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Developer gets historic preservation tax credit for Medina Farmers Exchange

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    This is a photo of the Medina Farmers Exchange in the 1960s. It’s at 320 S. Court St.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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MEDINA — Developer Charles Marshall said he’s been on “pins and needles” ever since he submitted an application for tax credits to help in financing a project at the old Farmers Market Exchange.

He was “absolutely thrilled” when he found out Wednesday his project would receive $545,000 in Ohio Historic Preservation tax credits from the Ohio Development Services Agency. Marshall will apply the funding to the $5.5 million renovation of the historic Medina Farmers Exchange, 320 S. Court St.

Statewide, $36 million was awarded for 28 historic projects. The projects are expected to leverage approximately $250 million in private investments in 10 communities.

Marshall, CEO and founder of Beacon Marshall Cos., of Bath Township, purchased the Farmers Exchange on Aug. 28 for $250,000, according to the Medina County Auditor’s Office.

He said after he submitted paperwork for the tax credits, it became a waiting game.

“This is a competition,” Marshall said. “We were graded like a report card. We knew we had a pretty good grade. We didn’t know if we’d qualify. We were on pins and needles. We weren’t told anything until yesterday whether we’d make the cut.”

The Ohio Development Services Agency likes to spread the tax credits around the state.

“No one in the city of Medina had ever applied or received historical tax credits … ever,” Marshall said. “Look at all the historical buildings around the square. They would have done all that work on their own nickel.”

He said the $5.5 million figure for the project was accurate, but it could go up.

“Every day we find something new in this old building,” Marshall said.

While removing some equipment from the penthouse recently, the floor sagged about five inches. It turned out the equipment was supporting the floor.

The old feed mill was once the hub of the city. However, after being condemned about two years ago, some thought the best plan of action would be to tear it down. Marshall had other ideas.

He will renovate the structure that was originally built in 1904. The historical group wants him to upgrade it but still keep its look from the 1960s era.

The building burned to the ground twice in its history, in 1905 and 1935, which led to it eventually being rebuilt as the first fireproof structure in the city.

Marshall said structural engineers have been at the building all week trying to make sure everything is done to code specifications. The entire structure is about 50,000 square feet.

“Every day it’s been a challenge,” he said.

“The overall building is very strong. There will be nice open floor spaces for every floor. We’re excited.”

The first floor will house a 128-seat restaurant, butcher shop, a 3,780-square-foot indoor market and coffee/

pastry shop.

The second and third floors will be entirely one- and two-bedroom apartments. Originally, plans called for 33 apartments, but Marshall said that has been altered to about 22.

SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors, of Boston, will handle the leasing for the apartments.

The basement level was supposed to be additional apartments, but Marshall said it will likely be commercial.

“It’s going to take some time,” he said.

He said the apartments, restaurant and butcher shop should be open by October or November.

“The support I have gotten from every department in the city of Medina has blown me away,” Marshall said. “They’ve been so cooperative.”

He said Jonathan Mendel, Community Development director, walked him through all the historical requirements and will be going through signage next month.

“The mayor (Dennis Hanwell) wrote letters of support for this,” he said.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in February. It was designated a local landmark by the Medina Landmarks Commission in 2012. The building has been vacant since September 2016.

“Giving these buildings new life preserves Ohio’s past and provides economic opportunity for the future,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said in a statement. “These buildings are expected to be a catalyst for development in the community.”

The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and if the rehabilitation plans comply with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Hanwell commended Marshall for being awarded the tax credits.

“We look forward to working with and supporting Charles and his team during this project,” he said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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