Owner: 660 Lincoln Inc. (a four-person local partnership)
Year built: 1915
Value in April 2002: $468,800
Comments: In April 2002 CityBeat featured this highly visible six-story property along Interstate 71 as Blight of the Week, noting its graffiti-scarred exterior, broken windows and 50-plus visits by city building inspectors.
In May 1998, after Scruples of Cincinnati had purchased the building and then gone bankrupt, the structure was in such disrepair that bricks began falling onto the expressway.
The city spent $38,000 to remove the loose bricks.
Built by Henry Ford to assemble Model Ts, the building boasts floors capable of holding quadruple the weight required by current building codes. The deterioration of such a solid structure moved Steve Bloomfield and three partners to purchase the property in summer 2001.
Since then, the 660 Lincoln Inc. partnership has worked steadily to turn the building into office space, taking advantage of tax credits for historic buildings and a 10-year tax abatement from the city. Bloomfield says the partners have spent $10.5 million, mostly on windows and masonry work.
"My partners and I are particularly interested in projects where we can do well and do good," he says. "We have done good. Now we have to see if we can do well."
Fischer Design moved into the top floor in November, the first tenant in the 175,000-square-foot facility. The design firm hosted an open house March 2.
The lower three floors contain parking and a lobby. An antique Model T Ford sits next to the entrance. Giant potted plants dwarf visitors in the lobby. Photographs on the walls feature images of the graffiti that once adorned the walls.
On the fourth floor, Fischer Design's office space includes exposed ductwork and an occasional spot of crumbled wall or floor.
"We love this building because of some of the imperfections," says Sharon Sexton, who oversees the firm's corporate projects.
Bill Fischer, president of the company, says rain poured through missing windows when he first visited the facility. There was no elevator. His family thought he'd lost his mind.
Now the office contains contemporary cubicles designed by the company's retail environment group. Fischer's desktop is a glass-covered slab of corrugated steel from the building; his office overlooks I-71 through a large window.
"We wanted the whole building to kind of be a living brochure," he says.
Several companies have already signed leases for the other floors, according to Bloomfield.
BLIGHT OF THE WEEK is an effort to highlight the problem of abandoned buildings -- and who's responsible for them.