The Key Building, one of downtown Akron’s landmark office towers, is going on the online auction block.
The 11-story building, at 159 S. Main St., sits nearly 70 percent vacant and was foreclosed on last year. It will be offered at a public auction in late February through Auction.com.
The auction is to begin Feb. 26 and end Feb. 28. The start and finish times have not been determined, said Jon Murchinson, with Auction.com.
The starting bid for the 1911 building is $600,000, and the auction is a reserve auction, meaning the seller reserves the right to accept or decline the final bid. The reserve price is not being disclosed.
Brad Beckert, development engineering manager for the city of Akron, said the Key Building “is very important to the city because of its prominent location,” at Bowery and South Main streets.
“We would like to see it occupied 100 percent and rejuvenated. Really, the building isn’t in too bad of shape.”
The building lost a major tenant — KeyBank — in 2011. That was when the Cleveland-based bank opened a new branch and regional headquarters one block south on South Main.
Additionally, White Hat Management, another large tenant, moved its offices in 2011 to nearby Main Place, an office building constructed in 1992. White Hat is one of the state’s largest for-profit managers of charter schools.
Together, KeyBank and White Hat occupied about 40 percent of the space in the building that boasts about 160,000 square feet of rentable space, according to Auction.com.
Last June, the bank that foreclosed on the Key Building bought it back at a sheriff’s auction, making a “plaintiff bid” for the property. That means no cash was paid for the property. At the time, the property was appraised for roughly $9.5 million for tax purposes.
The building now is owned and managed by a Bethesda, Md., real estate company that handles so-called distressed properties.
David Brennan, an Akron attorney and businessman who owns White Hat Management, was among a group of law partners who bought the Key Building in 1984. At that time, it was called the Society Building.
The group soon spent a reported $1.6 million to refurbish the structure. The project was hailed as part of downtown Akron’s rejuvenation.
It is unclear whether Brennan was still an owner of the building when the foreclosure action was filed in 2011. He also developed Main Place, at 121 S. Main St.
As for the Key Building, Lorin Schultz, an account executive with NAI Cummins Real Estate in Akron, has been marketing space in the property for lease. Schultz said last year that space was being leased for what is considered a low rate of $14 a square foot — including all utilities and cleaning services — to attract new tenants.
The online auction site has other information about the building at www.auction.com.
Ohio buildings that Auction.com has offered online include a nearly 56,000-square-foot office building at 400 Tuscarawas St. W in Canton, site of Coleman Behavioral Health. It sold for about $1 million.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.