LIMA — As one of the last two 19th century mansions on Lima’s former “Golden Block,” the old YWCA building with its two-story fluted Corinthian columns often grabbed the attention of passing drivers. As of last week, the building has been demolished.
Roger Rhodes, of Rhodes Investment LLC, the owner of the lot, said there are currently no plans for the empty space. When asked why the building was demolished, Rhodes said the demolition was part of an agreement with the developers of the Spring Street Senior Lofts.
Rhodes declined to comment when asked for further clarification.
Spring Street developers, however, disagreed with Rhodes.
“We had zero percent involvement with the demolition,” Pete Schwiegeraht, MVAH Partners midwest senior vice president of development, said Tuesday about the mansion. “Our goal was just to acquire a portion of the site.”
A call to New Lima—Housing for the Future resulted in a similar response: “You’ll have to ask the owners — Rhodes Investment Group.”
Rhodes purchased the old YWCA lot back in February 2011 for $150,000, and it’s stood mostly empty since that time. A fire back in October of 2016, caused by an electrical problem under the stairs, resulted in an estimated $20,000 worth of damages to the building.
As for the annex of the building that held many of the YWCA’s old workout facilities, that portion of the building had been demolished earlier this month by Spring Street Senior Loft developers, who noted at that time that the historic Hughes-Russell Mansion was not part of its project.
The demolition plans filed by West Chester-based MVAH Partners with the Allen County Recorder’s Office on Nov. 6 showed the clear demarcation between the two buildings. The west side annex is marked for removal, while the mansion is not.
Rhodes Investment LLC, a subsidiary of the company that owns the three Lima-based Arby’s locations, held the deed of both the YWCA annex and Hughes-Russell mansion up until November 2019. At that time, the lot was replatted, and 1.8 acres were sold to Spring Street Senior Lofts LLC — an organization established by MVAH Partners for the project — for $218,478.
The company, working together with New Lima-Housing for the Future, plans to create a multi-family senior housing project on the site. The building is expected to cost $8.6 million to construct.
Plans for the project have been years in the making. New Lima-Housing for the Future announced receiving $1.2 million in affordable housing tax credits allocated by the state’s Ohio Housing Finance Agency for the project back in spring.
Accordingly, nine of the 88 units will offer subsidized rent. The 647 square-foot one-bedroom units will be available for senior tenants, over the age of 55, who qualify to live there.
Non-subsidized rent for both one- and two-bedroom apartments will range from $294 to $790, and amenities include “on-site management, a fitness center and a community room with a kitchenette and computer area.”
Developers have also asked for a 50% local tax abatement over a 15-year period from the City of Lima, which was granted back in October, to offset costs of the project.
Construction of the lofts is expected to begin soon, and an expected finish date has been set for Feb. of 2021.
As for the historic Hughes-Russell mansion, the building was constructed alongside many of the ornate Victorian mansions that dotted Main Street and West Market after the Civil War. Much of that legacy disappeared from Lima by the 1950s due to rezoning and natural degradation. Now, the only one that still stands is the MacDonell House, which has been largely restored as a historic site.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.