From the outside, the massive brick building at the southeast corner of Main and Crawford in downtown Findlay still looks pretty good. The inside, though, is another matter.
The 128-year-old building has served the community well but has been underutilized for decades. Most recently, the ground floor housed a bike shop and record store. The top four floors, meanwhile, have become a shell.
Fortunately, the building has been on the radar of Mike Mallett, a local businessman and investor who has long had an interest in downtown, especially Crawford Street.
His recent purchase of the building from Greg Halamay, of Bowling Green, announced this week, is another bright spot for Main Street.
Halamay has called the 8,400-square-foot building “a diamond in the rough” but, based on location alone, The Block, as it will be known, has the potential to be another of Findlay’s crown jewels.
The building will require major renovation, but the sky is the limit. Upscale housing, a commercial operation, or regional offices could one day find a home there.
Mallett has not yet disclosed his exact plans but, given previous projects he’s done, we would expect the character of the building to be maintained.
History oozes from the building. It was constructed during Findlay’s oil and gas boom days of the 1880s, and has been known as both the Adams Block and the Commerce Block over the years. A grand ballroom once occupied the top floor and a popular bar, The Brunswick, was located in the basement.
The community is fortunate to have people like Mallett, Nick Reinhart, Jim Heck and the LaRiche and Gardner families, among others, who have invested heavily in downtown in recent years.
Up and down Main Street, and along certain side streets, old buildings have been restored to their original luster and, in some cases, may look better now than ever. The examples are many, but include the Rawson Building lofts, the redevelopment project on the south side of Dorney Plaza, and the Jones Mansion on East Sandusky Street. Each adds to the attractiveness and lure of downtown.
Though not all buildings can be saved from the wrecking ball, each time one is, it helps preserve our rich history. For Mallett’s block, it appears the next chapter is going to be an exciting one.