Lorain Broadway Building report goes to court

By Richard Payerchin, The Morning Journal

Code violations at the Broadway Building could end up on the docket at Lorain Municipal Court, according to city actions.

Meanwhile, one downtown supporter remains convinced Lorain would benefit if the Broadway Building was reborn as a hotel. A plan to renovate the building to create apartments still is in the works, one consultant said.

The Broadway Building, 301 Broadway, never entirely leaves the public conversation about how Lorain might rejuvenate its downtown.

In December, the city of Lorain sent an official notice of violation to owner Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd. for conditions of the building walls. The compliance date was Jan. 19, said Leon Mason, director of Lorain’s Department of Building, Housing and Planning.

This month, Housing Inspector Eric Elmi reviewed the building and generated another report sent to Lorain Municipal Court for a summons.

The city report cited the exterior structure, unsafe condition of siding and masonry joints, unsafe conditions of exterior design features and the walls. It was unclear exactly when the building would land on the court docket.

A project to convert the building into an apartment complex still is in the works, said Anthony Giardini, attorney for owner Spitzer Great Lakes Ltd Co., and Gary Fischer, the Lorain architect working with developer James Louthen to restore the building.

The Broadway Building still could find life as a hotel, said Ron Nabakowski, retired Lorain County Clerk of Courts.

Nabakowski remains a booster of Lorain’s main street and he publishes the “Waterfront Arts & Entertainment District Intelligencer,” an online newsletter dedicated to news about downtown.

In 2009, Nabakowski proposed using the Broadway Building as the Lake Erie Adventure Inn, a base for vacationing anglers to go fishing aboard charter boats and guided river trips.

“We’ve brought hundreds of thousands of people downtown since then,” he said.

In the Waterfront Intelligencer, Nabakowski started 2016 with commentaries renewing the call for a hotel in downtown Lorain. He suggested an investment up to $7 million for a complete remodeling job with a rooftop café and two rooftop luxury suites.

Fischer said he personally has shown Lorain’s downtown to five hotel representatives.

They agree Lorain could use the hotel, but remodeling and restoration costs would be too high for the Broadway Building, he said. It would be easier to build new on another site, he said.

“They’re all interested,” Fischer said about the developers. “They’re not necessarily interested in that building.”