Putnam Street Commons fate uncertain

Photo by Erin O’Neill The Putnam Street Commons has been empty since November.

MARIETTA — The doors of Putnam Commons, 121 Putnam St., remain closed but the building’s owner says he doesn’t plan for it to stay that way.

According to the Washington County Auditor’s website, Glass Press Properties Limited owns the building which housed several businesses until November. At that time, vendors were concerned that the owner was not paying the utilities, according to Village Cakery owner and former tenant Cindy Mallahan.

Roger D. Anderson, of Barnett Ridge Road in Fleming, purchased the building in 2009, along with Union Station in the 200 block of Putnam and Glass Press Properties at 217 Union St., for $350,000. The properties were all owned by former Glass Press owner Dave Richardson and sold in a sheriff’s auction when Richardson moved away. Union Station currently houses a beauty salon and photography studio, among other merchants.

“Levi Holbert, Glass Press Properties Manager, and I are making plans for the development of Putnam Commons,” Anderson said in a brief email response to The Marietta Times this week. “As we progress, we will be pleased to keep (the press) informed.”

In December, the Marietta Fire Department was alerted to an alarm in the building which was triggered when a water line in the building’s sprinkler system broke. Chief C.W. Durham said at the time that it was unknown if the line broke because it froze or due to some other failure. He said between the sprinkler system malfunction and some electrical problems in the building, the fire department secured the building until it can be brought up to code. At the time there were no businesses operating in the building because they had all moved out in November.

“It has not had a fire inspection this year because it is not currently occupied,” said fire inspector Richard Stewart. “I did stop in a few weeks ago when I was inspecting another building and they were doing work to address some of the violations. So when they reach out to us to do an inspection, we will.”

Stewart said no tenants can move in until the fire inspection is concluded and the facility passes.

Chris Wilson, building official with the Washington County Building Department, said that no official requests have come through the department to do an inspection and the building can stay as-is for “eternity” as long as no changes are made to the structure or changes to the building’s use. For example, if the building were to be made into residential apartments, the county would need to do a full inspection.

“Of course we would like to see development in all buildings downtown because a building that is occupied is safer than a building that sits empty,” Wilson said.

Downtown merchant Brian Ketelesen, owner of Ketel 1 Teamwear at 111 Putnam St., said he would be happy to see life in the building again.