Downtown property owner Howard Kosofsky is credited with refurbishing buildings in downtown Mooresville that house such draws as the new J.J. Wasabi's Grill and Bar.
But town officials say the developer is also responsible for one of downtown's biggest eyesores, a building with a boarded-up front that motorists see every time .
"You come into downtown, and it looks like the beach after a hurricane," town commissioner Rhett Dusenbury said.
Town officials have been after Kosofsky to fix the vacant building at 132 S. Main St. since an inspection Sept. 14 determined the building warranted a review as to whether it violates the town's commercial maintenance code.
The town ordered Kosofsky to repair the building by Jan. 2, but repairs were never made, Mooresville Zoning Administrator Mandy Edwards told the town Board of Commissioners April 12.
"The condition of the building has continued to decline, and the broken windows have become a safety hazard," Edwards wrote in a request that the board direct a code enforcement official to repair the glass and bill Kosofsky.
Kosofsky said he's invested about $3million in downtown Mooresville and has created 19 office spaces, 17 of which are now occupied, he said.
But he also told the board at the April 12 meeting that he didn't have the $1,600 to $2,200 to repair the window. The money, he said, is tied up in renovating another of his Main Street buildings, where the Daily Grind restaurant plans to open soon.
"We're in negative territory" financially, Kosofsky said.
Kosofsky said he will fix the window once he lands a tenant for the 132 S. Main St. space. He said he's in talks with two restaurants. "You guys are going to be really pleased" with the quality of whichever restaurant takes the space, Kosofsky said.
That failed to soothe commissioners Mac Herring and Thurman Houston, who told Kosofsky they were displeased with the lack of repairs.
Herring suggested Kosofsky was holding out to get more parking from the town. Kosofsky complained at the meeting of a lack of parking for J.J. Wasabi's patrons and asked, "Wouldn't you rather spend $2,000 on parking than a broken window?"
Said Herring: "It's almost like you're holding this window hostage for a parking solution. I've been asking you for two years, as of this July, about this window."
"I am not holding you hostage," Kosofsky replied. "I have never held you hostage."
Houston said Kosofsky sits on the Mooresville Downtown Commission yet puts up with something so unsightly. "We're asking you to repair your building," Houston said.
"Why do you believe I'm holding you hostage when I say we need to grow Mooresville?" Kosofsky replied.
With Houston dissenting, the board agreed to consider the matter again at its May 17 meeting. Commissioners said that should give Kosofsky and town staff enough time to try to resolve the dispute.