Comments ... #
As one commenter on the Blade site already said, a loose association with I.M. Pei does not make the building "historic".
This is an abuse of the "historic-site" list, IMO. What unforgettable moments of history or unique architecture or other are we attempting to preserve here?
Oh, great. Once it receives that status, it can never be torn down to create space a developer might actually want to build on.
I worked in the Fiberglas Tower for a number of years. The only thing unique or semi-historic about it is the asbestos.
The answer to every question is contined in the last paragraph of the article which notes:
Placement on the national register would entitle the tower's owners, Lansing-based Eyde Co., to receive tax credits for developing and maintaining it.
Foodie, we aren't Chicago. No developer is going to look at our downtown and say "well I can't tear this one building down, I guess I'm going to go home because there is absolutely no where else I can build here."
Considering the Eyde company is currently renovating it and has Marriott lined up to fill half of the floors, what's the problem here?
Would like to see something done with the sky scrapers downtown they are a landmark for Toledo. Guess it's from a bygone era when companies wanted to flex their muscles and create these monuments to consumerism.
Now days it seems the digital realm is the new landmark as companies ditch the brick and mortar for more bandwidth and web presence.
While I agree that it's quite possibly the least attractive building in the skyline, I'm all for saving our tall buildings. This company already has put money on the table and started the process; I'm all for it. The parking garage is actually kinda cool... for a parking garage.
In other news, another Michigan developer is in the planning stages of renovating the Spitzer building...
I June of 2010, the Blade printed a full set of the financial details of this project. I disliked it then and continue to. Here is my post at that time:
On June 23, The Blade published the following costs involved with the renovation of the Fiberglas Tower:
≺ $10 million from a 20-year, Section 108 loan from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
≺ $2 million from a Brownfield Economic Development Initiative grant, which can be used to pay the interest on the Section 108 loan.
≺ $7.277 million in new market tax credits.
≺ $5.381 million in federal historic tax credits.
≺ $6.407 million in Ohio state tax credits.
≺ $3 million from an economic development grant.
≺ $1 million from a climate-control energy efficiency grant.
≺ $3 million from a Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant.
≺ $750,000 from Clean Ohio Assistance Fund.
≺ $1.5 million developer contribution.
≺ $3 million developer equity.
≺ $1.49 million developer deferred fee.
Note that of the 44ish million dollars, the owner of the building was putting in a total of $1.5 million in cash, and then would be paying themselves $1.49 million for developing the building. While the $3 million in developer equity leads a person to assume that they would be contributing significant equity, it appears as though the only concrete cash commitment to the project is a less than impressive $0.01 million or $10,000 ? WTF?
Today the Blade came out all in favor of the project because of the laughable notion that the 10 Million that the city is guaranteeing is not an issue, because the City would get this gem if the deal goes sideways. It could sell the property and get all the 10 million back.
The city could just pick from any of the dozens of companies and individuals that are waiting to buy this building. Yah, right.
I just can't figure out why a parking garage was put front and center to a waterfront/park view. I'd love to see that part go.
I just can't figure out why a parking garage was put front and center to a waterfront/park view. I'd love to see that part go.
No no...that's what makes it "historic"...<snort...chortle>
The actual lifespan of that building was 26 years. It has been a vertical brownfield for 16. Hopefully OC doesn't discard the current building that quickly.
Well their current building is beautiful and not full of poisonous asbestos. They should be fine for a long time.
As for the parking garage...
Yeah, it's probably blocking the view of the river, but I almost wonder of the the drop off in elevation eliminated the view away. I guess, you would need to be a view stories up anyway to actually appreciate anything.
What IS needed is a new facade. That facade on there now is frighteningly terrible. Which is so sad, because it's front and center in Toledo' downtown. Strip that off asap and put something cool on it!!
The parking garage itself though is a HUGE asset to the tower. People who will live there would consider it a huge advantage. It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to tear it down.
view anyway* few stories*
Don't drink and type kids, you'll look uneducated. ;)
They talked a few years ago about redoing the garage's facade, so I think that's in the works. Or at least, it's on the table. And the ground level of the garage is not actually part of the garage, but a retail center, so anything that were to move in there would gain the benefit of having a great view across Promenade Park.
And wait, now that I think about it, isn't that where the downtown YMCA was supposed to be relocating?
Not anymore. The Eyde deal fell through (I don't know exactly why). I heard the Y is looking at the steam plant project.
I'll add that I'll believe it when I see it. Too many rumors.
You mean the Y's deal with Eyde fell through, right?
Okay, gotcha. With Eyde working with Marriott to operate half of the floors in the tower, I wonder if that affected the YMCA deal. I could see a hotel operator urging more hotel-friendly tenants in that space, like restaurants or something.
The Y's steam plant announcement this morning (now I can believe it):
Dear YMCA Members:
The YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo is dedicated to providing programs and services that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Each year, our Y serves more than 300,000 youth, adults and families in Toledo area communities.
Last year, the Y was approached by developers about relocating the Summit Y from Summit and Bush Streets to a facility in the downtown Toledo business district. After significant due diligence by the Y’s Board of Trustees and the Summit Y Relocation Task Force, the Y’s board voted to relocate the Y to Water Street Station (formerly known as the steam plant). Construction is expected to be finished in mid to late 2013. The new location, with full view of the Maumee River and International Park, will allow the Y to better address the needs of the people who work and live in the downtown area.
The new Y will serve as the hub for a variety of community-based programs and initiatives. It will connect local businesses to an organization that will help keep their employees healthy, and it will give people living in the downtown and urban neighborhoods a place to gather and recreate. The new Y will be located on a bus route, which will make it accessible for all.
Through a collaboration with the University of Toledo and the University of Toledo Medical Center, UTMC will operate a Family Physicians Primary Care Clinic within the new Y. The clinic will offer wellness classes led by UTMC physicians, nutritionists and therapists; a fully functional laboratory; and one-on-one clinical care with a UTMC physician.
While exploring this opportunity, the Y has had significant dialogue with the City of Toledo and Lucas County leadership. This partnership between the YMCA of Greater Toledo, the support of a developer, and the business district is a clear example of our community working together to enhance the city and the downtown business district.
The developer for the new downtown Y has committed to a seamless transition for Summit Y members. There will be no interruption of services, and the current facility will remain open until the new downtown facility is ready. Specific decisions about how the Y can deliver services in the downtown area will be developed with key stakeholders in the coming weeks and months.
Reaching out to the urban core of Toledo is very important to the Y. While we cannot predict future funding for existing and new programs, the Y is committed to continuing and building upon the programs and services currently provided in North Toledo such as the Youth Opportunities Program, the Fun Bus and the recently awarded Leverette “Schools as Community Hubs” in partnership with Toledo Public Schools and United Way.
At the new location, the Y will be more accessible to three low-income apartment complexes, Riverfront Apartments (161 residents), Vistula Manor Apartments (160 unit senior complex) and Port Lawrence Homes (151 unit family complex). Through funds raised by the Y’s Annual Campaign, residents at these complexes will be provided free or reduced memberships. In 2012, the Y raised more than $2.1 million of which $700,000 will be targeted toward the needs of children and families in urban communities.
Finally, for the last 12 years the Summit Y, in its current location, has endured financial challenges primarily due to the inefficiencies of the building, (designed originally as a medical facility), loss of rental income, and a significant reduction of state and local funding for programs. The relocation of the Summit Y to the heart of downtown, will allow the center to be more financially viable and able to continue serving the people with the greatest need in our community.
Todd Tibbits Rob Koenig
President/CEO Chairman of the Board of Trustees
I'm totally joining. That's incredible!
There are some wrinkles in terms of the annual campaign and donor intent, and the potential blending of upscale and low income, (with different needs and expectations) but all in all... probably a solid plan. I can see urban dwellers having reduced space for fitness equipment in apartments or lofts, and I can see downtown workers doing lunch time workouts.
Too bad they didn't move COSI to the steamplant and allow portside to be what was designed to be, a retail space on a (now wasted) waterfront. But, this is better than nothing.
justread, completely agree about COSI (Imagination Station). I love that we have it, but that spot is best suited for retail. Moving COSI to a spot with less retail-potential would be a good move, in my opinion. Portside would have a better chance to thrive today than it did 20+ years ago.
I think Portside's failure (besides the fact that it launched in the middle of an economic downturn and one of the darkest moments in Toledo's roller coaster history, when KKR crippled O-I), was that it came at a time when public opinion nationally was anti-downtown. I personally cite Camden Yards in Baltimore as the spark that changed people's minds, and started this national trend of people re-envisioning what an urban area could and should be.
Anyway, I'm getting too far off the point. As for the Steam Plant/YMCA development, I think this is fantastic. Having a Y in downtown is another item to add to the list of creature comforts that will make it a more appealing residential location.
From what I heard about lease rates in Portside was that they were unsustainable, unless the retailer got huge sales they just couldn't afford to stay there.
1.) I distinctly remember Willard Scott from the "Today" show coming for the grand opening of Portside. He did the weather report for the nation right from the riverfront.
2.) I'm sorry, I disagree Johio83. Aside from the sky high lease rates in the old days, Portside was never a "go every week" or "go every month" place to be. Wasn't there a store in there that only sold purple items? A fudgery too? Just not sustainable with the selection of retailers that was down there.
And Toledo isn't the only city with these types of failed "festival marketplaces". St. Louis has Union Station (once the largest train station in the United States) hanging on by a thread. Honolulu's Aloha Tower Marketplace isn't doing great either. And there are many others...
If I accept the premise of downtown Toledo renewal, (a) population downtown has to increase by a LOT more and (b) Portside still sits "off the beaten path" (for lack of a better term) from the hub of new downtown activity (5/3 Field, Huntington Center). In my mind, better to figure out Fort Industry Square (or a new development) closer to the action before kicking out COSI...which the people have voted to end 2-3 times now, but hey we're only voters, what do we know....
oht, to clarify, I didn't mean the specific shops that were in Portside, just the concept itself; that a retail center like this would stand a better chance in downtown today than back when it was launched.
Its not that far from 5/3rd field and on the river, it has a lot of potential as a store location if they could keep the costs down they might even be able to keep vendors in that location. It has access to the downtown docks, there is a tunnel under summit to it. Don't recall if the overhead path leads anywhere near it. I could see lunch goers from downtown hanging out there for lunch, some small shopping, boaters heading there after a day on the lake. Could be a starting point for lake tours from the docks there. Maybe a afternoon hangout for downtown residents?
I actually enjoyed watching them make fudge there, they had a Godiva chocolate store, not that anyone could afford to buy anything there. I seem to remember it just having high end stores and the economy took a major dump just after it opened, and like Johio said there wasn't much of a downtown rush or a push to revitalize downtown as much as there is today.