The Sortino Brothers have been bringing authentic Sicilian cooking to the small town of Sandusky, Ohio since their father, Michele Sortino, first migrated there from Modica, Sicily in 1952. Their family ristorante, Sortino’s Little Italy, has become a local favorite serving up dishes using recipes passed down from generation to generation. The family’s original restaurant is located in a historic building that once housed an orphanage and has now been transformed into a Sicilian tratoria for you to enjoy.
The former County Children’s Home at 1200 Sycamore Line will be sold at a public auction, Erie county commissioners have decided.
Three local firms were asked Thursday to provide commissioners with a quotation for professional services concerning the marketing and auctioning of the Sycamore line property. A recent appraisal by a Vermilion company set the parcel’s value at 235,500,which includes two buildings and 5.18 acres.
“The county is not interested in accepting less than this appraised value,” the commissioners’ letter said. Commissioners are reserving the right to accept or reject any and all bids “in the best interest of the county.”
According to County Administrator Michael Bixler, commissioners decided not to retain the currently unused building for several reasons; first, Bixer said, it is very narrow inside and not accommodating for office space. Second, it is not handicap accessible, and an elevator would have to be installed to bring the building ito compliance with public office codes.
Third, Bixler said, the building would require extensive interior re-design to make it functional for county purposes, Bixler said the commissions decided last year to sell the building but plans have “just been delayed” until recently.
The facility, which is listed with the Ohio Historic Preservation Society, was used by the Sanitary Engineering Office, Children’s Services and Cooperative Extension Office for several years and has been used as temporary office space periodically over the past two years, Bixler said.
Two Sandusky brothers who Wednesday bought the former Erie County Children’s Home buildings and property have no definite plans for their acquisition, but pledged to “make sure it blends with the neighborhood.”
George and James Sortino acquired the property, which includes two buildings and about five acres of land, for $237,000 at an auction conducted at the property, 1200 Sycamore Lane (Line). Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Sortinos own the Friendship Inn, located adjacent to the purchased children’s home as well as the Greentree Inn/Johnny Angel’s complex and other Sandusky businesses. They said plans for their latest purchase are still tentative.
George Sortino said the buildings historic and sentimental values were among the reasons he and his brother brought the property. “Those are two beautiful buildings that hold a lot of nostalgia and tradition,” he said.
“Obviously, we wanted to move to protect out interest in the property in front (the Friendship Inn,” Sortino said, “and we also wanted to prevent someone from possibly buying (the former children’s home) and tearing it down.”
The property is zoned for governmental use only. “Well, that is one of the hardships we are faced with, and that we knew about, going tino this,” Sortino said. “We’re going to fit into the best usage for that property, so I don’t anticipate any problems. It just takes time.”
Jim Sortiono said that whatever is done, “we want to make sure it blends with the neighborhood, too. We have no definite plans; we’re just sitting on the property for the time being, and will hopefully announce our plans in the very near future.” He mentioned an office apartment complex as a; possibility.
It will take 60 days for the sale to become finalized, said George Sortino. In the meantime, “If anyone from the local community has any interest in any of the properties there, and wants to do something with it for the good of the community, we would certainly consider listening to their ideas or offers.”