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.