By Ed Runyan
There is a 15,000-square-foot third floor in the Gibson Building, 258 E. Market St., that never has been used since the building was constructed in 1997.
Sometime next spring, the city of Warren hopes it will finish erecting walls and turning it into offices for the Warren health, community-development and income-tax departments.
The first floor will continue to house the Social Security Administration, and the second floor will continue to house the federal Women, Infants and Children program.
On Friday, the city and Gibson Real Estate finalized the city’s purchase of the building, with Mayor Doug Franklin handing over the check for $2.5 million to Gibson representatives, and Gibson handing over the deed to Franklin.
“We truly think it’s a great service center,” Franklin said of the three-story structure two blocks east of Courthouse Square.
He and Enzo Cantalamessa, safety-service director, said the building is among the two nicest ones in downtown Warren and will allow the city to sell or demolish the worst one the city currently owns — the Community Services Building at 418 S. Main St., about one block south of the square.
“All three departments are elated,” Franklin said of moving to the practically new third floor at the Gibson Building and getting out of 418 S. Main, which Franklin called “one of our most challenging buildings.”
The city plans to auction or demolish the South Main structure.
Jack Gibson of Jack Gibson Construction and Gibson Real Estate of Warren constructed the building for government or private offices “that could lead to a downtown revitalization,” his daughter, Gretchen Gibson McQuown, said during a brief statement.
“He designed and built the Gibson Building in 1997 for that purpose, and the Gibson family believes that it is an excellent location for city offices and is consistent with Jack’s vision,” she said.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation first occupied the building just after it was built, but it moved out about 2006. Social Security moved in about 2007 and occupies the 12,000-square- foot first floor.
One of the attractive features of the building is that the rent from the Social Security Administration pays the city’s loan payments for the purchase, Cantalamessa said.
One of the drawbacks is that the roof is about 16 years old and will need to be replaced soon, Cantalamessa said.