The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        The vacated Tireman store at the former Woodville Mall site was razed on Monday. The Andersons and Elder-Beerman stores, the only buildings that remain on the property, are next.

        “The mall is finally coming down,” City Administrator Bob Anderson said to The Press last week. “Tireman no longer stands. Andersons is still up, but it’s next on the list. Most of the material has been removed from the interior. They are also still working inside the Elder-Beerman store. By the time the Andersons is torn down, Elder-Beerman will be ready.”

        The Sears building has already been torn down, though it still owns the property where the store once stood. The city is hoping to acquire it so there is better control to market the site to future developers.

        “Seeing that the city is the primary footprint owner, in a perfect world, we’d get the Sears property,” said Glenn Grisdale, the city’s economic development consultant. “When we have complete site control, we can do whatever we want to,” he added, including splitting up the parcel for development.

Cleanup

        The main mall structure was razed in 2014 due to structural issues. The city acquired the property at a sheriff’s sale in February 2016 for $200,000. Since then, it has been cleaning up the site, including the removal of asbestos. The site included 50,000 square feet of asbestos remaining material tiles, and 771,844 square feet of spray on asbestos containing material insulation covering the entire footprint of the buildings, concrete walls, I-beams, ceiling tiles, hard plaster ceilings, and floors.

        The site was deemed too expensive for the private sector to fix. The city has undertaken every action possible leading up to remediating the site, including acquiring all of the property except the 10 acre Sears parcel. It also received a state loan from the Ohio Water Development Board to help pay for demolition services and asbestos abatement, estimated to cost $4.2 million.

        With the cleanup nearly complete, the city hasn’t yet decided whether the 100 acre site should be used for commercial, industrial, or residential development. Residents who attended a meeting on the matter last month voted in favor of a combination.          

        The city hired Brian McMahon, a real estate broker at Danbury National, to market the site.

        Residents filled city council chambers on Jan. 25 to listen to economic development ideas from Grisdale. Residents also provided feedback on their preferences.

       

More meetings

        Anderson said there are more meetings scheduled as the city moves forward on getting the site ready for development.

        “We will be talking again when we get more positive ideas,” said Anderson. “We’ve been working on some concept drawings that shows what is possible at the site. A lot of people are visually oriented. That will help Brian market it.”

        The city will continue to seek community feedback, refine the site planning process, align community tools and resources to maximize site readiness, and market the site to interests that are well matched to the community’s desires and market realities, he said.

        “I didn’t know if we were going to get just a few people or a lot of residents to show up at the meeting. I’m very happy with all the people who showed up,” said Anderson. “Everyone was positive. We now have to start sharpening the focus a little bit.”

        Anderson doubted the site would be developed for an industrial facility.

        “I just don’t see it,” he said. “You have to have investors. If Brian comes up with a big investor, we’ll see. The city is very willing to deal with the right person who wants the property.”

        “At the end of the day,” said McMahon, “I think the task is to find the highest and best use that will generate the best return for investment that the city has made. We’re very early in that process.”

Commercial

        Anderson said he could envision some roads getting built on the property to accommodate residential and small commercial development or strip malls.

        “It will probably be a combination of the two,” he said.

        Whatever ends up going in, the city will provide support, he said.

        “We’re in a position to help people with the cost of land, provide some tax incentives, and then get out of the way.”

        McMahon said at the meeting that some developers have expressed an interest in the property. He expects more serious inquiries once the property becomes “site ready.”

        “Most of the people looking at this – kicking the tires, if you will – are going to wait until the site is really ready. I think that’s going to happen very quickly,” said McMahon. “The sooner that happens, the quicker we’re going to get interest from the state of Ohio. That is a very important partner. In economic development, there is an entity called `Jobs Ohio.’ We’ve met with them already. We’ve had some dialogue. And there will be additional meetings with them.”

       

 

 

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