The bank that foreclosed on Akron’s Key Building bought back the property at a Summit County sheriff’s sale Friday morning.
The court-appointed receiver for the property, Ezra Burdix, had been marketing the 11-story building prior to the sheriff’s sale in hopes that a new owner could be found.
The building, at Bowery Avenue and South Main, has been appraised at $9.528 million.
On Friday, a legal clerk for the Columbus law firm representing U.S. Bank made a “plaintiff bid” for the 101-year-old property, meaning no cash was paid for the property.
The clerk declined to comment as she left the sheriff’s sale at the Summit County Courthouse.
Under state law, the minimum bid was set at $6.352 million.
Lorin Schultz, an account executive with NAI Cummins Real Estate in Akron, said Friday she is continuing to market the property for lease.
The building — like commercial properties throughout the country — has been hit by vacancies. Schultz said the Key Building is about half vacant.
“We’re all working together to restore the historic luster of the building,” Schultz said.
Schultz noted that space is being leased for a what is considered a low rate of $14 a square foot — including all utilities and cleaning services — in an effort to attract new tenants.
The building lost a major tenant — KeyBank — in 2011 when the Cleveland-based bank opened a new branch and regional headquarters one block south on South Main.
The new KeyBank site is at South Main and University Avenue across from Lock 3 park. It was the first office building constructed downtown in 11 years.
Another major tenant, White Hat Management, relocated offices to nearby Main Place last year.
White Hat Management, the state’s largest for-profit manager of charter schools, is owned by David Brennan, an Akron businessman.
Brennan was among a group of law partners who bought the Key Building — then called the Society Building — in 1984.
It is unclear whether Brennan remains a partner in the company — 159Associates Ltd. — that owned the building and was foreclosed on by the bank.
Earlier this month, the owners of another landmark downtown Akron office tower — the 23-story Cascade One Plaza — paid off their debt, and the building is no longer is in foreclosure.
A representative for Cascade One’s owners has said the foreclosure action caught the building’s owners by surprise because they had begun talking with the bank about buying back the mortgage.
This property — known as the PNC Building — also has suffered from vacancies in the tough economy.
However, owners have noted that the Cascade One — across Main from the Key Building — has a vacancy rate of about 20 percent that compares favorably with other downtown Akron office buildings.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org