WARREN - Warren Mayor Doug Franklin has set what he calls an ''ambitious'' timetable to move city employees out of 418 Main Ave. S.W. and into the Gibson Building, or whatever its name might be in the future now that Warren has taken possession of the office space.
''But we have to be ambitious when we're trying to move out of a building into a new building,'' Franklin said of his proposed spring season goal. ''We're going to fast-track the process, as much as possible, but do it in the right way.''
''It will move us out of one of our most challenging buildings,'' Franklin said. ''We'll be moving the Income Tax, Community Development department and Warren City Health Department into this facility and hopefully, if we have any more room, we'll open up that for lease for other tenants.''
Tribune Chronicle / Ron Selak Jr.
Warren has officially taken possession of the Gibson Building, which will be used to house the city Income Tax, Community Development and Health departments. From left are Rick McQuown, a manager with Gibson Real Estate Management; his wife, Gretchen McQuown, daughter of Jack Gibson, who built the Gibson Building in 1997; Warren Mayor Doug Franklin; and Chuck Joseph, a broker associated with Routh-Hurlbert Real Estate, exchanging the building keys for the check.
The city formally took ownership of the East Market Street building Friday, handing over a check $31 less than $2.5 million to Gibson Real Estate Management.
''My dad, Jack Gibson, believed and invested in Warren,'' Gretchen McQuown said. ''He had a vision that included a building to house government and / or private offices in downtown Warren that could lead to a downtown revitalization.
''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 his vision.''
The city sold $3 million in bonds earlier this month to buy the building, already home to the Social Security Administration and Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which combined, occupy about 46 percent of the building.
Now Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa is directing the ''build-out'' process, Franklin said. Proposals are being solicited now from space planners to best determine how to put the three departments in the new building, Cantalamessa said.
The reason for the move is the current office building on South Main Street is considered unsafe and too costly to renovate.
Franklin said city officials haven't decided to change the building's name, but that will likely happen. There will, though, be some acknowledgment to Jack Gibson and the building, Franklin said.
As for the old office building, it most likely will be put on the selling and auction blocks or some sort of other arrangement ''not limited to demolition,'' Franklin said.