A long-closed historic downtown Syracuse building may have a new buyer, as someone has triggered the foreclosure process on the Mizpah Tower.
The former First Baptist church, located in downtown's Cathedral Square section, has sat vacant for almost a quarter century, but later today the Syracuse Common Council will likely approve having the building appraised - the first step in the foreclosure process.
The current owner of the Mizpah, Syracuse-Bangkok, LLC., of Bellevue, Wash. is delinquent on its property taxes, thus susceptible to seizure by the city.
Syracuse officials won't release any information about the new buyer interested in the property because it's too early in the process, according to Sheldon Ashkin in the city's Finance Department.
The new buyer is interested "mixed use" development, says Ashkin.
The Mizpah is nearly 100 years old and already has residential space above the sanctuary that has been used as a hotel or living quarters over its history.
The city sold the property, on the corner of Montgomery and Jefferson Streets, to Syracuse-Bangkok in 2005 after a somewhat botched bidding process.
The current owner has not done any work on the property and has since fallen behind on property taxes.
The owner last paid its back taxes in 2008, says Ashkin, which was the last time Syracuse had contact with the owner.
Ashkin says notice of the possible seizure has been sent to Syracuse-Bangkok. If the owner pays up at any point over the foreclosure process, which usually takes a few months, the new purchase offer on the table will go away.
You can see pictures of the Mizpah Tower here.