Brick House property owner wants city to take it back

A sale doesn’t always bring progress.

While the former Brick House on Liberty Street sold at last year’s tax sale, little has changed regarding the derelict property.

And the new owner wants the city to take it back.

The building was purchased by Summer16, LLC out of Chester, Pa. and the person in contact with the city is based in Philadelphia.

Director of Codes, Permits, & Recreation Services Terry William told Warren City Council during Monday’s work session that the city made contact with the owner directly after the sale.

She outlined that there is “significant structural damage” to the building.

“He has been cited,” Williams said. “A date has been set for the hearing.”

Potential negotiations with the property owner will be discussed at next week’s meeting of the Redevelopment Authority.

“His argument is that the City of Warren is exceedingly hard to work with,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said.

“The need for permits is what he is upset about,” Williams explained. “He can’t just come in and demolish that back portion of that structure, which is where the failure is happening.”

Part of the challenge is that one wall and the roof are shared with the adjacent building.

“He refuses to get the permits,” Williams reiterated, and “tells us we are difficult to work with. So we filed the citation… He just quit talking to us altogether.”

Mayor Maurice Cashman asked what the cost would be to address the problems and Williams said the city previously completed an engineering estimate for repair or demolition that indicates a cost of approximately $60,000 “for the demolition of the back portion.”

Freenock suggested that the owner work out the issues with that portion of the building and then “the RDA would consider taking the building.”

Williams said this LLC that purchased the property is in the business of cleaning up properties and then flipping them.

“We are pursuing the citation process with the magistrate,” she added.

Williams also said that the city was awarded conservatorship over the 17 Conewango Ave. property owned by Thomas Shorebird.

She said that an interior inspection will be undertaken to obtain a better sense of the condition of the property.“(We will) then see what the RDA can and is willing to do.”

“It appears there is some interest in the public on that location,” she added. “There is some active interest from the community on that property.”