Deal Struck to Sell Former East Liverpool Motor Lodge

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — An agreement has been reached between the Community Improvement Corporation and a Warren businessman to purchase the former East Liverpool Motor Lodge for $100,000 less than he originally offered earlier this year.

During the recent CIC meeting, members voted unanimously in favor of its property committee’s recommendation to enter a purchase agreement with DietLew Properties, LTD, a holding company of Steven Lewis, an East Liverpool native who is also president of Warren-based MVC Advisors LLC.

The agreement includes a $50,000 cash purchase price, with $25,000 of that amount paid within three days of the effective date of the sales contract as earnest money. With all members present except Robert Nizer and Craig Kidd, the CIC supported the purchase agreement. The vote followed a review and approval by Law Director Charles Payne.

During a Jan. 25 meeting, the CIC had approved a letter of intent to sell the property to Lewis for $150,000 with plans to use the former motel and entertainment center for a “mixed use facility” called River Town Center. However, during its July meeting, the CIC tabled three new offers for the facility. At that time, Executive Director Bill Cowan said Lewis had withdrawn his offer, communicating through Mayor Bricker, although Cowan said he didn’t know the reason.

In an Aug. 10 letter to Bricker, Lewis renewed his interest in purchasing the property, saying he had “picked up a partner…who has the scope and type of resources that are necessary to do something with it.” 

His letter also noted that based on recent reports, other offers received by the CIC had been “quite a bit lower” than the $150,000 he had originally offered. As a result, Lewis said he was revising his offer to $50,000 including the $25,000 up front deposit, which is non-refundable as long as no issues surface. 

“We are prepared to move forward immediately,” Lewis advised the mayor in his letter. Contacted Wednesday, Lewis said that after he made the original offer, some business issues had surfaced, posing some challenges that have now been worked out, and he decided to come back to the table.

Saying he is “still developing a vision for it,” Lewis was not prepared to disclose plans for the property but said having control of it was important to him and his partner. “We have some concepts we’re reviewing. No matter what we do, it will take a serious amount of capital,” Lewis emphasized.

The time frame in which the project will be finalized depends much on his partner, according to Lewis, who said they are both excited about the possibilities.

Since the July meeting when the CIC tabled offers from Stan Cunningham of Cunningham Commercial Properties LLC, Patrick King of Wellsville and city Service-Safety Director David Dawson, it had received the offer from Lewis and also from RKW Investments located on Calcutta-Smith Ferry Road.

Cunningham had proposed the CIC give him the property in exchange for closing costs with plans to use it for some shops and a restaurant. King, owner of First Class Towing, offered $20,000 for the property with tentative plans of starting several small businesses.

Dawson’s proposal was for the amount the CIC has invested in the property with plans to house the city’s street and refuse/recycling operations there. Richard Williams, owner of RKW Investments, offered $30,000 with plans of using the property for climate controlled storage rentals, warehousing for construction and commercial office space.

During the CIC meeting, Cowan reported the CIC has spent $16,377.17 on the property, ownership of which was transferred in 2020 to the nonprofit CIC by its former owner at no charge. At that time, the appraised value was $1.7 million.

The Motor Lodge was built in 1982 by the Alsan Corporation on the 11-acre property. It boasted a motel, banquet rooms, skylight room, spa and indoor pool and restaurant/bar. The property was annexed from Liverpool Township into the city. It has sat vacant since 2014.

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