By LOU WILIN
After asking many questions, Findlay City Council on Monday expressed a willingness to sell a city-owned parking lot that would be used as part of a $31 million residential and retail development downtown.
California developer and Findlay High School graduate Tim Youngpeter is seeking the parking lot behind The Wine Merchant and the former Rieck’s building for his proposed building, which would be constructed in and around the former Argyle apartment building space.
The Argyle space, across the street from Marathon Petroleum Corp. headquarters, has been vacant since 2012 when the apartment building was destroyed by fire.
At an informal council meeting Monday, Youngpeter and an architect reviewed with council members further details about his proposed six-story building.
It would house retail and parking on the first two floors, and 122 apartment units upstairs.
The apartments would average 950 square feet with some size variation, said architect Craig Gossman of Cincinnati.
Most would be single-bedroom, with some two-bedroom; and six townhouses, or two-story units, with potentially three bedrooms.
They would rent in the upper-middle price range, Youngpeter has said.
The retail space on the first floor would be 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, allowing perhaps four storefronts, Gossman said.
The building’s parking would include 150-160 spaces, one for each of the apartment units and the rest for public parking.
The building’s footprint would include the former Argyle space on Main Street, the Rieck’s building to the north, and the 58-space parking lot west of the Argyle space. The Rieck’s building’s existing facade would remain.
Legislation and a proposed sale/purchase agreement for the parking lot will be given a first reading at City Council’s meeting next Tuesday. That would put the sale on schedule to be approved by council in June.
It also would give council and other officials time to tweak the agreement before the city would close the deal.
As part of the deal, the city would close the north-south alley behind the Argyle-Rieck’s-Wine Merchant space.
The buyer of the parking lot would be the Blanchard Valley Port Authority, which after five or more years would sell the parking lot property to Youngpeter’s investment group.
The city by law cannot directly sell property to a private entity except by auction. But it can sell it directly to another government agency like the port authority. The port authority is permitted to sell property to a private entity.
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