The owner of the historic but blighted Crosley Building has pleaded not guilty to charges of violating Cincinnati's building code and has started on a city-mandated cleanup.
You can't miss the Crosley Building from I-75 near the Hopple Street exit, and from far away, it looks as rundown as it's looked for some years, but they're finally clearing away the weeds and junk and trying to make it at least a little more attractive and a lot safer. The vandals have taken a greater toll than the weather.
The Crosley Building has been vacant and deteriorating for a decade. As we'd reported, a judge cited the owner, Hosea International, in June for violating the city's building code and told him to either tear the building down or at least board up the holes, barricade the exterior and clean up the mess. That cleanup is now under way.
City Building Inspector Ed Cunningham says "He's got a crew working on it since yesterday at least. They cleared up the grounds, cleaned up the interior and cut the weeds."
Some of the graffiti has been painted over, including what was in the tower above what was once Powel Crosley's office. According to Cunningham, the owner also plans to put in a gate and a fence to discourage dumping. "If they do these things, is that a way of avoiding the fine or maybe jail? The judge will look at that as mitigation, as well as the harm to the community. It always helps if you're in compliance when you go before the judge."
The case is back in court in late July. Boarding cleaning just meets the vacant building rules but long-term, the Camp Washington Community Board has applied for an $800,000 federal grant to establish an urban farm with community gardens along with a distribution network, and they say the Crosley Building could be where the vertical urban farm could go.
Besides facing criminal charges for the condition of the building, county records show more than $190,000 in unpaid property taxes on the Crosley Building.
See our new Crosley Building photos, and especially note what the vandals have done to Powel's office.