City council voted unanimously Monday to set aside $250,000 for the possible purchase of the Masonic Temple building, located at 140 W. Liberty St., near City Hall.
Law Director Greg Huber said the agreement with Masonic Temple Co. will give the city six months to examine the building, with help from experts, and determine whether the city wants the building.
Council President John Coyne said Council will consider using the 23,200-square-foot building as the new home of the municipal court.
Coyne said the court now is in “cramped” 13,000-square-foot quarters at 135 N. Elmwood Ave., across the street from City Hall.
The city can walk away from the purchase agreement after the six months are up and only lose a $5,000 deposit.
During that finance meeting, Coyne said the property has been on the market for several years.
“This is the first step, at least getting under contract, so we can move to the next step, which is finding out, through an architect, what we can do,” he said.
The architect has six months to present recommendations to the city.
According to the Medina County Auditor’s Office, the building is valued at $280,010 and the land is valued at $101,830.
Mayor Dennis Hanwell said negotiations with the Masonic Temple board are ongoing, so the city has not yet committed to buying the building.
In April 2012, a developer considered buying the building to put in retail space and outdoor dining, but the agreement never moved forward because of a lack of parking.
At a finance committee meeting two weeks ago, several Council members said they would not vote to go ahead with the deal after the six months if the city planned to tear down the building.
“If the recommendation is to tear it down, I will vote no,” Jim Shields, 4th Ward, said.
Dennie Simpson, 2nd Ward, and Bill Lamb, at large, said they agreed with Shields.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.