Stelrema Building Falling Into Disrepair; Prospects Wanted

After being abandoned due to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the old Stelrema building is slowly falling into disrepair, but Charles Weaver, executive director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, is working hard to find prospects to take the building over and pay back some $400,000 in property taxes.

Weaver said the facility last had business in April 2012 before falling into bankruptcy. Now the building is in the hands of the U.S. Bankruptcy trustee and Weaver said they are trying to find an interested party to take over the building and make it prosperous once more. He said two potential parties have viewed the building and talked about investments, but he thinks they’re looking at other sites as well and there’s no guarantee they’ll settle on the Knox site.

Stelrema currently owes roughly $416,000 in personal property taxes, according to Weaver, but he said at least 87 percent of that will be paid up by the bankruptcy. Unfortunately, property taxes of about $400,000 are still owed as well, and Weaver said he’s hoping to get a buyer to not only put people to work but also pay those taxes.

Weaver said there’s no timeline for when someone might decide to invest in the site, but as the days go by, the building is falling into disrepair. He said there’s already a roof leak and a number of maintenace items that need taken care of, and the longer it sits, the worse it gets.