The Council Land Use and Zoning Committee deferred action on the two items Tuesday at the request of the owners.
The first would label the building, commonly referred to as the "jaguar building," a historic landmark, which would prevent demolition. The owners have sought permission for demolition, but were denied by the City's Historic Preservation Commission. The second is an appeal by the owner and their representative of the commission's denial.
Sixteen speaker cards were filled out for the public hearing, which also was continued to Feb. 5.
Among the speakers were owner representative Val Bostwick, owner Karl Bostwick and business leader Preston Haskell, who emerged last week as a potential buyer of the building at 101 E. Bay St.
Val Bostwick has told Council the building requires in excess of $1 million in repairs and associated costs, making it a financial burden on the family and economically unfeasible for any owner. In addition, daily fines of $100 have been levied on the owners since March because the City deemed the building not up to code.
Haskell, founder of The Haskell Co. and current chairman of the board of directors, spoke to that issue Tuesday to the committee and said it is "entirely feasible to restore the building."
He said he had twice examined the interior of the building, once accompanied by the company's chief structural engineer, to make the determination. He briefly outlined the process to bring it up to code, which included steel bracing for the exterior walls and replacing the second floor with steel and concrete, that also would retain its historic features.
Bostwick last week would not identify Haskell as a potential buyer, but Haskell in emails sent to Council members and others made his intent known along with some details of an offer.
"Yes, I am absolutely committed to preserving and restoring the building," he said in the email. "I have no specific tenants, but simply wish to see this building and its architecture preserved. It's my little contribution to Downtown and historic preservation."
Haskell declined to comment about the issue after Tuesday's meeting and referred reporters to the emails. He was seen outside the Council Chambers with both Bostwicks in a private conversation.
According to the Property Appraiser's website, the 2012 certified assessed value of the property is $351,043 and the market value of the land is $76,500.
In the email, Haskell said he has placed an offer that exceeds the tax appraiser's value of the land.
According to the property appraiser, the total area of the property is 3,825 square feet and its market land value represents $20 per square foot.
Bostwick said a formal offer on the building was rejected Nov. 27 because it represented just the value of the land and not the building.
The committee again will hear public comment on both pieces of legislation Feb. 5 as part of a public hearing and could then take action on the legislation.
Rulings on the historic designation of the Bostwick Building and an appeal by its owners on the denial of demolition permits will wait until at least Feb. 5, leaving open the possibility a deal for the Downtown building could be struck before the issues return to City Council.