Do you long to own a novelty office building in Ohio? Then your dream may soon become a reality, as the giant, basket-shaped former home of direct sales housewares company Longaberger is slated for foreclosure.
It was just 20 years ago that Longaberger moved into its new $32 million structure designed to look like one of the company’s signature wooden baskets. However, Longaberger’s fortunes faded in the decades since, and the business was eventually acquired by a Dallas-based holding company that owns other direct-sales brands.
The acquisition meant that Longaberger no longer needed a basket-shaped headquarters that held 500 employees. The employees moved out, and the basket building hit the real estate market. It turns out, though, that no one really wants a basket-shaped office building.
The property taxes haven’t been paid since 2014, and there’s a bill of over $700,000. Some of that bill consists of remaining costs from the roads and other infrastructure that surrounds the Big Basket.
Rather than pay its tax bill, the new owners are letting the county foreclose on the building. Local officials told Bloomberg News that foreclosure is “imminent,” and the building will be auctioned off in around six months.
One thing that could hold up the auction is ongoing litigation between the last Longaberger family member who owned the company, and its new owner. The holding company alleges that a trust for Tamala L. Longaberger failed to tell them about the six-figure tax liability during the sale of the company.
Someone must be in the market for a cool-looking building about 40 miles outside of Columbus. If you take the handles off and repaint it, it almost doesn’t look like a giant picnic basket. Almost.