22 Exchange — a massive residential and retail complex in downtown Akron — wasn't sold Friday at a Summit County sheriff's sale after all.
Wells Fargo Bank, which has foreclosed on the property, requested that the auction be canceled. It had been scheduled as part of a weekly Summit County sheriff's foreclosure sale at the courthouse downtown.
The bank provided no reason in a court filing when it made the request, which was approved last week by county Common Pleas Judge Jill Lanzinger. The judge's order says the bank "does not wish to take this property to sale at this time."
A message seeking comment was left Friday morning with attorney Tami Kirby, who represents the bank.
It's not unusual that a sheriff's sale is canceled.
The sale was expected to generate plenty of interest. 22 Exchange is a prime piece of downtown real estate and covers an entire city block between Cedar, High, Exchange and Main streets — everything but the historic AC&Y building. It's made up of housing for University of Akron students and retail businesses such as Jimmy John's, Insomnia Cookies, Hair Geek Studios and Brubaker's Pub. It also contains several empty storefronts.
City spokeswoman Annie McFadden said city officials don't know why the sheriff's sale was canceled, but they are interested in the future of the property.
“Proper management and development at 22 E. Exchange St. is an important part of creating a safe and activated downtown corridor," Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a prepared statement. "This property needs a responsible and forward-thinking developer to take ownership to further support the progress we have downtown.”
Wells Fargo filed for foreclosure in February, saying owner 22 Exchange Student Housing, which was formed in Delaware with offices in Lakewood and Texas, had failed to pay on its $19.5 million mortgage. In its complaint, the bank said it was owed more than $18.9 million, not including interest, fees and other costs.
The property has been appraised at $24 million. The minimum bid at the sheriff's sale was set at $16 million.
22 Exchange opened in August 2009 and was heralded as a new hot spot for students. At the time, the developer hoped it would become a bustling housing and retail complex for young adults.
The property is now being overseen in receivership by Friedman Management Co. of Farmington Hills, Mich. The company couldn't be reached for comment.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.