OU Building Tenants Look For New Office Location

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Tenants told by Ohio University that they need to relocate from an OU building are still trying to tie down new locations, although one has plans to construct a new building on East State Street.

A use permit application has been filed with the city of Athens for a building that would be constructed on East State Street for James Karageorge and Wells Fargo Financial Advisors Network.

Karageorge, who is managing principal and branch manager for Wells Fargo Financial Advisors, is currently located in OU’s West Union Street Office Center — the former HDL Center that the university bought in 2008. At the end of 2012, the university announced that tenants not directly related to OU programs would have to leave the building over the next couple years, but no sooner than July 1, 2013.

Karageorge and Wells Fargo Financial Advisors Network have a lease that runs through 2013.

Karageorge said it’s hoped the new building can be constructed by the end of the year, although some additional time might be needed. The site is located next to the Dollar General store on East State.

Documents submitted to the city include plans for a 4,892-square-foot building with an estimated project cost of $750,000.

Harold Laughlin, former owner of the HDL Center, has already received city approval to build a $900,000, 8,750-square-foot office building on property next to OU’s West Union Street Office Center. Plans Laughlin submitted to the city show the Ohio Lottery Commission regional office, currently in the OU building, as one of the proposed tenants of his planned building. However, that might not be a done deal.

“There has been no definite decision made on where we plan to locate,” Commission Regional Manager Nancy Couladis told The Messenger.

The Lottery Commission’s lease was to expire July 1, but OU granted an extension through the remainder of this year, Couladis said.

Also given an extension through Dec. 31 was the Athens County Title Office, according to Clerk of Courts Ann Trout, who oversees the office.

Trout indicated she remains hopeful that the Title Office, as well as the Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles Office and the Driver Exam Station, can relocate to The Market on State.

“It looks pretty promising,” Trout said. “They’re still working out the plans and the price.”

Dustyn Fox, spokeman for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, confirmed that negotiations are under way for all three agencies to be located in the Market on State, but he said arrangements have not been finalized.

He said the Deputy Registar of Motor Vehicles Office is on a month-to-month lease at the OU building. Fox said the university has been “very generous and very helpful with the transition.”

Peoples Bank has a branch in the West Union Street Office Center, but The Messenger was unable to make contact Friday with anyone at the bank who could comment on plans for the branch.