Recent Commercial Posts

Fire Damaged Materials Need Meticulous Clean

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

The dangers of fire damage can last much longer than the initial fire blaze. Two of the most toxic types of damage are the fire itself and the resulting smoke damage. Smoke and soot can damage a home by permeating through the walls, upholstery, ceiling, insulation, air conditioning vents, and other hard-to-clean places. 

This is why it is important to understand that fire damage in homes can present itself in many ways. Depending on the type of fire that attacks your home, not only are the apparent soot, ash, and fire damage unsightly, but possible structure damage and future contamination are possible. 

Never Have Your Fire Damage Overlooked Again 

For example, depending on where a fire burns in a structure, it can affect support beams, load-bearing walls, and it can wreak havoc on wiring and insulation. Even if your fire emergency seemed localized to a particular area in the house, remember, the attic must be checked for damage as well. 

SERVPRO uses our advanced cleanup methods and detection tools to check from closet to closet, room to room, and floor to ceiling, to detect all fire and post-fire damages. We know where to check to make sure your HVAC system will not spread smoke and toxins after a fire. We will make sure that your insulation is intact and that the structure of your home is safe. If we detect any need for replacement and restoration, we provide a range of services, including building services, that can take care of any fire and water damage and debris. 

Because secondary fire damage, such as water use from firefighting efforts can also be an issue, our specialists pay much attention to a full, detailed analysis of your home’s damage before making a plan of action and beginning cleanup and restoration. 

Contamination is not always seen by the untrained eye. It can be hidden in places such as your HVAC (air conditioning and heating) systems. SERVPRO inspects the home from attic to basement, to ensure that all vents and air circulating systems are completely clean. If you were to neglect this part of fire damage cleanup, there is always the possibility of blowing toxic dust, ash, and soot, even on the microscopic level, into your cleaned home, effectively re-contaminating it and exposing residents to its dangers. 

Our 24/7 Emergency Service line is at your disposal. Contact SERVPRO of King of Prussia anytime at 610-667-9080 for a quick response to your fire emergency, or to ask questions.

Restoring your King of Prussia Commercial Property

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events in King of Prussia

commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of King of Prussia


SERVPRO of King of Prussia specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Vacant Buildings: More Than an Eyesore

2/6/2021 (Permalink)

Last week’s “catastrophic” fire at a large Middletown building further illustrated the need for code enforcement concerning vacant buildings that become community eyesores, officials said.

 The large fire was reported at 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday at the former Middletown Paperboard complex at 300 S. Verity Parkway. More than 100 firefighters at a time battled the blaze, which led to the arrest of a man, Joshua Lamb, who said he was living in the building when a fire he started spread to his bedding.

As of Friday afternoon, Middletown firefighters remained on the scene putting out hotspots as crews from Vickers Demolition used heavy equipment to knock down walls and move debris.

Shelby Quinlivan, city spokeswoman said South Verity Parkway/Ohio 4 between Girard Avenue and Yankee Road was closed to through traffic because of the damaged buildings and debris as well as two smoke stacks at the south end of the facility that will need to come down to protect public safety.

Middletown firefighters have remained on the scene watching for floating embers going on to nearby residential and commercial properties since New Year’s Day. The smouldering embers were buried in pockets inside the double roof, burning into the old wooden beams. As demolition crews worked, moving the debris and removing the scrap metal left in the building, walls were being knocked down revealing more hotspots.

Previous media accounts and “The Pointe,” MidPointe Library’s official blog, said the Middletown Paperboard facility, which consists of 61 parcels, had between 400,000 and 600,000 square feet of space on the 11-acre site.

The original paper mill dated back to 1827 when it started on Vanderveer Street to make boxboard from recycled paper, according to “Middletown - The Steel City” by Middletown Historians Roger L. Miller and the late George C. Crout. In 1873, “C.H. Wardlow and J.K. Thomas built a new paper mill on the site, producing manila and bag paper,” they wrote.

Crout and Miller wrote the site also served as headquarters for Corson Packaging, which “started as the Interstate Folding Box Company at 300 South Verity Parkway in the early 1900s … In 1981 it was acquired by American Packaging, and in 1993, by Corson Packaging. (The company) was known for its folding paperboard cartons. Corson closed the plant during the summer of 2000.”

The facility was later acquired by the Newark Group, which continued operations until 2004. In 2012, Newark Group, which reportedly removed all of the equipment at the Middletown facility and the Franklin Boxboard facility, sold the properties to B.P. Logan LLC in 2012. Last summer, the former Franklin Boxboard facility along with Mindlin Recycling were demolished by its property owner, Cohen USAs who acquired it from BP Logan LLC in 2017.

Middletown Paperboard started as “a series of substantially constructed brick mills, warehouses, etc., the mechanical equipment embracing all the latest improved machinery and appliances known to the trade, and power being obtained from a water privilege and an auxiliary steam engine…”, wrote Harry Simms in “Middletown In Black and White.”

Over the years, it has been the target of vandalism, and its cavernous space allowed the homeless to shelter themselves from the elements. Public safety employees have checked on the building periodically, but there have been a few fires in past years as the property owner did not secure the building as requested by the city.

Then-city manager Doug Adkins testified this year before the Ohio House of Representatives and said that over the previous five years, Middletown had spent $100,000 on the abandoned property. He said a February 2018 fire resulted in $150,000 in property damage and cost the city about $17,000 to fight the fire that was ruled as an arson. He said the estimated amount to clear the site was about $1.9 million.

In addition, the city spent thousands of dollars boarding up windows, securing doors and putting up fencing to deter squatters and the homeless from entering the building.

The Middletown Paperboard property has been the subject of a tax forfeiture case against owner B.P. Logan LLC for not paying $259,565 in back taxes. It was ordered to go to sheriff’s sale but was not purchased. Last month, the property was ordered to be forfeited to the state of Ohio by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard, according to court documents.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said the city plans to work with the Butler County Land Bank to acquire the property for redevelopment as part of the Oakland Historic District project, a plan to rehabilitate the Oakland neighborhood into an urban renaissance incentive district.

Last month, a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge ordered that the property be forfeited to the state of Ohio. She said the city has never had an ownership interest in the property.

Jennifer Ekey, Middletown economic development director, previously said the Paperboard site will be listed in the city’s new master plan as a special interest area due to its proximity to the Oakland Neighborhood and future development project.

Middletown City Council has been working to beef up ordinances to hold property owners accountable for the condition of their residential, commercial and industrial structures over the past few years as well as developing and implementing an updated planning, zoning and development code; a new master plan; a chronic nuisance ordinance; and a civil penalties ordinance to encourage property owners to maintain their properties to a minimum standard.

Last year, council also updated a vacant building registry ordinance requiring property owners to furnish ownership, insurance and other information to city officials. However, that ordinance only applies to the urban core downtown district and is for 10 years. The Paperboard site is just outside that zoning district. Shelby Quinlivan, city spokeswoman, said only 12 downtown area properties are on the property registry.

Cohen said it would be up to council do determine if that ordinance should be expanded to other parts of the city.

For Immediate Service, Call SERVPRO of King of Prussia Today!

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of King of Prussia provides 24hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Anytime – We're open 24/7  610-337-3330

Residential Services

Whether your home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or water damage to strike your commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business.

How to Keep Warehouse Workers Warm

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Tips for Staying Warm in a Warehouse During the Winter

Unfortunately, it’s the nature of a warehouse to be cold during the winter. With large loading doors opening and closing frequently during the day and night, it can seem nearly impossible to keep your warehouse warm during winter. Not only is this problematic from a facility management standpoint, but it can also create a less than comfortable workspace that is challenging for your workers. There are ways, however, to combat the cold in your warehouse during the winter, lower your utility bills, improve productivity, and provide a comfortable environment for your employees.

KEEPING THE WAREHOUSE WARM

During the winter, especially in colder climates, it isn’t going to be possible to keep your warehouse at a comfortable 72 degrees. Your loading bay doors will need to be open regularly, which allows cold air to come into the warehouse, keeping the temperatures low. However, there are ways that you can increase warmth in your warehouse, creating a more comfortable place to work.

  1. Check the Doors. If the loading doors don’t need to be open all the time, make sure that they are closed. This is the easiest way to keep your warehouse at a more comfortable winter temperature. Doors that need to be open on a more constant basis can be fitted with plastic sheeting that will allow easy movement through the door but provides some barrier from the elements outside. Before it gets too cold, it’s also a good idea to make sure that your loading area doors are well sealed. This will reduce drafts, making a better barrier for your warehouse when the doors are closed. Finally, make sure that your doors are maintained and the motors to lift the doors are functioning properly. This will reduce the likelihood that a door will get stuck open when the weather is poor.
  2. Improve Warehouse Airflow. Airflow patterns in warehouses can be challenging. There are a lot of barriers that disrupt smooth airflow through your warehouse, and high ceilings tend to hold on to the warm air. Improving the way air moves through your warehouse can make a substantial difference in the overall climate in your facility. There are few ways that this can be accomplished.
    • Fans – this is a relatively inexpensive way to improve airflow in your warehouse. Using high volume low speed (HVLS) fans can help move warm air through your warehouse, and pull warm air away from the ceiling. Fans are low energy, so installing fans in your warehouse will not make a significant impact on your utility bills.
    • Warehouse Layout – Look at the configuration of your space. How are the shelves arranged? Do your aisles create wind tunnels? If your warehouse layout allows cold air to move easily from the doors to the rest of the building, it may be time to consider moving things around.
    • A Shelving Upgrade – This is probably the costliest way to improve airflow. If you have solid shelving but could convert it to low-profile wire shelving, you can greatly increase the airflow in your warehouse. These shelves aren’t practical for all warehouses, but they may be a good solution in the right facility.
  3. More Heaters. If you find that you have spots that are constantly cold, despite making other changes, the best solution may just be adding more heaters. New radiant heaters are highly efficient and create a good amount of heat for large spaces.
  4. Service Your HVAC System. Finally, make sure that your HVAC system is ready for the winter. Have an HVAC professional visit your facility and give your system a good tune-up and service to ensure that it is functioning as efficiently as possible.

Top 6 Causes of Commercial Water Damage

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Major Causes of Water Damage
Did you know that a leaking faucet can cost you more or less 250 gallons of water each month? There are 12 months in a year; do the math and you will get an idea of the amount of money you get to waste each year for a single unfixed leaking faucet. Below are the 6 most common causes of commercial water damage.

Damaged sprinkler system
The law requires all commercial entities to have a sprinkler system, along with a fire alarm, installed in the building for safety purposes in case of fire. The sprinkler system should only get activated when there is too much heat from the fire. However, over time, the sprinkler can get broken and malfunction. When this happens, the sprinkler can get activated even without fire leading to serious flooding within the building.

Roof leaks
The roof should protect the occupants and everything within the building from external elements such as the heat from the sun and rain. But a leaky roof does otherwise. As the roof gets older, it also becomes more vulnerable to heavy rains and snow, resulting in water damage to your building’s roof.

Broken HVAC system
Your business’ HVAC system is an essential part of maintaining the temperature of your building and to make its occupants comfortable. Studies have also shown that your HVAC system can also impact the productivity level of your employees. However, like any other part of your commercial building, your HVAC system can also experience issues such as clogging and leaking. An HVAC system that is not cleaned and maintained regularly can cause water damage from the excess water in the compression tanks.

Broken equipment and appliances
Sometimes, your building may have appliances such as a water heater, AC, washing machine, and others. Apart from that, there are also pipes within the building that can get damage anytime and cause water damage in the commercial space. Major problems happen if these equipment and appliances get broken and no one notices it or during off-hours as it can leak a significant amount of water.

Damaged windows
Another common cause of water damage in commercial buildings is damaged windows. Rainwater and moisture can seep through especially if the windows are not properly maintained and need re-caulking. While it may not cause immediate flooding, it can do great damage to the drywall and can encourage mold growth.

Natural disaster
Apart from the damage to your building’s foundation and roof, water damage in commercial buildings can also be caused by natural disasters like hurricanes, thunderstorms, and heavy rain resulting in flash floods. Clogged gutters can lead rainwater to flow towards the foundation of your building, making it more vulnerable to water damage.
Commercial water damage is a devastating problem that any business owner can experience. While there is no way to totally get rid of the threats of water damage on your building, knowing its most common causes will help you minimize the risk.

Are You Ready?

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

When a fire or water damage emergency happens will you be READY?  None of us like to consider that we will become victims of a water or fire damage disaster.  Unfortunately, it could and inevitably will happen to each of us either at our home or at our place of business.  It’s extremely important to know what to do in the event of an emergency.  As leaders in the Fire and Water Damage Restoration Industry, SERVPRO is here to help you prepare for an emergency before it happens by offering to assist you with creating an ERP.

What is an ERP?

An ERP stands for an Emergency Ready Program.  It is a no-cost readiness plan designed to help home and business owners recover from a disaster faster, which leads to lower recovery costs.  Make sure you’re ready and not ruined with our Emergency Ready Program. 

Contact our office today for more details on how to get started creating your own ERP.  

Emergency Ready Profiles For Businesses

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

If you run or own a business, getting an ERP from SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd would be a highly intelligent choice to make. An ERP is an emergency response plan and lets our franchise know what you want us to do when you suffer a fire or water loss. This could be crucial in saving your property from more damage. Information included in this emergency plan is contact names like plumbers and emergency contacts, where we should park, plan of action, etc. The best part about our ERP's is the fact that they are a free service we provide for all of our customers! Please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd at 610-667-9080 today to get your ERP!

Large Commercial Water Losses

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

In the event of a rain storm, flooding could occur anywhere at any time. We never really know exactly when the next weather event could happen. This means it is important to prepare for this before it happens. ERP's (emergency ready plan) are one way businesses can prepare for water or fire losses. Regardless, if a water loss occurs at your business give SERVPRO of King of Prussia a call at 610-667-9080 to receive fast and professional work. We understand the importance of getting businesses back up and running ASAP because that is money and time that can not be made up. You never know if you are going to experience an emergency loss, so ask yourself, is it better to be ready or not?

Preventing Frozen Pipes

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

SHELBY CO., Ala. (WBRC) - With temperatures dipping below freezing over the next few days, your home systems have to work overtime to deal with the cold.

We talked to a water damage and restoration company and they are already being called out to clean up the aftermath of pipes bursting in Shelby County.

Their call volume doubled Monday and they expect for that to only increase heading into Tuesday and Wednesday as those freezing temperatures stick around.

SERVPRO experts encourage neighbors to turn up their heat to help keep your pipes warm and also leave one faucet dripping.

And there are certain pipes you need to keep a close eye on.

Huck McElveen with SERVPRO said, “Toilet tank lines, dishwasher lines, refrigerator lines, all of those are typically more susceptible to rupturing when the weather gets cold. Especially down into the 20′s like it is this week.”

Also if you normally block off a part of your house to save on utilities, maybe an upstairs floor that is not used anymore, experts suggest you open that up and heat it as well, just to prevent and cracks in the pipes.

Farmers Insuring Uber Drivers in 12 More States

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

Farmers Insurance has expanded its relationship with Uber by providing commercial automobile insurance to its ridesharing drivers in 12 additional states and the District of Columbia.

In addition to the District of Columbia, Farmers will insure Uber drivers in Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia. These states are in addition to Pennsylvania and Georgia where Farmers already offers the coverage.

Farmers is the second insurer within weeks to announce or expand an Uber program, helping to fill a gap in Uber’s insurance that was exposed in the Oct. 8 announcement by James River Group that it was dropping Uber, its largest client, and cancelling all Uber policies as of Dec. 31.

Liberty Mutual Insurance last week said it started providing coverage for Uber drivers and passengers on Dec. 31, 2019. The Liberty Mutual program is available to drivers in Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

“Having been in the commercial automobile insurance business for more than 80 years, we are proud to have leveraged our talent and insights to develop an innovative commercial auto insurance solution that helps Uber and drivers using the Uber App,” said Sharon Fernandez, president of business insurance for Farmers Insurance.

Generally, states require drivers for transportation network companies like Uber to have insurance policies covering bodily injury liability, property damage and first party medical benefits.

Under the policies offered by Farmers and Liberty Mutual, coverage begins when drivers turn on their Uber App and coverage applies through ride acceptance, rider pick-up, and trip completion.

Farmers was one of the first insurers to offer an endorsement that extended some personal automobile insurance coverages to rideshare drivers while they were logged into their TNC’s smart phone application and waiting to be matched with a rider. The Farmers rideshare endorsement is now offered to drivers in 29 states.

 James River said it drooped Uber because the account did not meet its “expectations for profitability.” The insurer acknowledged that it mispriced policies in its first few years with Uber. The insurer also indicated that it believes that California’s new “gig” worker law governing contract workers such as ride-hailing drivers will increase claims for ride-share companies.

After St. James announced its exit, Uber told the Wall Street Journal it expected other insurers to replace James River as part of its insurance program. In addition to Farmers and Liberty Mutual, other insurers including Allstate and Progressive also provide coverage for Uber drivers. Uber also has a captive insurance subsidiary to cover certain risks.

Severe Weather Causes Huge Amount of Damage in Canada

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

TORONTO , Jan. 21, 2020 /CNW/ - Severe weather across Canada continues to highlight the financial costs of climate change to insurers and taxpayers. In 2019, floods, rain, snow and windstorms damaged homes, vehicles and commercial properties. Insured damage for these severe weather events reached $1.3 billion last year, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

Notably, 2019 ranked the seventh highest in insured losses on record. Like 2018, no single event in 2019 caused the high amount paid out for losses. Instead, Canadians and their insurers experienced significant losses from a host of smaller severe weather events from coast to coast.

As the financial cost of severe weather rises, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating for all orders of government to increase their investments in mitigating the impact of extreme weather and in building resilience against the damaging effects of extreme weather events. IBC promotes investing in upgraded infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improving building codes and land-use planning, and offering incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas at highest risk of flooding.

It is not only insurers who foot the bill for severe weather damage, it's also taxpayers. Consequently, IBC is advocating for all stakeholders to work together to reduce the financial strain that flood events cause. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure that the severe weather has damaged.

Quote

"The cost of climate change to Canadians, their businesses and governments continues to rise," said Craig Stewart . IBC encourages all orders of government to work together to reduce our collective climate risk, beginning with a national action plan to address flooding," said Craig Stewart , Vice-President, Federal Affairs, IBC.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada . For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays over $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59 .6 billion.

Vacant Buildings Could Be More Than Just An Eyesore

1/31/2020 (Permalink)

MIDDLETOWN — 

Last week’s “catastrophic” fire at a large Middletown building further illustrated the need for code enforcement concerning vacant buildings that become community eyesores, officials said.

 The large fire was reported at 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday at the former Middletown Paperboard complex at 300 S. Verity Parkway. More than 100 firefighters at a time battled the blaze, which led to the arrest of a man, Joshua Lamb, who said he was living in the building when a fire he started spread to his bedding.

As of Friday afternoon, Middletown firefighters remained on the scene putting out hotspots as crews from Vickers Demolition used heavy equipment to knock down walls and move debris.

Shelby Quinlivan, city spokeswoman said South Verity Parkway/Ohio 4 between Girard Avenue and Yankee Road was closed to through traffic because of the damaged buildings and debris as well as two smoke stacks at the south end of the facility that will need to come down to protect public safety.

Middletown firefighters have remained on the scene watching for floating embers going on to nearby residential and commercial properties since New Year’s Day. The smouldering embers were buried in pockets inside the double roof, burning into the old wooden beams. As demolition crews worked, moving the debris and removing the scrap metal left in the building, walls were being knocked down revealing more hotspots.

Previous media accounts and “The Pointe,” MidPointe Library’s official blog, said the Middletown Paperboard facility, which consists of 61 parcels, had between 400,000 and 600,000 square feet of space on the 11-acre site.

The original paper mill dated back to 1827 when it started on Vanderveer Street to make boxboard from recycled paper, according to “Middletown - The Steel City” by Middletown Historians Roger L. Miller and the late George C. Crout. In 1873, “C.H. Wardlow and J.K. Thomas built a new paper mill on the site, producing manila and bag paper,” they wrote.

Crout and Miller wrote the site also served as headquarters for Corson Packaging, which “started as the Interstate Folding Box Company at 300 South Verity Parkway in the early 1900s … In 1981 it was acquired by American Packaging, and in 1993, by Corson Packaging. (The company) was known for its folding paperboard cartons. Corson closed the plant during the summer of 2000.”

The facility was later acquired by the Newark Group, which continued operations until 2004. In 2012, Newark Group, which reportedly removed all of the equipment at the Middletown facility and the Franklin Boxboard facility, sold the properties to B.P. Logan LLC in 2012. Last summer, the former Franklin Boxboard facility along with Mindlin Recycling were demolished by its property owner, Cohen USAs who acquired it from BP Logan LLC in 2017.

Middletown Paperboard started as “a series of substantially constructed brick mills, warehouses, etc., the mechanical equipment embracing all the latest improved machinery and appliances known to the trade, and power being obtained from a water privilege and an auxiliary steam engine…”, wrote Harry Simms in “Middletown In Black and White.”

Over the years, it has been the target of vandalism, and its cavernous space allowed the homeless to shelter themselves from the elements. Public safety employees have checked on the building periodically, but there have been a few fires in past years as the property owner did not secure the building as requested by the city.

Then-city manager Doug Adkins testified this year before the Ohio House of Representatives and said that over the previous five years, Middletown had spent $100,000 on the abandoned property. He said a February 2018 fire resulted in $150,000 in property damage and cost the city about $17,000 to fight the fire that was ruled as an arson. He said the estimated amount to clear the site was about $1.9 million.

In addition, the city spent thousands of dollars boarding up windows, securing doors and putting up fencing to deter squatters and the homeless from entering the building.

The Middletown Paperboard property has been the subject of a tax forfeiture case against owner B.P. Logan LLC for not paying $259,565 in back taxes. It was ordered to go to sheriff’s sale but was not purchased. Last month, the property was ordered to be forfeited to the state of Ohio by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard, according to court documents.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said the city plans to work with the Butler County Land Bank to acquire the property for redevelopment as part of the Oakland Historic District project, a plan to rehabilitate the Oakland neighborhood into an urban renaissance incentive district.

Last month, a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge ordered that the property be forfeited to the state of Ohio. She said the city has never had an ownership interest in the property.

Jennifer Ekey, Middletown economic development director, previously said the Paperboard site will be listed in the city’s new master plan as a special interest area due to its proximity to the Oakland Neighborhood and future development project.

Middletown City Council has been working to beef up ordinances to hold property owners accountable for the condition of their residential, commercial and industrial structures over the past few years as well as developing and implementing an updated planning, zoning and development code; a new master plan; a chronic nuisance ordinance; and a civil penalties ordinance to encourage property owners to maintain their properties to a minimum standard.

Last year, council also updated a vacant building registry ordinance requiring property owners to furnish ownership, insurance and other information to city officials. However, that ordinance only applies to the urban core downtown district and is for 10 years. The Paperboard site is just outside that zoning district. Shelby Quinlivan, city spokeswoman, said only 12 downtown area properties are on the property registry.

Cohen said it would be up to council do determine if that ordinance should be expanded to other parts of the city.