The Greenbaum building, one of the last remaining historical structures in Waverly, may soon become a footnote in history if the building must be razed due to public safety concerns.
The building was condemned by the Ross County Building Department on July 31, 2018, the same day a hole opened up on the Greenbaum building’s side that faces US 23.
“The final disposition of the building is solely in the hands of the property owner,” Waverly Mayor Greg Kempton said in August 2018. “If it is to be saved, (the owners) are going to have to put together a plan to secure the building quickly and that plan would have to be approved. And then, if that’s not met, the building will have to be razed; it will have to come down.”
On July 7, Kempton shared some additional information about the battle over the building on his Waverly Mayor Facebook page.
“After several years of trying to save the Greenbaum building in downtown Waverly, we are working on ‘plan B’. While it is much more desirable to see a building of the Greenbaum’s historical significance returned to its former glory, the expense to do so exceeds any realistic estimate of a return on investment,” said Kempton in the post.
In the post, Kempton went on to say that he had met with Michael Chesler a few years ago, and went through the building. Chesler is the owner of the Chesler Company that saved the Carlisle building in Chillicothe. At that time, Chesler told Kempton that an investor would lose money on the Greenbaum building and would need the two adjoining buildings bringing in revenue to help support the project. He also told Kempton he would have taken on the project if the village could secure a tenant on a 10-year contract, but there were no takers.
“Several potential buyers have been contacted by myself, the family that previously owned the building, and local realtors,” said Kempton. “The building has always been privately owned. Fines, court dates and even an arrest for failure to appear in court of a previous owner didn’t result in securing the building. There is an ongoing dispute with an adjoining property owner that halted a previous attempt to secure the gaping hole in the side of the building.”
In the post, Kempton explained the fact the building is privately owned has always been problematic for funding to have the building removed. But he said the village has received some traction by contacting individuals at state offices.
“Once the safety concerns were recognized by the right people things have progressed fairly quickly,” said Kempton.
“Several residents thought the village should take ownership and tear the building down at our own expense. This would have involved a financial burden that would have cost around $500,000 by the time (the Market Street) sidewalk and support for the roadway is completed.
“Realistically, we would have had to commit additional funds for contingencies. An expense of this magnitude would definitely effect daily operations of the village and a reduction of services to residents. If we could have taken ownership 15 years earlier, this would be different.
“Unfortunately, without several million dollars to invest by the owner, the only reasonable path forward seems to be demolition.”