Maple Street Commerce has 30 days to bring the former Hoover Co. headquarters into compliance and until March 31 to finish parking lot and courtyard construction.

NORTH CANTON  The city has cited the developers of the Hoover complex for violating city housing and fire codes.

Maple Street Commerce has 30 days to bring the former Hoover Co. headquarters into compliance, according to a notice sent Jan. 22.

The city also set a March 31 deadline to finish work on a planned parking lot and courtyard in front of the building on N. Main Street.

"The city was demonstrating it's willingness to work with the developers, giving them a reasonable amount of time to affect the necessary changes that we were asking for, and we just kind of reached a point where we didn't feel (those changes) were being responded to in a timely fashion," said Director of Administration Patrick DeOrio.

North Canton felt it would be appropriate to give developers official notice of what still needs to be done, he said.

The exterior of the property is "unsightly," the notice reads. Maple Street must finish installing windows and doors on the parts of the building facing the roadway.

Violating housing code, refusing to comply with city orders and preventing city inspectors or officials from making inspections is a first-degree misdemeanor, according to the citation.

 

 A fire inspection dated Jan. 12 cites other concerns including:


Numerous debris piles
Unlit stairwells and stairwells that have been removed and need to be replaced
No access to standpipes (pipes that fire hoses can be connected to) or damaged standpipes
Portable fire extinguishers needed in the power house and other areas
A need for floor identification signs
Inappropriate use of extension cords
Excessive amounts of wood pallets and debris near the northeast gate
Issues with emergency power for exit signs and illuminated exists
Compressed gas tanks/containers need to be secured
Excessive moisture from a leaking roof on electrical equipment

The fire department will complete a follow-up inspection.

 

 Lawsuit and settlement

Maple Street acquired the 400,000 square-foot Hoover Co. complex in late 2007. Much of the property now holds offices and industrial space, but work on the western portion of the complex at Main and East Maple streets appears stalled.

In 2013, Maple Street announced plans to turn the former factory into a mixed-used development with apartments, retail and restaurants by late 2015. At a public tour in August, developers said the $50 million project should be completed by late this year or early next year.

Maple Street and owner Stuart Lichter recently reached a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit over funding for the project. The lawsuit, which was filed in late 2016,  caused other financing sources to fall through and the project to stall, according to court filings.

Lichter did not respond to a message left Thursday.

Some progress

Recently, the exterior of the building has seen some improvement, DeOrio said.

Windows have replaced plywood boards, at least on the side of the building facing N. Main Street. Another plywood board, which covers an open area that allows large equipment inside the building, has been painted dark red to match the brick exterior.

But developers will have to clear another hurdle before completing the work.

Maple Street will have to get approval from the city's Planning Commission to complete work on the exterior and parking areas of the property. A previous approval has expired and developers did not apply for an extension.

Anyone making changes to a building or constructing a new one has to go through the process of filing site plans and being approved, DeOrio said.

"You just can't have the wild west and do whatever you want. There has to be a plan," he said.

Developers must comply with building and zoning codes, he said. "Those are our laws and you have to operate within those codes."

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.