Toledo Talk

Promedica Moving 700 Employees Downtown Toledo

Can anyone confirm this? Why has this not been reported by any other news source?

http://www.toledofreepress.com/2014/02/04/breaking-promedica-plans-to-move-headquarters-downtown/

created by sehlhobs on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:29:51 pm     Comments: 129

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Comments ... #

Ah, well good. Of all the space in empty buildings downtown with ample vacant adjacent lots that they could have taken, they decide that building a parking garage over Promenade Park. What better use of river front vistas? It would've been a shame if they'd gone somewhere like the Nicholas or Spitzer buildings.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:34:14 pm     #   1 person liked this

Great, a parking structure on top of Promenade Park. Another fine usage of the riverfront.

posted by JohnnyMac on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:34:48 pm     #  

You beat me to the forehead slap, 83.

posted by JohnnyMac on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:35:59 pm     #  

Haha, same wavelength! I only beat you to it because I didn't do my proper proofreading.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:38:19 pm     #  

"Why has this not been reported by any other news source?"

Because it's from the future. The time stamp on the TFP story states:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

And it's only 7:38 p.m. EST on Tue, Feb 4, 2014.

Either the TFP is plugged into another dimension, or it's a fall-back, spring-forward time thingy.

posted by jr on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:39:22 pm     #  

I'm willing to bet the latter. Another forum I follow is always an hour off during half the year, due to the time change.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:40:26 pm     #  

That's not to say I've ruled out the former. I'm watching Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate right now, so I'm willing to keep an open mind that anything is possible.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:41:03 pm     #  

Johio83 posted at 07:40:26 PM on Feb 04, 2014:

I'm willing to bet the latter. Another forum I follow is always an hour off during half the year, due to the time change.

So much for warming up the flux capacitor.

posted by jr on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:43:30 pm     #  

I find it hard to believe that ProMarketa, even as evil as they are would come along and nuke a rare gathering place along the river. I also can't believe that our mayor and council, as stupid as they are, would allow it.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:45:18 pm     #  

Why has this not been reported by any other news source?

The Tom Noe story isn't over yet?

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:46:31 pm     #  

They should try to use the empty fiberglass tower parking structure it is kind of amazing to believe that there is not parking downtown

posted by sehlhobs on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:49:04 pm     #  

It's simple:
Put COSI (I know, I know, Imagination station with the stolen infrastructure from COSI) in the steam plant, put ProMarketa in One Seagate and some offices in the KeyBank building or Four Seagate so they can put their name on something (This is what this is about, you know that, right?) And for God's sake make Portside a retail space again. It was built too early but would work now.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:55:00 pm     #   6 people liked this

http://www.toledoblade.com/Medical/2014/02/04/ProMedica-announces-plan-to-relocate-HQ-in-downtown-Toledo.html

And another drawing.

posted by jr on Feb 04, 2014 at 08:56:44 pm     #  

I couldn't agree more about Portside. If it had been done now, instead of then, when the national trend is for young people to be moving into urban centers instead of out...

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:02:11 pm     #  

Like I said: name on something.
And lights. Lots and lots of green lights.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:03:38 pm     #   2 people liked this

I'm really torn by this. I love that a prominent local company like Promedica is choosing to relocate into the heart of downtown, but geeze... of all the locations, this is about as bad a choice as Owens Corning taking over the Middlegrounds peninsula.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:06:06 pm     #   1 person liked this

Put Imagination Station ANYWHERE else. And take that dam black paint off the freaking windows.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:09:54 pm     #   1 person liked this

Excerpts from the nearly 1800-word story:

ProMedica, the largest employer in the Toledo area, wants to bring employees who are scattered over “a large number of locations” under one roof into a signature building that would enforce its brand while developing the downtown riverfront area into a modern-looking, campus-like setting.

Randy Oostra, ProMedica president and chief executive officer, told The Blade the company's purchase and renovation of the Steam Plant could cost up to $40 million and begin in 2016.

Mr. Oostra stressed that ProMedica is in the early stages of its plans for the building, but said the company would retain the Steam Plant's historical aspects, including the two smokestacks that tower over the Maumee. ... and possibly add retail businesses.

Mr. Oostra said an underground parking structure is envisioned in the expanded portion of Promenade Park adjacent to Summit Street on the site of the former downtown Federal Building. He said the garage would be landscaped to blend in with the riverfront park and provide parking for people coming downtown for riverfront entertainment and festivals.

The YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo could also partner with ProMedica to build a public downtown fitness center as part of the campus on the ground-level of the KeyBank building, Mr. Oostra said.

Mayor Collins said shortly after becoming mayor last month he ordered the suspension of the $5 million renovation and expansion of Promenade Park, pushed by former Mayor Mike Bell, because it may be needed as part of ProMedica's downtown campus.

Incentive packages are commonly used by government to retain or attract businesses.

Mayor Collins said the state needs to assist with an incentive package for ProMedica.

Mayor Collins said he was looking for financial help from the state government's capital budget to pay for the garage.

“We need to get the message down to Columbus that we are not the fourth wheel on a tricycle and we need money coming out of Columbus to assist with this,” the mayor said. “We cannot write a check for a parking [garage] today.”

posted by jr on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:10:44 pm     #  

Johio83 posted at 08:06:06 PM on Feb 04, 2014:

I'm really torn by this. I love that a prominent local company like Promedica is choosing to relocate into the heart of downtown, but geeze... of all the locations, this is about as bad a choice as Owens Corning taking over the Middlegrounds peninsula.

I don't see the problem with the Keybank building and the steam plant if Portside is restored and Promenade Park is preserved.
The parking "lot" is the wildcard.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:12:07 pm     #  

This should be a lesson to Owens Corning and other companies that the trend is moving back downtown

posted by sehlhobs on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:15:21 pm     #   1 person liked this

Agreed, keeping the riverfront park space is my only concern here. Other than that, I think it's a great plan.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:19:14 pm     #  

Why does Owens Corning need that lesson? They never left downtown, just their verticle brownfield on N. St. Clair.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:19:47 pm     #  

Jesus. Vertical.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:20:42 pm     #  

I meant Owens Illinois sorry

posted by sehlhobs on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:20:56 pm     #  

except for green lights...

everything about this is good news and full of opportunity...

open madison between st clair and summit

as part of the underground parking garage put in indoor permanent toilet facilties for promenade park so we dont look like an ad for port-o-let every time we have an event...

demand for additional residential and commercial space making properties like the fiberglas tower more viable.

we need the city and the plan commission to hold the line and ensure urban development design is used... our companies and developers are accustomed to doing suburban downtown...

but this project promises the right things in its design...

cautiously optimistic

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:21:27 pm     #   1 person liked this

johio... agree the middlegrounds was a bad choice made in desperation (by the city) and the desire for a "campus setting" for OCF (like dana had out in the suburbs)...

this is a compact rehab of an existing historic structure that will include mix uses and that will bring life to the riverfront... winwinwin

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:27:03 pm     #  

I am prepared to love the idea if we can get portside back in the deal. 700 people can't all go to Focaccia's for lunch. And us boaters miss it.

posted by justread on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:31:33 pm     #  

More on the story from the Blade
http://www.toledoblade.com/Medical/2014/02/04/ProMedica-announces-plan-to-relocate-HQ-in-downtown-Toledo.html

posted by OldTimer on Feb 04, 2014 at 09:59:16 pm     #  

Just 3 words.

I love it.

posted by toledolen_ on Feb 04, 2014 at 10:42:06 pm     #  

Wait a minute--I thought that Jim Jackson had already turned the Edison Plant into condos?!

posted by Starr15 on Feb 04, 2014 at 10:52:33 pm     #  

The steam plant is going to look awfully funny outlined in strip club neon green lights...

posted by dell_diva on Feb 04, 2014 at 10:57:54 pm     #  

Fantastic news.

What am I missing on the concern for parking as The Blade indicated an underground structure?

Waiting with bated breath for EconCat88's next video to explain how the sky is falling.

posted by MrGlass419 on Feb 04, 2014 at 11:26:01 pm     #  

I'm confused about the Key Bank building's involvement in this. It says in the article that Promedica will take three of the floors, with Key retaining one floor. So... does that mean Key is moving three floors' worth of people elsewhere, or that the building has been in operation at 1/4th capacity for however long now?

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 11:30:10 pm     #  

Well with the underground parking thing, my thoughts are... for 700 employees, no way in hell is that one level. So it'll have to be a deck. Which means it can't really be much of a "park" once that's all said and done. Unless they have a plan for auxiliary parking somewhere else that wasn't mentioned in the article.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 04, 2014 at 11:32:17 pm     #  

just catching up
this is HUUUUUUUUUGE for downtown
unbelievable

posted by upso on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:45:33 am     #  

Nice win for downtown.

posted by oldhometown on Feb 05, 2014 at 03:38:04 am     #  

Or, there's a piece of property on the other side of the river and they can build what they want or need. I think some Chinese investors own it.

posted by marving on Feb 05, 2014 at 04:18:04 am     #   1 person liked this

Great news all around. Only concern I have would be permitting a parking structure east of Summit, but other than that this is great news.

Does anyone have any figures on what Class A space availability looks like downtown? Typically once you can get these projects rolling others will start to follow.

posted by JustaSooner on Feb 05, 2014 at 05:44:54 am     #  

^ This. Especially vendors to ProMarketa. They'll want to be near the mothership.

There are some big chunks available in One Seagate for 18-19 bucks a sq foot. Maximum contiguous is 125,000. Not sure the total available. The problem for a company like ProMarketa is that there is already a name on the side.

In that same block, Four Seagate has some space, but they have special tenants and wouldn't take just anybody, I imagine.

There is some space in the Edison Bldg, if I recall. The river side has some pretty views.

Maybe we can finally get momentum with the Fiberglas Tower as a fallout from the movement down there.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 06:49:56 am     #  

I'd like to be the first one to predict the renaming of Promenade Park to "ProMedica Park." You know it's coming.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:22:22 am     #   4 people liked this

The parking structure that will inevitably block the view of the waterfront from Summit is a terrible idea. There's plenty of available parking in the fiberglass garage, as well as Port Lawrence. The city would be better off creating underground access to these garages versus essentially destroying prime waterfront land with another garage.

That said, I'm glad to see another large company moving downtown and rehabbing an architecturally significant property. This is a good trend for downtown.

posted by Brewster on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:34:50 am     #   2 people liked this

After reading the article in the Blade today, this gives me one of those "I'll believe it when I see it" feelings. 2016 as a start date? A lot can happen between now and then.

posted by dell_diva on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:37:49 am     #  

From the Blade article, "Mr. Oostra said an underground parking structure is envisioned in the expanded portion of Promenade Park, adjacent to Summit Street on the site of the former downtown Federal Building. He said the garage would be landscaped to blend in with the riverfront park and provide parking for people coming downtown for riverfront entertainment and festivals."

dell_diva - ProMedica doesn't release information unless something is actually going to happen. IMO this is already in the works and will become a reality. But the Steam Plant curse is strong so who really knows?

posted by idinspired on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:42:07 am     #  

Johio83 posted at 10:30:10 PM on Feb 04, 2014:

I'm confused about the Key Bank building's involvement in this. It says in the article that Promedica will take three of the floors, with Key retaining one floor. So... does that mean Key is moving three floors' worth of people elsewhere, or that the building has been in operation at 1/4th capacity for however long now?

They haven't been at capacity for a while now. They no longer have a branch there and the investment operations (before Key spun it off) were moved out of that building when I worked there over 10 years ago.

I know Toledo Edison/First Energy is in 300 Madison Ave now, but I thought they were in 3 Seagate at one point in time as well.

posted by clt212 on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:42:39 am     #  

If I'm the Eydes, I'm busting my ass right now to make this Marriott-partnered renovation to the Fiberglas happen as soon as humanly possible. To not only have a high quality hotel right across the street, but fill the other 15 or so floors with upscale apartments... I would have to imagine that would be a case of "if you build it, they will come." Or in this instance, "if you offer nice apartments, they're going to rent them." That's just a lot less poetic.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:52:47 am     #   2 people liked this

As long as there is no above ground parking structure built on the Promenade Park site, I'm all for it. Promedica, Joe's Nuts and Bolts or Aunt Fanny's Waterproof Fanny Packs - who cares?

Getting 700 more employed butts downtown is outstanding news to me.

posted by Foodie on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:56:09 am     #   5 people liked this

This is a great move for Toledo and I'm really excited for it.

I don't have a big issue with the underground parking where the federal building used to be. That's not a river front property and it's been a dead area ever since the ugliest building in downtown was torn down. If the planners can get creative with what goes on top of the parking, I'll be all for it.

Put me in the camp to move COSI (or whatever it's called) out of Portside. Aside from my stance against it because of how they weaseled their way into tax money, that's valuable property. Put COSI in any one of the other empty downtown properties and get a food market and other essential retail spots (pharmacy, regular clothing store, etc. instead of exclusive specialty stores like the old Portside) in there.

The last thing that I'm hoping for is a revival of events in Promenade Park. As part of the agreement with the city for the tax breaks and other incentives, Promedica should be the title sponsor of a new Rally by the River series every two weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That would be a good step in infusing private money into the events and getting people downtown. Also, with the food truck craze, they can just open Water Street as a food truck row and not have to worry about paying food vendors.

posted by clt212 on Feb 05, 2014 at 10:57:55 am     #   5 people liked this

clt212, all excellent ideas!

I'm thrilled someone wants to use the steam plant, and as a downtown cubicle dweller, my first thought was that there will have to be new lunch places opening around here!

I do have to say that I'm concerned about the parking structure. I hate the idea of parking along the river, but if they can really do an underground garage, I'm all for it.

posted by Anniecski on Feb 05, 2014 at 11:29:11 am     #   1 person liked this

Too add to my statement that I call BS on the whole "underground parking" idea, unless there's another chunk of parking somewhere that they haven't discussed... I don't remember the exact number on it, but isn't the Fiberglas Tower's parking garage a 500 car capacity? So if they're looking to house 700, it's going to have to be a structure 40% larger than that one, so almost one and a half times that size. ie, no way they're putting all of that underground, especially next to a river in Toledo. (Serious water table issues)

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 11:46:04 am     #   3 people liked this

I know it'll never happen, but as the "leading health care provider" in our region couldn't they set a good example and make the employees walk a few blocks from a parking garage to work, perhaps call it part of their employee wellness program? Does the garage have to be right next door?

posted by bam2 on Feb 05, 2014 at 11:54:06 am     #   2 people liked this

There are obviously a ton of hurdles what with the brownfield issues involved here, but I would love to see COSI relocate to the properties on the other side of the Zoo's main parking lot on the trail. Come to some kind of parking partnership, and have the Zoo on one side, a science museum on the other.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 11:57:35 am     #   1 person liked this

bam2 posted at 10:54:06 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

I know it'll never happen, but as the "leading health care provider" in our region couldn't they set a good example and make the employees walk a few blocks from a parking garage to work, perhaps call it part of their employee wellness program? Does the garage have to be right next door?

Yeah, that's smart. On a day like today, you really expect 700 employees to walk a few blocks? You're just asking for a lot of injuries and insurance claims.

posted by dell_diva on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:01:09 pm     #  

Because all of the Seagate expansion of downtown was interconnected by bridges and tunnels. As it stands right now, you can pretty much get from Cherry Street to at least Madison, (and possibly Jefferson, can't remember if there's an extension for the Fiberglass Tower) without ever having to step foot outside.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:08:52 pm     #   4 people liked this

There is certainly no silver bullet or lone cure for downtown, but this is about as big of a single event as their could be. Hopefully the synergy that comes from having a large number of employees in proximity will start that snowball of continued growth. Now more residences will be built, more restaurants for the increased number of mouths downtown, and as one of the articles suggested, improved public transportation through the area. Those improvements will encourage other companies to move into the area and take advantage of them, which will cause a need for more apartments and restaurants, etc etc etc.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:16:05 pm     #   2 people liked this

I'm certain that Promedica will include its own eating facility(ies) in its complex.

posted by Starr15 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:16:56 pm     #  

Johio83 posted at 10:46:04 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

Too add to my statement that I call BS on the whole "underground parking" idea, unless there's another chunk of parking somewhere that they haven't discussed... I don't remember the exact number on it, but isn't the Fiberglas Tower's parking garage a 500 car capacity? So if they're looking to house 700, it's going to have to be a structure 40% larger than that one, so almost one and a half times that size. ie, no way they're putting all of that underground, especially next to a river in Toledo. (Serious water table issues)

Is it going to be 700 spaces? I agree that would be quite big undertaking for an underground facility in that location. But what about an underground facility to supplement the parking near the Fiberglas Tower and other facilities on St. Clair and Superior? Could this new proposed parking facility just supplement the other downtown parking facilities? Also, I wonder if Promedica will take into account the number of employees could potentially walk or take public transportation after relocating in or near downtown.

posted by clt212 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:21:21 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'm not super clear on the parking code for a business, but 1.25 spaces provided per employee sticks in my head.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:29:20 pm     #  

I think that the Promedica move will help the existing downtown activities (Mud Hens, Walleye, Huntington Center concerts), but I think it's a stretch to say that this could support something like a revised Portside or Party in the Park. This is due to the "culture clash" of the professionals working at Promedica and the "I've fallen and I can't reach my beer" t-shirt crowd that downtown Toledo events have been overwhelmed by since the 80s.

The last downtown Toledo special event I attended was a Rib-Off several years ago. Among the "highlights" was walking by a dirty diaper that someone had discarded on the ground. I took a look around thinking "Who would do something like this" and I decided that most of the people I saw could have fit the bill.

posted by Starr15 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:31:42 pm     #   1 person liked this

Even if Promedica does in-house dining, I will bet my tax refund (assuming there is one) that every one of the 700 employees will go off property for lunch or dinner in downtown to at least some degree of regularity, be it once a week or once a month.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:34:20 pm     #   2 people liked this

"Also, I wonder if Promedica will take into account the number of employees could potentially walk or take public transportation after relocating in or near downtown"

Or, take TARTA from existing/expanded parking facilities to their new digs................

posted by Foodie on Feb 05, 2014 at 12:49:09 pm     #  

Johio83 posted at 11:34:20 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

Even if Promedica does in-house dining, I will bet my tax refund (assuming there is one) that every one of the 700 employees will go off property for lunch or dinner in downtown to at least some degree of regularity, be it once a week or once a month.

It's likely they will do their own food service. It is a current "competency."

For certain people will go out. A lot. The average salary is among the best in the region.

Having worked in hospitals, you ate there when you had to ("ok, I have like 10 minutes before my next meeting") but not when you had the time or reason to get away.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 01:28:45 pm     #   1 person liked this

ok... so for 20 years or more there has been a concerted effort to get the city and companies to build parking garages rather than take advantage of the low prices and buying buildings, demoing them and putting up surface parking lots. the proliferation of surface lots and the corresponding loss of historic beautifil buildings has been the biggest detriment to the CBD and adjacent urban neighborhoods.

this project, evenif it goes above grade is, is a parking garage... and the developers might be amenable to having ground level store front and the like.

additionally, the old federal building block is not the last street in the grid and blocking river front views for people driving by on summit street is not a priority... with that point of view, buildings on summit street block the view for buildings on st clair... and buildings on st clair block the view for buildings on superior.

the important thing is the re-energize and re-populate the downtown... given people a place tp park in order to easily access promenade park, businesses, portside, etc. the priority for views of the river must remain with people utilizing promenade park, not people walking or driving by on summit.

the re-use of the steam plant and additional densitity added by a parking garage from an urban planning point of view is a huge step forward for the downtown. if we can reconnect the grid and continue the progress on two way streets, it will continue to become more commercially viable and lead to a better quality of life.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 05, 2014 at 01:48:35 pm     #   2 people liked this

That's very true. I don't think anyone is taking a stance of "if you're building a garage at Promenade Park, then we don't want you here" or anything like that, but rather "we're glad you're coming here! Think there's any chance we can look elsewhere for your parking?"

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 01:58:38 pm     #   6 people liked this

clt212 posted at 09:57:55 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

This is a great move for Toledo and I'm really excited for it.

I don't have a big issue with the underground parking where the federal building used to be. That's not a river front property and it's been a dead area ever since the ugliest building in downtown was torn down. If the planners can get creative with what goes on top of the parking, I'll be all for it.

Put me in the camp to move COSI (or whatever it's called) out of Portside. Aside from my stance against it because of how they weaseled their way into tax money, that's valuable property. Put COSI in any one of the other empty downtown properties and get a food market and other essential retail spots (pharmacy, regular clothing store, etc. instead of exclusive specialty stores like the old Portside) in there.

The last thing that I'm hoping for is a revival of events in Promenade Park. As part of the agreement with the city for the tax breaks and other incentives, Promedica should be the title sponsor of a new Rally by the River series every two weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That would be a good step in infusing private money into the events and getting people downtown. Also, with the food truck craze, they can just open Water Street as a food truck row and not have to worry about paying food vendors.

Great ideas, but it sounds like paragraph 3 is the city extorting Promed. Toledo has a history of pushing business out of town by coming in with their hat in their hand a little too often.

Al Capone style of business management is what killed this town in the first place.

posted by dbw8906 on Feb 05, 2014 at 02:22:13 pm     #  

dell_diva posted at 11:01:09 AM on Feb 05, 2014:
bam2 posted at 10:54:06 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

I know it'll never happen, but as the "leading health care provider" in our region couldn't they set a good example and make the employees walk a few blocks from a parking garage to work, perhaps call it part of their employee wellness program? Does the garage have to be right next door?

Yeah, that's smart. On a day like today, you really expect 700 employees to walk a few blocks? You're just asking for a lot of injuries and insurance claims.

You do understand in these things call "cities", MILLIONS of people in the midwest walk several blocks without incident. Last I checked subway stations don't stop at everyone's house.

Silly statement

posted by dbw8906 on Feb 05, 2014 at 02:24:34 pm     #   8 people liked this

I'm hoping this big announcement makes it way to Fort Industry Square's out of state owners. Nows the perfect time to rethink that property... talk about a great opportunity for some more residential units.

I'm really looking forward to future announcements about this project. My mind is still kind of blown that Promedica is making this move.

posted by upso on Feb 05, 2014 at 02:33:15 pm     #  

dbw8906 posted at 01:22:13 PM on Feb 05, 2014:
clt212 posted at 09:57:55 AM on Feb 05, 2014:

This is a great move for Toledo and I'm really excited for it.

I don't have a big issue with the underground parking where the federal building used to be. That's not a river front property and it's been a dead area ever since the ugliest building in downtown was torn down. If the planners can get creative with what goes on top of the parking, I'll be all for it.

Put me in the camp to move COSI (or whatever it's called) out of Portside. Aside from my stance against it because of how they weaseled their way into tax money, that's valuable property. Put COSI in any one of the other empty downtown properties and get a food market and other essential retail spots (pharmacy, regular clothing store, etc. instead of exclusive specialty stores like the old Portside) in there.

The last thing that I'm hoping for is a revival of events in Promenade Park. As part of the agreement with the city for the tax breaks and other incentives, Promedica should be the title sponsor of a new Rally by the River series every two weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That would be a good step in infusing private money into the events and getting people downtown. Also, with the food truck craze, they can just open Water Street as a food truck row and not have to worry about paying food vendors.

Great ideas, but it sounds like paragraph 3 is the city extorting Promed. Toledo has a history of pushing business out of town by coming in with their hat in their hand a little too often.

Al Capone style of business management is what killed this town in the first place.

I read it as the timing and synergy may be right to influence mutually beneficial change. Maybe a win-win can be found. I don't think anybody was going into COSI with Tommy guns. Maybe ProMedica can put their name on that too. Maybe the Zoo.

ProMedica currently has approximately 500 people serving on a whole host of boards. Maybe somebody sits on the Imagination Station board too. Maybe there are needs to be met and compromises to be made? Hell of a heating bill down there. Lots of painted windows.... bad bus parking. What could they do with a fresh build-to-suit? Who knows.

However, the fact that they are currently taxpayer funded when they should be funded with private dollars does give the taxpayers some relevance to conversations about their future. Cost of feeding at the public trough.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 02:50:08 pm     #  

Corporate investment is something downtown has lacked for decades, and would be very helpful to have restored. Other cities around the country have corporations who proudly fund projects, parks, etc in their cities. It's like a pissing match to see who can do the most good for the community. The SeaGate project was a lot like that, with O-I being the banner carrier for a revitalized downtown. That ended when KKR bought them out and split the company into a bunch of pieces in the 80's, and corporate investment in downtown basically ended then.

That kind of civic pride is what made Toledo great a century ago. Where would we be today if Edward and Florence Libbey hadn't decided that it would be fun to collect priceless works of art from around the world and showcase them in a museum that was free to the public?

And since I'm already pretty far off topic, and some of the discussion has been about "wouldn't it be cool if this happened too?" I'll also throw in that I would love to see a running/bike path stretch from the front of One Seagate, down in front of Promenade Park, wrap in front of Owens Corning, and continue down to where the new metropark will be. There are paved paths for a large part of that area along the river already, so I don't think it would be that difficult to just link them together.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 03:02:15 pm     #   3 people liked this

My mind is still kind of blown that Promedica is making this move.

They ran out of independent hospitals to eat and have signs and green lights leftover? :D

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 03:15:21 pm     #  

Rejoice, rejoice! :-) Let me just be a buzzkill on the party-in-park suggestions. Reviving an outdoor concert/beerfest entertainment concept -- especially twice a month -- would NOT draw me downtown for those events. That scene was only fun for me when I was a teenager.

posted by viola on Feb 05, 2014 at 03:29:57 pm     #  

Live outdoor entertainment still works.

I wouldn't go see Edgar Winter again. But I would see Candy Dulfer or the Rippingtons.

The point begins to be not whether it would "draw" people downtown, but whether it would keep them there. If I worked downtown, and was already parked, I would stroll over to the park to see who I knew, and we would all be in business casual attire, and we wouldn't be watching Steppenwolf.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 03:54:51 pm     #  

"That scene was only fun for me when I was a teenager."
"The point begins to be not whether it would "draw" people downtown, but whether it would keep them there."

I'll merge these two ideas and say, a big benefit to their being frequent outdoor events around downtown (concerts, food festivals, whatever) is that it makes for a very appealing living environment to young people.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 04:00:04 pm     #   2 people liked this

Gah, I hate it when I do that. "...benefit to THERE being"

posted by Johio83 on Feb 05, 2014 at 04:00:46 pm     #  

Very good point, Johio. I forgot that an event could be a food festival or some other benefit, and that people staying after work in business casual gear are a whole different crowd.

One of the nicest urban discoveries I ever stumbled upon in another city was a blues festival taking place in a downtown plaza, with a small outdoor stage and compatible acts performing in restaurants around the perimeter of the gathering place. My friend and I made a quick decision to stay around and have dinner.

It was a very pleasant environment, with other options besides just standing around drinking beer and tinkling in porta-potties. You're right: these things can be done well and they can be a draw to the downtown district.

posted by viola on Feb 05, 2014 at 05:14:50 pm     #   1 person liked this

Let's just agree that you can pretty easily dictate the type of crowd you get based on the entertainment in question. Old throwback 104.7 music will get a certain demo, while upcoming touring acts may add a bit of credibility to the scene. Not to mention, food/ beer/ wine focused events.

posted by ahmahler on Feb 05, 2014 at 05:19:05 pm     #  

That scene was only fun for me when I was a teenager.

Was that you with the big hair and the acid wash jeans skirt?

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 07:30:00 pm     #  

Ha ha! That's STILL me! I haven't changed a bit.

posted by viola on Feb 05, 2014 at 07:34:24 pm     #  

Starr15 posted at 09:52:33 PM on Feb 04, 2014:

Wait a minute--I thought that Jim Jackson had already turned the Edison Plant into condos?!

Come to find out that basketballs are easier to handle than David Balls.

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 07:55:25 pm     #   2 people liked this

viola posted at 06:34:24 PM on Feb 05, 2014:

Ha ha! That's STILL me! I haven't changed a bit.

I loved your high top Reeboks and your swatch watch. :D

posted by justread on Feb 05, 2014 at 07:56:53 pm     #  

Wonder if they could add a few more floors to the Vistula garage?
Let the employees walk the underground route, that way they're protected in inclement weather.

posted by JeepMaker on Feb 07, 2014 at 10:35:07 am     #  

I don't know if it's possible to add floors onto a garage, or if it's all rated for a certain weight from the onset. If it can be done though, that would seem like a good solution for some of this. Or even just add a wing onto it, since about half of that chunk of land is just a surface lot anyway.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 07, 2014 at 10:50:57 am     #   1 person liked this

The more I think about all of this, the more I like some of the possibilities. Since the state is likely going to have to be involved, I think it could easily become an issue of "how do we make this parking garage an asset to everyone, not just Promedica?" In which case, it could have ground level commercial spaces along Summit for little cafes, shops, etc to move into, and the other side of it could focused on things that would cater to the remaining chunk of Promenade Park (assuming this is just the old Federal building lot that is being discussed). Then the upper floors can be the parking for Promedica.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 07, 2014 at 10:54:05 am     #   1 person liked this

http://greatergreater.com/images/201204/260039-3.jpg

Something like that, for instance. It could complete the streetscape down Summit, to connect everything from One Seagate to Ft Industry Square. And at the same time, the opposite side could be utilized in some way to take advantage of the river view, as well as the park. Heck, maybe even open that side up as cafe/patio seating for a restaurant or two.

I may be getting ahead of myself with this! Point being, if the parking garage is more than just a place to park cars, I'll be all for it.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 07, 2014 at 11:02:15 am     #  

Feb 6, 2014 - Toledo Blade - Garage identified as key piece to Steam Plant plan

ProMedica sees the parking garage as a key piece toward moving the project forward.

State Rep. Mike Sheehy (D., Oregon) said he would support getting money for a parking garage, but warned that it would not be easy.

“I think they have things to work through with the parking garage issue but it will be underground and they will enhance Promenade Park even more,” [Councilman Rob Ludeman] said.

posted by jr on Feb 07, 2014 at 11:25:14 am     #  

I'm not sure if you're highlighting the fact that they said parking will be key, or that it will be underground. But the underground thing is bunk, as I've been trying to stress. No way, no how, 700 cars can't fit underground in the space they're discussing. If the underground thing does happen, it'll only be a small piece of the parking puzzle.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 07, 2014 at 11:44:46 am     #  

ProMedica sees the parking garage as a key piece toward moving the project forward.

Whether the garage is underground, above ground, floating on the river, or floating in the air, it appears that a new garage is a major requirement for the plan to occur.

Feb 7 Blade story

The Collins administration is working with other entities, including the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and state, on incentives for the hospital operator, Mr. Sapara said. It could include financial assistance to build an underground garage at Promenade Park on the former Federal Building site.

Councilman Jack Ford offers advice, regarding incentives and negotiating with ProMedica:

"I imagine the city will be asked to do some things with respect to streets and so forth, but [ProMedica], frankly, next to the university, are the biggest institutional economic center in northwest Ohio."

"They have huge amounts of money coming into their profit centers so we should not be leaned on to make this happen."

"I hope you are prepared to negotiate at arm’s length and be firm. ProMedica is a big outfit."

posted by jr on Feb 07, 2014 at 12:01:53 pm     #  

I sure hope this doesn't end up with the destruction of Promenade Park.

posted by MIJeff on Feb 07, 2014 at 12:18:31 pm     #  

There's plenty of options for parking without having to ruin the renovation of Promenade Park. The Fiberglass Tower garage could be torn down and rebuit, the site where the old United Way building was could fit one, the parking lot on water street could be converted into a garage, or why not just demolish the former Hotel Seagate and build one there.

posted by Walleye419 on Feb 07, 2014 at 12:44:48 pm     #   4 people liked this

Johio83 posted at 10:02:15 AM on Feb 07, 2014:

http://greatergreater.com/images/201204/260039-3.jpg

Something like that, for instance. It could complete the streetscape down Summit, to connect everything from One Seagate to Ft Industry Square. And at the same time, the opposite side could be utilized in some way to take advantage of the river view, as well as the park. Heck, maybe even open that side up as cafe/patio seating for a restaurant or two.

I may be getting ahead of myself with this! Point being, if the parking garage is more than just a place to park cars, I'll be all for it.

I know this sounds like throwing a cold balankey on the whole deal but I would like to see the area prop itself up for a bit before we flood it with retail that it might not need and we end up with vacant properties that are nothing but new blight.

American cities in general have this problem as we do not let the current business meet capacity be met before we start slapping fuddruckers or a CVS in every square inch of retail space only to canalize current business. It's not really "adding" jobs most of the time, just shifting them from one place to another.

posted by dbw8906 on Feb 07, 2014 at 02:01:11 pm     #   1 person liked this

I'm all for more retail downtown but I agree that there is no need to construct new storefronts. The parking garage across from Promenade Park currently has an entirely empty first floor of retail space; not to mention Fort Industry Square next door to the park. There are some great options available when the foot traffic increases enough to sustain new retail business.

posted by idinspired on Feb 07, 2014 at 02:37:16 pm     #  

johio... i have spent a lot of time in that neighborhood.... hate to tell you but that orvis store in clarendon is the most over-priced piece of snobbey tackle store in the world... but i get your larger point

parking garages are often designed now to accommodate the future conversion of the first floor into storefront if needed... flex space.

dbw... the "flooding of retail" thing is so difficult to balance. as soon as national chains see an opportunity, that is to say the financial numbers make sense, they come in with deadly force. the city and plan commission must be prepared to not compromise and favor these ventures by waving requirements in urban design and architectural design... this is how the crappy little mcdonalds building got built downtown!! we raised a stink in opposition to it at the time but politicians would take whatever they could get at that time.

but more to your actual point i think, yes, the city has long done "economic development" by funding projects such as restaurants and big box stores which is a zero sum shell game in regards to actual economic benefit

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 07, 2014 at 03:01:41 pm     #   1 person liked this

Anyone know who got this deal rolling in regards to city leaders? Seems to me something like this would have been in the works for quite some time before Promedica would go public with it. I guess what I'm getting at, is this a Mike Bell deal? I can't shake the feeling he was involved, I don't know, maybe I'm wrong.

posted by hunkytownsausage on Feb 07, 2014 at 04:53:00 pm     #  

the city and plan commission must be prepared to not compromise and favor these ventures by waving requirements...

This is Toledo. They won't compromise; they'll capitulate and offer up their own children as a fitting sacrifice. Then they'll start taking credit for all the good work they've been doing, as if City Council actually owns the company and is distributing the jobs to loyal voters.

posted by madjack on Feb 07, 2014 at 06:22:50 pm     #   4 people liked this

Cold Balankey DBW: __ It's not really "adding" jobs most of the time, just shifting them from one place to another.__

Yup. However, expect it to remain in the headlines regardless.

posted by 6th_Floor on Feb 07, 2014 at 07:07:54 pm     #   2 people liked this

Same with OI moving out of downtown, and there was obviously a significant economic impact felt in downtown from that. So why shouldn't the city be allowed to be happy when the opposite happens?

posted by Johio83 on Feb 07, 2014 at 07:22:04 pm     #  

6th_Floor posted at 06:07:54 PM on Feb 07, 2014:

Cold Balankey DBW: __ It's not really "adding" jobs most of the time, just shifting them from one place to another.__

Yup. However, expect it to remain in the headlines regardless.

I heard ProMedica was closing up on Richards. Yep, another one bites the dust.

posted by justread on Feb 07, 2014 at 07:57:04 pm     #   2 people liked this

Am I excited? Sure. It will be great to see the steam plant reinvigorated.

However at a $40 million price tag, is it really worth that much for ProMedica to consolidate all of their offices in one area? Also, why downtown? Seems to me that frankly it (consolidation) could be done cheaper somewhere else. Why not Southwyck?

My accounting background makes me want to put the brakes on this "deal" if I had anything to say about it, which I obviously don't.

posted by Dappling2 on Feb 09, 2014 at 04:32:01 pm     #   1 person liked this

I have seen a lot of shows in a lot of outdoor venues, but the coolest one was Little Feat on top of a huge parking garage in downtown Pontiac. I think this is it but it didn't have seats or a roof ...... http://www.thecrofoot.com/banquets/phoenix.html

Build the parking garage as high as you want, we have always needed it, and put the park on top.

posted by nana on Feb 09, 2014 at 05:04:44 pm     #   1 person liked this

Dappling2 posted at 03:32:01 PM on Feb 09, 2014:

Am I excited? Sure. It will be great to see the steam plant reinvigorated.

However at a $40 million price tag, is it really worth that much for ProMedica to consolidate all of their offices in one area? Also, why downtown? Seems to me that frankly it (consolidation) could be done cheaper somewhere else. Why not Southwyck?

My accounting background makes me want to put the brakes on this "deal" if I had anything to say about it, which I obviously don't.

Come back with a marketing background and it will make more sense. It's about the marquee, baby. Brandraising. ProMedica is nothing if not ProMarketa.

The big ass signs at Fifth Third field weren't enough. And Huntington snagged the arena.
Viola... the Key Bank sign comes down on the waterfront and the park gets renamed ProMedica Park.
Add "saviour of downtown."
Sold.

posted by justread on Feb 09, 2014 at 05:51:27 pm     #  

It's about more than marketing - there are large hidden costs that happen when your operation would work best from a centralized physical location but is currently spread. 40 million could be recouped in not too many years given efficiencies found from localization.

IE: internet connectivity / VPN / MPLS maintenance alone - when you cut that out, you're saving a LOT of cash. Sure, you might need a ton of bandwidth at one location, but you're not blowing money down the drain on all the infrastructure to handle a disparate network.

Shit, just the technology savings alone might provide a decent ROI.

posted by endcycle on Feb 09, 2014 at 06:16:44 pm     #   2 people liked this

No doubt.

But the question of "why there?"

Brandraising

posted by justread on Feb 09, 2014 at 07:09:26 pm     #  

No shame in brand raising if it's a positive contribution first and foremost. No matter the eventual PR, promedica deserves it. 40 million is a lot of money. They are the type of leaders we need to make this city great.

posted by ahmahler on Feb 09, 2014 at 09:00:13 pm     #  

ProMedica is a marketing company with a health care sideline.

Doesn't mean this isn't good for downtown. :D

posted by justread on Feb 09, 2014 at 09:10:06 pm     #  

This could be just what the doctor ordered for the downtown area. Could be the spur for more development, but every project is tied to state, tax or historical credits. If it goes through to reality, I like it A LOT

posted by Hoops on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:01:21 am     #  

They may as well change the name of the city to Promedica Ohio, they own half the town. lol

posted by JeepMaker on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:40:55 am     #  

Feb 10 Blade column

Mr. Oostra [ProMedica CEO] didn't want his headquarters in a skyscraper, but in a place where different departments and disciplines would interact.

He imagines a parking garage that would be underground but rise one level above the ground and give access to the river on one end, while being fronted by small retail shops on the other.

“We wouldn't do that,” he said, but some other entity with expertise will step up. He added that ProMedica still has a lot of collaborative work to do. But he leaves no doubt that the parking riddle can be worked out.

posted by jr on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:02:49 pm     #   1 person liked this

nana posted at 04:04:44 PM on Feb 09, 2014:

I have seen a lot of shows in a lot of outdoor venues, but the coolest one was Little Feat on top of a huge parking garage in downtown Pontiac. I think this is it but it didn't have seats or a roof ...... http://www.thecrofoot.com/banquets/phoenix.html

Build the parking garage as high as you want, we have always needed it, and put the park on top.

*** THREAD HIJACK ***

Phoenix Plaza amphitheater is what you are looking for. Fractured my orbital bone there in the pit while the Dropkick Murphys were playing their set during the 99 Warped Tour.

posted by dbw8906 on Feb 12, 2014 at 02:56:46 pm     #   1 person liked this

Yep. Saw a few very cool shows there. Amazing venue- love the concept. Would be great in Toledo, too.

posted by endcycle on Feb 13, 2014 at 11:18:10 am     #   1 person liked this

I saw the Brian Setzer Orchestra there years ago. I thought I was getting dizzy until a friend pointed out that the parking garage roof was actually bouncing from all the people dancing.

posted by Anniecski on Feb 13, 2014 at 12:05:32 pm     #   1 person liked this

If they move 700 jobs downtown and a bunch of those folks decide to live downtown, do they really need a lot of parking? Isn't there some space around the steam plant they could pave over for parking for those not walking to work?

posted by MIJeff on Feb 14, 2014 at 08:34:37 pm     #  

700 spots is roughly two city blocks of space.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 14, 2014 at 09:52:29 pm     #  

"and a bunch of those folks decide to live downtown"

Yeah, a bunch of high paid administrators with kids are gonna sell their house in Sylvania or Perrysburg and move downtown.

LOL. I needed that. :D

posted by justread on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:00:53 pm     #   4 people liked this

Yes, because of the 700, they're all nuclear families with two kids and a dog, in a suburban home. Its a fact that Promedica refuses to employ single young professionals, or anyone who doesn't want a quarter acre yard for that matter.

posted by Johio83 on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:15:20 pm     #   3 people liked this

If even 50 decide to find a loft downtown it would have to improve the downtown situation wouldn't it?

posted by MIJeff on Feb 15, 2014 at 02:18:43 am     #  

What about the big garage across the street on Summit? Are all those spots spoken for? And what about carpooling? Will each employee be driving his or her own vehicle?

posted by mixman on Feb 15, 2014 at 04:36:30 am     #  

The Summit Street lot is likely being saved for potential Fiberglass Tower tenants.
I suggest working with the owner of Fort Industry Square to construct a parking garage over the existing surface lot. No destruction of view (at least not too much), and it would be less expensive than an underground lot.

posted by Brewster on Feb 15, 2014 at 09:44:37 am     #   1 person liked this

MIJeff posted at 01:18:43 AM on Feb 15, 2014:

If even 50 decide to find a loft downtown it would have to improve the downtown situation wouldn't it?

Yes. And 50-70 is probably a better guess at how many young hipsters we are talking about as the number of administrative employees at ProMedica who are looking to make a housing move over this.

Then factor for OI. When they asked their employees where they lived, and where they should be located. Dammed if the majority of them already lived in P Burg.

Imagine that you have been working at ProMedica for a while (they get entrenched) and you have been earning more than $85,000 for a while, maybe more than $100,000. It is likely that you have made a move on housing, and it is likely not in an area from which you will need an "upgrade."

Some will find it interesting or cool to become the New Urban Hip. Most will find it cool enough from 9-5.

Still.... good for downtown either way.

But you dam better have parking for them, and they ain't gonna add carpooling to their to-do list.

posted by justread on Feb 15, 2014 at 09:56:02 am     #   1 person liked this

The biggest single impact from this will be commercial real estate and lunch. Foccacia's is gonna be swamped. Vendors to P/M will want to be nearby.

They will be seen on the streets during the day. This isn't going to become Times Square at midnight.

Still.... good for downtown.

And whomever sells green lights in bulk.

posted by justread on Feb 15, 2014 at 09:59:26 am     #   3 people liked this

http://www.toledonewsnow.com/story/25105631/collins-promedica-move-could-mean-parking-garage-at-promenade-park

Aaaaaaand there it is. As some of us had been saying all along, all this talk of "oh, it'll just be an underground lot" was a bunch of fluff. A week of high school physics was all it took to see that there was no possible way there were going to be 700 cars fitting under the grass at Promenade Park, and they clearly knew this all along. It's the old "No way, we'll never do that, we promise. ... We may have to think about doing that. ... We're definitely doing that."

posted by Johio83 on Mar 31, 2014 at 10:49:14 am     #   2 people liked this

Betty Mauk is rolling in her grave.

https://www.toledoblade.com/Deaths/2012/06/27/Betty-Mauk-1918-2012-Advocate-for-riverfront-gave-it-touch-of-France.html

posted by Molsonator on Mar 31, 2014 at 11:40:04 am     #   1 person liked this

That is garbage and Collins is a fool if he lets them do it. Last thing Toledo needs is to turn their riverfront into another parking lot.

If Promedica wants waterfront HQ with parking, go build on the Chinese Marina.

posted by toledoramblingman on Mar 31, 2014 at 11:41:35 am     #   2 people liked this

Gee, imagine that, another lying politician. In Toledo of all places. Who'd have thunk it??

posted by Foodie on Mar 31, 2014 at 01:10:05 pm     #   7 people liked this

Unexpected? No. However, I can't imagine that the garage by the Fiberglas Tower is completely full. If anything, tear it down and put in a new garage. At some point development will get back to the core...it might still be a good 10 years away...but land must be available.

posted by JustaSooner on Mar 31, 2014 at 01:42:20 pm     #   1 person liked this

JustaSooner posted at 01:42:20 PM on Mar 31, 2014:

Unexpected? No. However, I can't imagine that the garage by the Fiberglas Tower is completely full. If anything, tear it down and put in a new garage. At some point development will get back to the core...it might still be a good 10 years away...but land must be available.

I don't understand why they can do a small underground garage and add-on to or rebuild the garage Sooner mentions. That would make much more sense than building a new garage on the riverfront.

posted by clt212 on Mar 31, 2014 at 02:10:03 pm     #  

Is the Vistula Garage full during the weekdays?

posted by Foodie on Mar 31, 2014 at 02:26:29 pm     #  

toledoramblingman posted at 11:41:35 AM on Mar 31, 2014:

That is garbage and Collins is a fool if he lets them do it. Last thing Toledo needs is to turn their riverfront into another parking lot.

If Promedica wants waterfront HQ with parking, go build on the Chinese Marina.

Hello, that is still the riverfront ya goofball!

posted by SherryET on Mar 31, 2014 at 08:52:31 pm     #   1 person liked this

lol

posted by upso on Mar 31, 2014 at 09:30:02 pm     #  

Maybe the master plan is to move "the riverfront" past Fort Industry? Therefore PP isn't that big of a concern?

Just tossing it out there....

posted by oldhometown on Mar 31, 2014 at 10:15:02 pm     #