TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - One of the most iconic buildings in downtown Toledo officially has new life starting on Friday.
The Pythian Castle was built in 1890 by the Knights of Pythias fraternal organization, but has sat vacant at the corner of Ontario and Jefferson for nearly 40 years.
On Friday, long overdue renovation work began as part of a public-private partnership.
Water Street Development, a local agency, was loaned money from the Lucas County Land bank to bring the first renovations to the castle in over 20 years.
Roof repair and wall construction began on Friday.
The loan was issued with the agreement that if the building is not made occupant safe, the cost of the renovations would fall on the developer and ownership would go back to the Land Bank.
The ground floor could become mixed commercial real estate, while the upper floors may become apartments or condos.
Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz says these kinds of partnerships are necessary to restore the core of the city.
"There is real excitement happening right now in the downtown of our city. And I want to make sure that good projects like this continue, so that Toledo doesn't miss a historic chance to transform this city into one of the great cities of the future," said Kapszukiewicz.
Water Street Development says they will have the building certified for occupancy and ready for lease in three years.