Renovation work at long-vacant Toledo landmark is well underway

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - It's certainly one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown Toledo. After sitting empty for decades, renovation work on the Pythian Castle is well underway.

The Pythian Castle in downtown Toledo

13abc's Lissa Guyton was given an exclusive look at the progress Wednesday.

The castle was built in 1890 for the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization and secret society. After changing hands a number of times, it's been vacant since the 1970s. Dave Ball bought the castle in 2016.

Ball first fell in love with the castle in 1982 when he was working as a young commercial real estate agent. Fast forward to 2016 — that's when Ball bought the building from the Lucas County Land Bank for $300.

He also bought the old Greyhound bus station next door. There will eventually be a new tenant in that building, but right now it's a staging area for crews working on the castle.

At this point you can't see a lot of the progress from the street, but major renovation work has been done. The outside is being restored to the way it was, and the inside is being redone from top to bottom.

Ball has done a lot of projects in the city, but this one may be his favorite.

"I knew it would be a challenge, I knew this project would be tough and expensive," Ball said. "It has certainly been all of that, but at the end of the day I will be proud to see the building occupied. There is nothing like it in this city. To have it removed from our skyline would have been a real loss."

Dave's brother Dean is the project manager. He is proud to be helping his brother bring the old building back to its former glory.

"It is a spectacular building," he said. "A lot of people are excited to see what we are doing with it. Dave and I have restored a lot of buildings, but I think this one takes the cake. I am so proud to be part of this project."

The main focus right now is the roof. That work should be finished by the end of next month. Nothing is set in stone, but there could be commercial and residential space in the building. Dave Ball will begin marketing the space early next year, and he expects to have some of the space occupied in 2020.