Riddle Block 9 Gets Historic Preservation Tax Credits

Enigma Block 9the historical monument in downtown Ravenna being restored to its former splendour, has received another source of fundingthis one from the state.

The building at 200 W. Main St. will receive $250,000 in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Melissa Shelton, who owns the building with her husband, Doug, said the credits, which will be awarded over 5 years, can be applied to the entire $1.586 million renovation project.

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Riddle Block 9 is only the second project in Ravenna to benefit from historic tax credits. The first project was the nearby Phoenix Building.

The Sheltons purchased the 50,000 square foot building in 2020 and set about renovating all 20 apartments and commercial spaces. One of the apartments has been converted into Airbnb, which opened last year. A second, larger unit, which overlooks downtown Ravenna, should be complete and ready for Airbnb by fall, Shelton said.

Last year, the Ravenna project, along with projects in three other counties, was selected to share $446,327 in grants through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant, issued by the National Park Service through organizations from Main Street.

The latest tax credit, Shelton said, covers the entire project, including parts of the renovation not covered by the Paul Bruhn grant.

Ravenna's downtown Riddle Block 9 historic renovation project will receive $250,000 in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

Henry W. Riddle built 11 Riddle blocks in Ravenna, 10 of which are still standing. Riddle Block 9 was built after a fire destroyed the previous structure, the Empire-Mertz Block, in March 1911.

In 2017, historian Jack Schafer led a tour of the downtown Riddle Buildings. Schafer called Riddle Block 9 “Henry’s crowning glory” and said it was the largest commercial building in downtown Ravenna. The building is one of four Riddle Blocks on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also listed on the National Register as part of the Downtown District

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