Address: 660 Lincoln Ave., Walnut Hills
Owner: 660 Lincoln Inc. (a four-person local partnership)
Current Property Value: $468,800
Year Built: 1915
Comments: Eighty years ago, this six-story building built by Henry Ford was the home of the country's third Model-T truck plant. Today it's on the National Register of Historic Places, but it's mostly been a symbol of the city's economic troubles.
Visible from Interstate 71 in Walnut Hills, the building is marred by graffiti and broken windows. It has attracted a great deal of attention from city building inspectors, who visited the site more than 50 times between 1993 and 1997.
Scruples of Cincinnati bought the building in a sheriff's sale in 1994 just months after the small company was founded. But Scruples was unable to bring the building back to a productive use. Scruples filed for bankruptcy in 1997.
In May 1998 bricks were falling onto I-71, so the city spent about $38,000 to remove the remaining loose bricks.
The building's newest owner hopes to turn it into an office building with 100,000 to 125,000 square feet of space and indoor parking. The company bought the building about 10 months ago, according to partner Steven Bloomfield.
The building is very solid. Concerned about safety, Ford designed the floors to hold 300 pounds per square foot, which is about four times today's requirements, Bloomfield says. Ford used the building until about 1941. Sears & Roebuck took it over in the early 1950s, Bloomfield believes, using it to sell farm implements and parts until the late 1980s.
The partners have invested about $200,000 to clean up the building, Bloomfield says. The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the partners' plan, which should cost about $10 million. The city offered a 10-year tax abatement.
"We're ready to go as soon as we get a tenant," Bloomfield says.
BLIGHT OF THE WEEK is an effort to highlight the problem of abandoned buildings — and who's responsible for them.