LIMA — The Lima News hopes to relocate into one of downtown Lima’s most historic buildings, pending the sale of its existing building.
The Lima News signed a letter of intent to move into the renovated First National Bank and Trust Building, 43 Town Square, Lima, once it finds a buyer for its existing building at 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Publisher Doug Olsson said.
“We feel the resurgence and the vibrant energy occurring in downtown Lima, and The Lima News would be excited to be a part of that if we can work all the details out,” Olsson said.
The newspaper would move more than 50 full-time employees in its advertising, business, circulation and newsroom departments to the corner of Market and Main streets while finding a distribution space for carriers elsewhere. Olsson said it just makes sense to relocate to downtown Lima, since the city center serves as a hub of an eight-county region.
AIM Media Midwest, the owner of The Lima News, recently lowered the price on the Elida Road structure to $2.6 million.
The newspaper could be using the 9,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. That portion of the renovation project should be completed over the winter.
The announcement could bring an anchor tenant to Woda Cooper Companies’ $16.7 million in renovations to the historic 1926 building. When completed, the structure will offer 47 new apartments, including 38 two-bedroom units and nine three-bedroom units. Of those, 10 will be available at market rate, expected to be $769 to $916 a month, and 37 will be lowered rents for families, students and seniors in the range of $306 to $675 per month.
The apartments, which are on track and should be available for lease this fall, won’t accept Section 8 vouchers, and they won’t be subsidized housing through a housing authority.
The Woda Group originally announced its plans last October. Since then, it reorganized to become Woda Cooper Companies, an employee-owned company, the first affordable housing company in the country to be owned by its employees.
The 12-story structure’s renovation is made possible, in part, through state and federal historic tax credits, low-income housing tax credits, a HOME grant from the City of Lima and a 12-year tax abatement for 50 percent of the improved value. The Woda Cooper Companies, which has several renovations of historic properties nationally under its belt, will own and manage the building following its development.
The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features a grand Chicago style commercial architecture from the early 20th century with Renaissance Revival. It fell into disrepair after going vacant for 28 years.
The Lima News began looking for a different workspace following catastrophic damage to its 36-year-old printing press in June. The newspaper began printing in Fort Wayne at that time, rendering much of its 52,000-square foot building unnecessary.
The Lima News moved to the Elida Road building in 1995 after spending much of its existence in downtown Lima. The newspaper previously operated out of 121 E. High St., Lima, from 1903 until its 1995 move.
A sign marking 43 Town Square as the future home of The Lima News could be going up as soon as this week. The newspaper won’t move until a buyer comes forward and completes the purchase of the Elida Road building first.
Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @limanews.