Address: 649-655 Evans St., Lower Price Hill
Owner: James and Sandra Triantos
Year Built: Unknown
Comments: This warehouse in an industrial section of Lower Price Hill doesn't look too shabby when you're standing in front of it. The bottom two floors are secure and all the entrances are bolted shut.
But drive west across the Eighth Street viaduct, look to your left and you'll probably notice the building's top three floors of open windows and its decaying back corner don't look very pretty.
James Hoerth, the owner from 1983 to 1999, stored auto parts here but didn't maintain the building, so the city issued a demolition order in August 1999. Hoerth gave the building to James Triantos, who owned a manufacturing facility behind it.
Triantos planned to renovate the building into rental space for business records and maybe offices. In exchange, he allowed Hoerth to keep auto parts in the building for five years as long as Hoerth gradually moved them out.
The problems started when Triantos discovered the building's elevator needed $25,000 worth of work — more than he expected. Soon he was asking for a fourth 90-day extension from the city.
He didn't get it, and the building was close to being demolished. In August 2000 city inspectors suggested Triantos get a $100,000 loan from the Department of Economic Development. That would delay demolition, they said. In February 2001 Triantos received the loan paperwork. But Triantos says the city wanted $400,000 in collateral and he wanted a list of work that would eliminate the demolition order. The city couldn't guarantee it wouldn't tear down the building, so Triantos was hesitant to invest more money.
Last week he received the long-anticipated demolition notice. If he needs to, he says, he'll fight in court to protect the $40,000 he's already spent on renovation. First he just wants to talk to city employees.
"I'm frustrated," Triantos says. "I don't want it to look like it is."
BLIGHT OF THE WEEK is an effort to highlight the problem of abandoned buildings — and who's responsible for them.