Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dennison owner looking to sell

After 25 years in Downtown Cincinnati, the owner of the Dennison Hotel is moving to Florida, and he's looking to sell.

The eight-story building at 716 Main Street (BIRD'S EYE), which was built in 1890, is currently a 105-unit single-room occupancy hotel run by a Mr. Patel.

Though Patel had tried to sell the property himself, he is now ready to sell it through a realtor for $600,000.

The Hamilton County Auditor has assessed the building at just over $1 million.

Eric Lusain, who owns the neighboring building and several other along Main Street, says that residents of the hotel sometimes throw trash on the roof - including crack pipes and bags of human waste - that Patel sometimes cleans up.

"It's more than a blight to the block," Lusain says. "That block's gotta come back."

Lusain would like to track down a group of other developers to convert the building to condominiums, perhaps with one 5,000-square-foot unit for each of the seven residential floors.

He says that the lack of parking makes other uses, like apartments or offices, problematic.

"The Joseph family [of the Joseph Auto Group] owns the surrounding parking lots, and they're probably not going to give up any spaces," Lusain says.

A 10,000-square-foot first-floor retail space, which was once occupied by a printing company, could be restored, or could be used to accommodate 14 parking spaces - two per condominium.

Conservative estimates for the building's renovation are $3 million to $4 million.

Lusain hopes that developers will jump at the opportunity.

"My fear is that someone else will buy the building and run it the same," Lusain says.