Ohio's Iconic Basket Building Sells Under the Initial Asking Price
After a few years of uncertainty comes news that one of the most eye-catching examples of unconventional architecture in the Midwest won’t be sent packing after all. Built in 1997, the Newark, Ohio, building served as the headquarters for Longaberger Company, shaped to look like one of its trademark baskets—protruding handles and all. In spite of (or perhaps due to) its unique aesthetic qualities, the building languished on the open market for nearly three years without a buyer. But recently, Coon Restoration stepped up to purchase the seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building for $1.2 million, far below the initial asking price of $7.5 million. Coon will also assume payment of the $800,000 in back taxes that Longaberger still owes on the building.
Coon Restoration president Steve Coon explained how the building is far from your average office complex: "The Longaberger Basket Building is known all over the world, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to preserve and renovate this building and put it back into use," he said in a statement. "I have a big vision in mind to bring it back to life and keep the Longaberger story alive."
Before the sale, the Newark community went all out to preserve the beloved "Big Basket." Public officials have assisted with the payment of the building's back taxes, and community members collected funds to pay off the empty building’s utility bills to prevent it from falling into a state of disrepair. Now, Newark can breathe easier knowing that its beloved landmark is in good hands. "We are very excited to help facilitate this transaction and make the Longaberger Basket Building a viable economic development asset again," said Newark mayor Steve Hall in a statement.