Mercantile Block Easement

228-236 High St,
Hamilton, OH 45011


Our easement program has been active since 2004 when we accepted our first easement on the Rawson Block in Findlay. Over the years we’ve seen how the program can be adapted: we’ve worked with owners in a variety of communities, and we’ve worked with a variety of property owners, including commercial property owners, nonprofit owners, and municipalities. Additionally, easements have been placed on buildings well before a full-scale rehab has been completed, and years after a large-scale rehab was completed.

In Hamilton, we accepted an easement on the Mercantile Block in 2011 as the owner was completing a full rehabilitation. The rehabilitation and subsequent leasing of the building represented a turning point in downtown Hamilton’s revitalization. Since the completion of the Mercantile Block, nearby buildings have been rehabilitated, and Hamilton’s downtown is enjoying a resurgence.

Director Joyce Barrett commented on the Hamilton project: “When the building owner came in, he had a vision for upscale housing that was non-existent in the downtown at the time. There were plenty of doubters who questioned whether he could ever rent the apartments, but he created a unique living opportunity downtown and tapped into a housing need that residents flocked to. We were excited to play a small part in downtown’s resurgence by placing an easement on the Merc.”

As the series of images below show, there’s no such thing as “too far gone” when a building owner leverages private capital with tax incentives and a vision for how a forgotten building can be reborn to once again play a key role in the vibrancy of its downtown.

Below you can see the transformation of the deteriorated interior into a modern working space. For even more pictures of the transformation take a look a this slideshow.

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