Council OKs sale of lots

Tiffin City Council approved a purchase agreement with a Florida-based developer Wednesday afternoon during a special meeting.

By a vote of 6-0, council agreed to sell city lots 4 and 6 along the Sandusky River for $267,000. Lot 4 was the site of the former Stalsworth Hotel and Livery properties which the city purchased in 2013.

Ed Hernando, developer, entrepreneur and Heidelberg University graduate, attended the meeting to further plead his case for the Tiffin Riverfront Project following council’s full meeting Tuesday evening.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Shirley Valentine, owner of Kears Speed Shop, located at 8 Market St., expressed her concerns and need for an easement for the alley behind her building.

Hernando said Wednesday he had been disturbed by comments made at the meeting Tuesday.

Hernando said he has been working on the riverfront project for the past 17 months and had met the Kears owners prior to make an offer on the building. When no offer was made, Hernando said he, as a business owner, moved on and didn’t return to further negotiate with Valentine, “feeling the deal was unreasonable.”

“I want it to be clear that I will fight for this project,” Hernando said.

Hernando said when Tiffin stakeholders approved a strategic plan in 2016 with the $120,000 property available to be developed, anyone could have come in and bought the property, but no one did.

Councilman Steve Lepard said he had approached the owners of Kears after walking the lot behind the building. Lepard said he wondered how they would be able to access their building with only a 16-foot alley.

Lepard said he still was in support of the project and had intentions of voting yes during the meeting. He also said he hopes an engineer will be hired to make sure the construction does not damage the river wall.

With the approval of the purchase agreement, Hernando has 30 days until the project is official and he then can move forward with assembling construction companies and establish a sales office to start selling units.

The project is to consist of a 50-room full-service hotel and 45-condominium residence with 4-5 penthouse units on Lot 4 and lofts planned to have 85 united located on Lot 6, across from the Sandusky River from Kiwanis Manor.