Former Marion Maid-Rite building under new ownership; city dismisses petition

Owen Block Maid-Rite building Marion
The former Maid-Rite in the Owen Building in Uptown Marion has new ownership, and the city has withdrawn a petition to assume control of the building. CREDIT CITY OF MARION

The city of Marion has dismissed a petition seeking the title to the former Maid-Rite building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 10th Street, after the building’s new owners developed a timeline with the city to address its condition.

In May, the city of Marion filed a court petition seeking to acquire the title for the dilapidated “Owen Block building,” asserting the building’s then co-owners, Jamie Hoth and Joe Hill, had failed to take action to repair the building.

However, city officials said Monday, the building is now fully owned by Jamie and Kelsie Hoth, who have been “working closely with the city’s Building Inspection Division to establish a timeline to address appearance and safety-related matters.”

As a result, the city’s petition has been dismissed, city officials said.

The Owen Block building, one of Uptown Marion’s most recognizable buildings, was built in 1880 and was most recently home to the Maid-Rite Cafe, which closed in 2017. Despite several redevelopment proposals, it’s remained vacant since that time and has been partially boarded up to prevent unauthorized entry.

“The passage of time has visibly taken a toll on our iconic building, leaving it in need of extensive repair efforts,” the Hoths said in a release. “Our goal is to return the Owen Building to the energetic hub it once was.”

The Hoths are also working with the city to discuss historic design concepts, complementary business options and potential funding sources to bring the neglected building back to life.

“We’ll try to conserve as much of the original building and architectural design elements as possible while paving the way for community members and visitors to enjoy modern amenities, up to three new businesses and centrally located Uptown Marion housing,” the Hoths said. “Through this undertaking, we are excited to help Uptown Marion reclaim a piece of its identity while celebrating our past and embracing a vibrant future.”

Marion officials said they’re now optimistic about the building’s future, especially in light of the recently completed $6.7 million Uptown Marion streetscape project.

“The recent investments in Uptown Marion have brought a new energy to the heart of our community,” Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly said. “This is a positive step forward as we continue to recover from the derecho and envision what’s next for Marion. We are grateful to Jamie and Kelsie for their commitment to collaborating with the city and our community partners as they restore this important piece of our history.”