CLEVELAND, Ohio — The saga of the Stanley Block ended with the bang of a gavel Tuesday, as a company tied to downtown Cleveland’s casino entered the winning bid of $350,000 for the land at a public foreclosure auction.
Ontario Mothership LLC, an affiliate of gaming group Rock Ohio Caesars LLC, must purchase the 0.11-acre lot within 30 days. The property was the subject of a three-year fight between the owners of the Horseshoe Casino Cleveland and members of the Maloof and Anter families, who owned the now-demolished Stanley Block building for decades.Coming after a bitter legal battle and a shareholder dispute, Tuesday’s finale was somewhat anticlimactic. Only two parties — members of the family and representatives for the gaming group — made offers.
The outcome was predictable. The only question, going in, was whether anyone would drive up the price.
What would you like to see happen with the land? Let us know your thoughts in comments below.
Bidding started at $200,000 and topped out at $350,000. The other costs, including a $500,000 demolition bill from the city, were too daunting for Joe Anter and Bill Maloof. That bill was converted to a lien on the property after the city, concerned about the Stanley Block’s safety and stability, stepped in to raze the historic building in late 2012.
Richard Goddard, an attorney for the casino investors, confirmed that his client plans to reimburse the city for the demolition. The $350,000 from the sale will go to court costs first, followed by appraisal fees, unpaid property taxes and demolition expenses. Because of the lien, the gaming group is on the hook for the difference.
That doesn’t include nearly $2 million in Cleveland Housing Court fines that resulted from code violations at the building, which the family shareholders claimed they hoped to renovate after years of neglect. Those fines are now judgment liens against Macron Investment Co., the Maloof and Anter family company that owned the real estate.
Macron is basically defunct. The company ended up deadlocked, with half its shares owned by the family members and half owned by the gaming Housing Court fines will ever be paid.
Goddard wouldn’t speculate on his client’s plans for the land. In an email, a casino spokeswoman said Rock Ohio Caesars has no immediate plans for the site. She wouldn’t comment further.
The Stanley Block property was the first in a lineup of foreclosed real estate set for auction Tuesday. Right after the bidding, Anter and Maloof caused a small scene by rushing up to snap a picture of Goddard as he signed paperwork related to the purchase. Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s deputies materialized next to the pair and escorted them out the door.