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Old May 17th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #1921
Bonjourtoledo
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Downtown Developments Update

City, developers seek to fill vacant buildings
By Brandi Barhite of Toledo Free Press and Shaun Hegarty of FOX Toledo
Posted on Toledo Free Press website 5-16-2008


Toledo does not stand alone when it comes to its empty buildings.

“I can't tell you it's not a problem, but it is average,” said Sam Zyndorf, senior vice president of Signature Associates in Downtown Toledo. “It is not unique. There are a lot of cities, especially a lot of cities in the Midwest, that have vacant buildings. Truthfully, are all of those buildings going to be leased or sold? Probably not. Some are antiquated and will never see light again.

“It is simple supply and demand,” Zyndorf said. “We have the supply, we just need more demand.”

Development Specialist Anthony Jones said the City of Toledo does not have a comprehensive list of its vacant buildings, although preparing such a document is planned.

In the past two years, with aid from the city, 24 vacant buildings in Downtown have been purchased, renovated or are in the process of renovation, according to Jones. These include Home Slice Pizza, 28 S. St. Clair St.; Ottawa Tavern, 1815 Adams St.; and The City Grill, 421 Huron St.

“Our successes are helping us gain momentum,” Jones said.

But there's still more to be done when it comes to empty or barely-occupied buildings.

The more notables are the privately owned Fiberglas Tower, the former Fifth Third Center and the Berdan Building.

The city also owns an empty building at the southwest corner of Madison and Huron.

“From the outside it looks like it is dilapidated, but you go inside and see, ‘Wow, this could be something great if someone had the vision to turn this around,'” Jones said.

One section of the Madison Building used to be law offices; the other was a stock exchange and bank.

Jones met with a developer who had the Madison Building marked as an “ugly building,” but when he viewed the 20-foot archways, marble floors and walls and intricate paintings, his mind changed.

“We will entertain any development proposals for it,” Jones said. “We don't want to give it to somebody who doesn't have the means to develop it. We want to make sure we partner with them to get it to the final use of a developed, renovated property that is half a block away from the new sports arena.”

The uncertainty of the renovation costs is a challenge. The brick facade was ripped off, and the city isn't sure if the damages were critical or superficial.

“But I found out that everyone who has seen the building, who I took inside, were blown away by how beautiful it was,” Jones said.

A tall order
Part of Jones' job is to develop relationships with property owners so the city can help fill their buildings.

Jones has met with the Eyde Company, the owner of the Fiberglas Tower, 200 N. St. Clair St.

A feasibility study is being performed to determine how the skyscraper, which has been empty for more than 10 years, can be renovated and used in the Toledo market.

So far, it looks like a mix-used concept would be best for the former Owens Corning building, Jones said. Possibilities include retail on the top and bottom, and commercial outlets, condos and a fitness center throughout.

Jones said making the building dependent on various avenues of revenue would make it more sustainable in the long run. Having one tenant makes the building vulnerable to relocation, he said.

“The owners have exciting plans,” said Mitch Irwin, consultant for the Lansing, Mich.-based Eyde.

Irwin wasn't willing to be more specific, but said the owners are working with the city, county and the state of Ohio, and looking at incentive programs. The tower's asbestos is an issue that will have some cost, but it is resolvable, he said. A goal for the company is to make it the first-ever vertical brownfield project. The state of Ohio offers grants to clean environmentally damaged properties.

Jones is also working to help fill the former Fifth Third Center at Madison Avenue and Huron Street, and the Berdan Building, 601 Washington St. The former Fifth Third Center is owned by Ergur Realty; Berdan is owned by Parkwest Realty. They did not return calls for comment.

Outside parties have expressed interest in the Berdan Building, also known as King Warehouse No. 1., but Jones said he is not privy to additional information. Critical for that renovation is Ohio's historic tax credits.

“I know the building is in a phenomenal location in Downtown being cattycorner to the Mud Hens stadium,” Jones said.

As for the former Fifth Third Center, a mixed-used facility is proposed, but Jones could not elaborate.

Better with age
Jones said developing Downtown Toledo is about promoting its character. Downtown is not like building Fallen Timbers or Levis Commons from the ground up; the infrastructure is already in place.

“Older isn't worse,” he said. “Older provides an opportunity for a unique experience that those suburban sites won't be able to provide. Being able to have everything picture-perfect and symmetrical, and being of the same color and tone isn't always what people are looking for.”

Real estate expert Zyndorf said empty buildings are an image issue. Although it's not costing tax money for privately owned buildings to sit empty, it just doesn't look good.

The government really can't be blamed for the problem either, he said. Community leaders cannot do much except offer incentive packages when someone expresses interest in a property.

Jones said it's competitive. Some cities offer free land and buildings. Toledo has a variety of tax incentives, loans and grants.

John Gibney, spokesman for Regional Growth Partnership, said no formal survey is kept as to why businesses come to or leave Toledo.

The economy has played a recent role, but it works both ways, he said. Work doesn't just leave Toledo because of consolidation, it also comes to Toledo because of consolidation.

Zyndorf said some out-of-town people were looking at space in the past year and he hopes they come to Toledo, particularly Downtown. But it's important to be realistic, too. Not all buildings are viable any longer.

“Is somebody going to take on the wherewithal to go after the old Security Building at Huron and Madison? Even though the mayor won't like to hear this, highly unlikely,” he said.

“The problem is who is going to invest those millions of dollars into a building to create all that new space, and where is the demand? After you build it, will they come? I wish they would. I wish there were people waiting in line for office space.”
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Old May 17th, 2008, 06:46 AM   #1922
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IMHO, Mike Ashford needs to sit down and shut up for once. He needs to understand Urban Planning 101 and what works/what doesn't work in Rust Belt cities.

Man, I'm really wondering why he is objecting here- maybe just for the sake of argument?
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Old May 17th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #1923
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Maumee: Former Ford Plant Redevelopment

Deleted due to Toledo Blade's request.
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Old May 17th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #1924
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you want to know somethin funny. i was sitting here reading the article on Downtown a couple threads up and i thought it was written by the Toledo Blade. So I'm sittin here readin it and I'm like HOLY TOLEDO the Blade is actually going to be retarded and is actually going to see downtown from all perspectives. Not just one. But then i looked and it was the Toledo Free Press
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Old May 18th, 2008, 04:32 PM   #1925
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Intermodal Boom Developments Update

Deleted due to Toledo Blade's request.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #1926
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Close Park Redevelopment News

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Old May 18th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #1927
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Intermodal Boom Developments Update #2

Deleted due to Toledo Blade's request.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 06:06 PM   #1928
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Libbey Inc. Development News

Great article about our long-running, local company here in Toledo. Happy 120th Birthday ol' Libbey!
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Old May 19th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #1929
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Intermodal Boom Developments Update #3

Deleted due to Toledo Blade's request.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 03:53 PM   #1930
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Intermodal Boom Developments Update #4

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Old May 19th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #1931
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Intermodal Boom Developments Update #5

To collaborate the burgeoning solar tech and alternative energy tech boom in this region the intermodal and shipping industries would be a no-brainer for this region to offshore the auto industries down-turns. More visuals and maps of the ongoing Intermodal Boom Developments around the Toledo region especially at North Baltimore, Port of Toledo, and Toledo Express.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #1932
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Intermodal Boom Developments News

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Old May 20th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #1933
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Why did that refinery close down? Seems to have been a bad move in an era where people are now calling for more refineries to be built.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:10 AM   #1934
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddington View Post
Why did that refinery close down? Seems to have been a bad move in an era where people are now calling for more refineries to be built.
That is a very good question and hopefully someone will elaborate it with a little history on the former Chevron site.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:12 AM   #1935
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Marina District Development Update

Two latest article in regards to the Marina District project:

Rep. Peter Ujvagi hails funds approval for marina district
Postedon WNWO 24 NBC website May 20, 2008


COLUMBUS, OH -- On Monday, state representative Peter Ujvagi (D-Toledo) applauded the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission’s approval of $4.9 million in state funds to pay for portions of Toledo’s new Marina District development. This approval, in conjunction with legislation pending before Toledo City Council, means construction on the Marina District could begin soon.

“We are finally keeping our commitment to make this Toledo project a true destination, and I am pleased the state saw the importance of this development to northwest Ohio,” Rep. Ujvagi said. “These new outlets for cultural, arts, and recreation activities will be the catalyst for new residential and commercial developments, and they will promote improvements on Main Street and other East Toledo neighborhoods. These developments will create jobs and bring additional attention and revenue to our area.”

The money from the state will help fund the 35-acre Riverwalk project along the Maumee river in Toledo. The project plans include: a public road, multi-purpose path, boardwalk, public gathering sites, open-air performance spaces, and will also incorporate significant environmental standards and technology.

The Riverwalk portion of the Marina District has a target completion date in December, with residential building construction beginning in the next few months.


Land Deal for Marina District
By Aaron Brilbeck
Posted on WNWO 24 NBC website May 20, 2008


Toledo city council members today approved a deal to turn over 58-acres of prime, waterfront property to developer Larry Dillin. Dillin plans to use the city owned land for a 320-million dollar retail and housing project. Councilwoman Lindsay Webb says, this is a good deal for the city. "As that land is sitting vacant and unused, we're not collecting property taxes", Webb says. But Councilman Mike Ashford isn't so enthusiastic. He reluctantly voted "Yes", upset about the tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money that has been used over the years to get the land ready for development. "The fact is", Ashford says, "these are taxpayers dollars. And taxpayers dollars should not be used for a private entity"
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:13 AM   #1936
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GM Powertrain Development News

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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:15 AM   #1937
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Intermodal Boom Developments News

Deleted due to Toledo Blade's request.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 05:17 AM   #1938
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Ohio State Capital Investment to NWO Region News

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Old May 21st, 2008, 12:58 PM   #1939
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Wed June 4th at the Seagate final plans for the arena will be shown. This came from WTOL's 5am broadcast...... Id like to attend but no times were said. If anyone else has info please let me know.

Also Fifth Thirds project near Pilkington in Rossford is movin along pretty good. Sewers and Hydrants have already been installed and it looks like there starting on a road.
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Old May 21st, 2008, 01:11 PM   #1940
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudhen419 View Post
Wed June 4th at the Seagate final plans for the arena will be shown. This came from WTOL's 5am broadcast...... Id like to attend but no times were said. If anyone else has info please let me know.

Also Fifth Thirds project near Pilkington in Rossford is movin along pretty good. Sewers and Hydrants have already been installed and it looks like there starting on a road.
Credit to the Glass City Jungle Blog for posting an e-mail announcement from the Lucas County Commissioners:

COMMISSIONERS INVITE RESIDENTS TO SEE FINAL DESIGN FOR NEW DOWNTOWN ARENA

The invites are now in the mail and the Lucas County Commissioners want residents to come down and see the final design for the new multi-purpose arena in downtown Toledo.

Commissioners will host a major design roll-out for the public on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the Seagate Convention Centre.

The final designs for the arena are a product of intense work by HNTB and the Arena architectural team, as well as important public input delivered in community forums and other settings over the course of several months.

More media-specific details will be announced as we near the date. For more information about the Lucas County Arena, visit www.LucasCountyArena.com

WHAT: Commissioners Invite Residents to See
Final Design for Arena

WHEN: Wednesday, June 4, 2008
10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Seagate Convention Centre
First Floor
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