Two high-profile Main Street properties in Akron are headed for the auction block.
The former Ohio Brewing Co. downtown and Schermesser Funeral Home in the Firestone Park area will be auctioned at the same event Feb. 27.
The properties have different owners, both with the same goal: “They want to move their property quickly and they’re willing to let buyers dictate the price,” said Mac Biggar, an auctioneer with Hanna Chartwell Commercial Real Estate.
The auction for each property is billed as “absolute,” meaning the highest bidder wins, and there is no minimum bid.
Both will be auctioned at the site of the old Ohio Brewing, on the first floor of the former O’Neil’s department store at 222 S. Main St. downtown. Proceedings begin at 11 a.m.
The former Ohio Brewing space has been vacant since the brew pub left in 2009. That was only about a year after the establishment opened. The suggested opening bid for the space is low — $75,000 — and is designed to attract attention, Biggar said.
He noted the property had earlier been listed for sale with an asking price of $950,000. Summit County has appraised the building at roughly $1 million for property tax purposes.
Prior occupants, he said, spent much more — about $3 million — on transforming the former department store space into a 17,000-square-foot restaurant.
“It’s a great restaurant space,” said Biggar, president of Hanna Chartwell, headquartered in Cleveland. “It’s near the stadium [Canal Park]. It a great location. It has a lot of space and a lot of equipment.”
Furnishings such as tables, chairs and kitchen equipment will be auctioned along with the property. No brewing apparatus is included.
The space is owned by Gary Reinhart, who was involved in a Damon’s ribs operation there for a time. Reinhart lives in Pennsylvania and the property is part of complicated bankruptcy proceedings involving Reinhart.
Biggar said the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Western Pennsylvania “wants to get the case closed and behind it” and the property will be free of any obligations, such as delinquent property taxes.
Brian Moore, with the Roetzel & Andress law firm, which occupies the largest amount of space in the former O’Neil’s department store, said the firm and the building’s condominium association have no plans “at this time” to bid.
“Obviously, we’re hoping that whoever buys it will have a long-term commitment to Akron’s downtown,” said Moore, a partner with the law firm, “and will open something in the space that will be desirable in the central business district.”
South of downtown, the former Schermesser Funeral Home is a 12,000 square-foot brick building at 1446 S. Main. The suggested opening bid is $27,500, said Mike Berland, an auctioneer with Hanna Chartwell.
The funeral home closed about two years ago; a Schermesser funeral enterprise on Turkeyfoot Road in Green remains in operation.
Berland said the Schermessers decided on an auction after being unable to sell the property.
The property includes a heated garage and an elevator.
“There’s a variety of possible uses — office, retail, professional,” said Berland, executive vice president at Hanna Chartwell.
A third property will be offered at auction at the Feb. 27 event: 5½ acres boasting 36 home lots in Doylestown. The property — the second phase of the Bramble Woods development — includes streets, curbs, lights and utilities.
“Everything is all in place. It’s ready to build,” Berland said. It is being sold by the estate of the now deceased developer.
Tours of the properties have been set for Feb. 11, 18 and 25. Tours of the Schermesser property will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and tours of the former Ohio Brewing property will run from 10:30 a.m. to noon. More information is online at www.hannachartwell.com/auctions.
The owner of the former Ohio Brewing Co. brew pub, Chris Verich, said this week he still plans to restart a brewing operation.
After leaving the old O’Neil’s building, Ohio Brewing reopened as a production brewery at the Selle Generator Works on High Street in the southern part of downtown. That operation shut down last year, with Verich saying the closing was temporary.
Verich, now deputy director of consumer affairs for Summit County, said this week he didn’t have a timeline for getting back into the brewery business.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.