A historic uptown Athens building has a new buyer after previous deal fell through

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — A historic uptown Athens building that has sat vacant for more than two years as the owner tries to sell it is again under contract after a previous deal fell through.

This building at a busy intersection in uptown Athens has sat vacant for two years, but now a potential buyer is interested in using it for a combination of retail on the ground floor and rental housing on the two top floors.
This building at a busy intersection in uptown Athens now a second potential buyer. [David Forster | WOUB]
The real estate company listing the three-story corner building at 63 S. Court St. could not disclose who the new buyers are or what their plans are for it.

The list price for the 33,000-square-foot brick structure is $3.2 million. It’s owned by the Athens Masonic Temple Co. 

The building is directly across Court from Ohio University’s Alumni Gateway. It was built in 1915 as a car dealership and then became a bookstore in the early 1950s and remained so until it closed in late 2019.

Early last year, the building went under contract with a buyer named Student Rentals Inc. The company planned to use the ground floor for retail and convert the top two floors into 20 single-bedroom or efficiency apartments.

The building has no dedicated parking and city code requires 40 off-street parking spaces for this many units. Student Rentals requested and was granted a variance in September to provide half that many spaces, located about 2,300 feet down West Union Street.

An architect representing the company said at the time that the sale of the building was contingent on the variance. But for whatever reason, the company decided to back out of the deal in December.

It wasn’t long before another potential buyer stepped up. If the deal goes through this time, the community may soon learn what the new buyer has in mind.