Toledo Talk

Westgate expansion 2014

This is pretty epic.

http://www.toledoblade.com/Retail/2014/02/22/Owners-aim-to-upgrade-Westgate-shopping-site.html

From the blade article:

“If everything goes according to plans, as we hope will be the case, we should start working on construction this summer, and those businesses will be open by Thanksgiving Day,”

The proposal calls for demolishing Arnie’s Again Bar and Grill and El Nuevo Vallarta restaurant to make way for a 25,000-square-foot development in three buildings that will include a mix of retail, restaurants, and offices, she said.

“At the end of the day, it is probably going to be about a $7 million to $10 million project, but it is hard to know the exact costs,”

created by upso on Feb 22, 2014 at 03:07:55 pm     Business     Comments: 59

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Comments ... #

I am excited to see what this brings, but also very concerned for the epic traffic backups it's going to bring to that already VERY BUSY intersection! Combined with the new hotel going in on Secor... YOWZA! You thought QQ was already too busy of a restaurant! ;)

posted by upso on Feb 22, 2014 at 03:09:43 pm     #  

This is great! That area has looked shabby for quite some time. Too bad it doesn't include demolishing that disgusting Original Pancake (yuck)!

posted by Starr15 on Feb 22, 2014 at 03:47:24 pm     #  

Emphasis on epic traffic backup and permanent gridlock, thank you very much Toledo Planning Division - or whatever the fuckup factory is called these days.

As for the Original Pancake, I heard the health department was going to take care of them. You heard anything like that, Upso?

posted by madjack on Feb 22, 2014 at 04:13:57 pm     #  

No! I'm kind of surprised with that new kitchen. Didn't they have to replace basically everything after the fire?

posted by upso on Feb 22, 2014 at 04:25:49 pm     #  

Hey, wasn't there once a Ponderosa in the same parking lot as Arnie's?

:)

posted by justread on Feb 22, 2014 at 04:38:51 pm     #  

Yep, this is going to be big. The spouse tells me that a Jamba Juice is going in at the Westgate strip alongside Starbucks/ 5 Guys/Chipotle. (There was a specialty ice cream place that didn't make it, leaving a vacant storefront in the strip).

I look forward to more modernization of the Westgate area. It could be the closest we get to the kinds of retail development zones I see outside of Cleveland and Columbus. Now THAT'S a traffic nightmare for you!

posted by viola on Feb 22, 2014 at 05:18:20 pm     #   1 person liked this

Damnit, just read I thought I made myself quite clear on a previous thread:)

Seriously, I am excited to see how this turns out. It's sad to hear that Arnies is going away. First Rocky's and now this? As long as they don't plop down another unneeded Rite Aid in the middle of the development it should be an improvement.

posted by nick44 on Feb 22, 2014 at 05:36:40 pm     #  

Couldn't help it. :)

posted by justread on Feb 22, 2014 at 06:07:32 pm     #  

upso posted at 03:25:49 PM on Feb 22, 2014:

No! I'm kind of surprised with that new kitchen. Didn't they have to replace basically everything after the fire?

I really don't know. I'm just repeating what I've heard from a few people who claim to be in the know. Of course, it just be an ugly rumor. I just thought you might have heard something is all.

posted by madjack on Feb 22, 2014 at 07:01:15 pm     #  

I can't believe they are talking about razing Arnie's. Does anyone care that it's practically a local landmark? Open over 30 years, one of the nicest bars in town. I am starting to notice an unappealing trend here of bulldozing iconic restaurants, bars, theaters, and entertainment venues all for new pharmacies, generic strip malls and crap like that. Hey city council, how about some kind of ordinance that puts a hold on demolishing "value businesses"? You know, like places that have character, a little history, and can be considered an asset to the local scene. It's those kinds of things that make our city different from anytown, usa.

posted by mixman on Feb 22, 2014 at 08:20:51 pm     #  

mixman posted at 07:20:51 PM on Feb 22, 2014:

I can't believe they are talking about razing Arnie's. Does anyone care that it's practically a local landmark? Open over 30 years, one of the nicest bars in town. I am starting to notice an unappealing trend here of bulldozing iconic restaurants, bars, theaters, and entertainment venues all for new pharmacies, generic strip malls and crap like that. Hey city council, how about some kind of ordinance that puts a hold on demolishing "value businesses"? You know, like places that have character, a little history, and can be considered an asset to the local scene. It's those kinds of things that make our city different from anytown, usa.

Perhaps Arnie would have more strings to pull if he didn't offend "dear leaders" by being essentially the local pointman against the smoking ban in bars. No favors to pull...

So, a franchise or 10 will replace Arnies at that location. Truth be told, it's about time something was done with that side of Central Avenue...3/4 of that corner is nothing but a giant empty parking lot.

posted by oldhometown on Feb 22, 2014 at 08:27:44 pm     #  

I mean what is behind the corner. Obviously Original Pancake, Arnies, etc. are populating the street frontage. But those parking lots for Sears, Elder-Beerman, etc...what a waste of space.

posted by oldhometown on Feb 22, 2014 at 08:29:04 pm     #   1 person liked this

hopefully Sears is next for the wrecking ball

posted by justareviewer on Feb 22, 2014 at 08:51:00 pm     #   1 person liked this

Surprised Arnie would go away as it is a local institution. Maybe they'll rebuild nearby.

As for the Mexican restaurant, I say tear it down, call in an old priest and a young priest to exorcize the location, then salt the earth so that nothing may grow there ever again. I ate there once and it was the most disgusting meal I've ever had. The dish they served me looked, smelled, and tasted like vomit. Two bites and I was done. I'd rather eat anything from the old show Fear Factor than eat what this joint served me. I'd rather eat at Ipoh, a place that gave me food poisoning three times over the years than eat at this place. I didn't send it back and didn't ask for a replacement. It just wasn't worth it. The only word I'd use to describe my wife's meal is "edible." It didn't improve matters that our waitress was indifferent, not asking if our meals were okay or even commenting on my nearly untouched meal. I hope she was indifferent to her tip of a single penny (which I feel is more of a message than no tip at all).

posted by taliesin52 on Feb 23, 2014 at 05:06:47 am     #  

You're right taliesin - this place just never figured it out. I laughed really hard when they installed the outdoor area. Oh, let's all go to the crappy Mexican restaurant, sit outside and enjoy the sounds and choking smells of traffic! Especially on a Saturday night!

posted by Foodie on Feb 23, 2014 at 07:13:39 am     #  

Foodie, you're right about the patio. I wonder about it myself: lots of places around town hurried to build patio spaces (and this is independent of the outdoor-smoking regulations).

But they build out onto the sidewalk which is right up against parked cars, at best, or busy-road traffic, at worst. It's like they all got the same memo: "Oh, people, want to sit outdoors now" without understanding that it's trees and evergreen hedges and separation from real-world traffic that makes the patio experience enjoyable.

It's a shame, too, because some of the places built very substantial shelters without considering the drawbacks of their particular site.

posted by viola on Feb 23, 2014 at 10:26:26 am     #  

I agree about the waste space at Westgate, but for those of you who weren't around back then, in the '70s and even early '80s when The Lion Store was where Costco is now, Westgate was THE shopping destination, and those lots were FULL. At Christmas time they even had shuttle buses that ran between the two lots.
Bummer about the Mexican place. I've never been there but the owner was on the news last night saying they will be moving to the old Bikinis (formerly Dominic and Carlita's, among many other things). Was looking forward to something going in there as that is my neck of the woods. Instead it sounds like just another business caught in the revolving door!

posted by llz on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:30:09 am     #  

I'm a relative newcomer to town, but I understand that the old Colony shopping center at Central / Monroe (across from Toledo Hospital) was the first retail shopping center that was not downtown. The fur storage building is the only remnant of that busy (and apparently more opulent) time.

The spouse says there were excellent Jewish delis both east and west of that intersection. Since I've been in town, the area has been mostly pawnshops and vacancies. I think the whole Colony building was torn down last year.

Probably the rise of Westgate with its department-store splendors contributed to the demise ... it's ironic that apparently no one wants to build suburban department stores anymore. Sears and Elder(ly)-Beerman at Westgate are holdovers from a bygone era.

I'm sure those two stores pay either very low rent or taxes for the parcels they occupy. If those properties change hands in the near future, I foresee something like Target moving in. And maybe a home goods competitor to Bed Bath Beyond.

posted by viola on Feb 23, 2014 at 02:55:04 pm     #  

I am happy Westgate is moving up. It's a unique part of the city - kind of an unofficial downtown for the suburbs - yet still in the city.

The new project sounds interesting, but I am having trouble getting over Arnie's having to close for its sake. The bar renovated only about six years ago. I've been to a ton of Toledo bars, and this place has a one-of-a-kind atmosphere... dark, lots of wood, big U-shaped bar, nice staff and clientele, decent patio, good prices. I don't go there often, so there will probably be some people way more broken up about it than me. Hopefully, they can find a new home, although I have doubts the look and feel of the old place can be duplicated. Maybe I can get over there a few times before it's gone.

As for the department stores, Like Viola was saying, they are from a bygone era. They may be old, but I say they should stay. They may be Toledo's only remaining free-standing department stores from before 1970. They are monuments to retail history and have unique architecture. It is a small miracle they are still here and open - probably a testament to the stability of the surrounding neighborhoods. If a Target or other modern type of store wants them, there is little chance of preservation. Both Sears and Elder Beerman should do complete, top-to-bottom renovations to modernize the stores and have them blend in with the new Westgate. That way, the community could keep them, and we wouldn't have to settle for the bland, suburban cookie-cutter style retail that would likely replace them.

posted by mixman on Feb 23, 2014 at 11:53:26 pm     #  

I do miss the old Westgate though. Thackarys, Charlie's for gyros, even that little dive bar around back

posted by taliesin52 on Feb 24, 2014 at 12:33:19 am     #  

Not to mention Boogie Records at Westgate! Love Culture Clash but I still miss Boogie.

posted by MaryCooksalot on Feb 24, 2014 at 10:21:26 am     #   1 person liked this

taliesin52 posted at 11:33:19 PM on Feb 23, 2014:

I do miss the old Westgate though. Thackarys, Charlie's for gyros, even that little dive bar around back

The bar reopened a couple years ago next to culture clash! :) http://m.yelp.com/biz/rockys-bar-toledo

posted by upso on Feb 24, 2014 at 10:52:26 am     #  

It's funny (sad-funny) how the "new, revitalized" Westgate was supposed to be a pedestrian-friendly experience. The retail mix now, combined with the awful parking lot design, makes it anything BUT pedestrian-friendly. The old Westgate felt something like a city block - you cold walk outside, but still under the canopy, and go from store to store. Now, there's really not much there aside from Costco.

I personally love the old Sears store, and even E-B (they remind of when retail was still a human-scale experience), but I understand the imperative to update and modernize. But for that north section of Westgate, I don't trust the current owners to create anything remotely pleasant. The "new" Westgate has fewer trees and fewer opportunities to comfortably walk or bike there than the original layout from the 1950s.

posted by luvtoledo on Feb 24, 2014 at 11:54:57 am     #   5 people liked this

Arnie's hasn't been owned by Arnie in many years. A couple of guys bought the bar but kept the name because of its popularity.

I loved Arnie's back in the olden days when they had the second building with the big screen TVs. That building has since become storage for the Westgate property maintenance folks.

posted by Anniecski on Feb 24, 2014 at 12:24:07 pm     #  

there was a huge effort to make westgate more walkable... the university and local citizens gathered input and design ideas from many planning and design professionals, students, and area residents as well. the owners opted to ignore all of the input when they realized toledo politicians were desperate for ANY new development... so the owners merely did what was cost effective and profit maximizing for them. dont get me wrong... that is their role in the dance... it is up to city council to stand up for design standards and citizens quality of life... but they did not.

instead westgate became LESS walkable... they took away the traffic islands which protected pedestrians attempting to cross secor, they separated the site into 4 distinct buildings rather than grouping them... as mentioned before the canopy that covered the walkway before at least made it safe to park once and walk under the canopy to various stores. and the insane parking lot configuration out where the costco lot meets the fresh market lots defies all logic... and the starbucks drive through line and dumpsters at the corner of central and secor is tacky.

hopefully the new development can tie into the southern portion more artfully, safely, and rationally.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 24, 2014 at 03:31:16 pm     #   3 people liked this

^^^You are absolutely right.

posted by slowsol on Feb 24, 2014 at 03:48:49 pm     #  

^^^You are absolutely right.

posted by slowsol on Feb 24, 2014 at 03:48:50 pm     #  

It's easier to walk around than it is to drive around! I tend to park smack in the middle and walk to the various places and drop my purchases off at the car -- which takes less time than moving the car to 3 different stores with 5 different entrance/exit flows.

I stay on the painted crosswalks in front of Costco/Riteaid/Fresh Market and truthfully, I've never had a problem as a pedestrian. I do check to make sure the drivers bearing down on me aren't hunched over their phones, texting :-).

Also, the entire plaza is walkable in terms of having sidewalk access on both side (north and east). You can walk from Westgate into the surrounding neighborhoods on actual sidewalks.

posted by viola on Feb 24, 2014 at 04:08:23 pm     #  

I admit, I enjoy having both Sears and Elder-Beerman nearby, but I spend very little money in either store. Even if they were the prettiest stores on the planet, I wouldn't spend much time there. My mother and grandmother were heavy department-store users, partially because they had a lot of free time and a lot of kids to shop for. Times have changed.

posted by viola on Feb 24, 2014 at 04:11:28 pm     #  

viola... you are right and i intended to credit the development in the first place... the internal cross-walks were well done plus the sculptures and a seating area are nice

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 24, 2014 at 04:26:25 pm     #  

(Jan 2, 2006 message from the Westgate Neighbors about the plans for Westgate redevelopment)


The neighborhood group, Westgate Neighbors, has taken a position. They
could use support at their meeting on Sunday night, January 8 at 7:00.
(See details below). The meeting is open and surely the developers will
have the audience stacked with some of their supporters.

FOR $2.5 MILLION, TAXPAYERS DESERVE THE BEST AT WESTGATE !

Westgate Neighbors meeting
Sunday, January 8th, (not the 18th) 7:00pm
Hanmi Covenant Presbyterian Church
3225 Markway, corner of Secor and Markway

The purpose of this meeting is to empower everyone who wants to
support the position of Westgate Neighbors (see below).

We will provide specific, effective actions we can each take, so that
together we can have the greatest impact. Find out how you can help.

Together, We Can Get Our $2.5 Million Worth and Have the Best Possible
Westgate!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tax Abatements for Retail Development: Highly Unusual.
Want the Best for Your Tax Money at Westgate?
Lend your Support to Westgate Neighbors.

Our position is:

  • positive
  • reasonable
  • constructive
  • consistent

And mostly missed by the mainstream media.

Our requests to Mayor-elect Finkbeiner and City Council:

Any agreement between the City and the shopping center owners should
be consistent with Toledo's 20/20 Plan, and the Walk Westgate plan.
The viewpoint of those who are funding the $2.5 million payout to the
developers--we the taxpayers--should be the primary concern of our
Mayor and City Council.

In exchange for the $2.5 million of public financial support of a
proposed redevelopment of the Westgate Village Shopping Center, the
City of Toledo must require the following:

1. The granting to the City of a permanent North-South easement
(intersecting with Central) between Sears and Elder Beerman (on
property currently owned by the Westgate Village Shopping Center) for
the purpose of constructing a future public street. This easement
should align with the revised North-South private drive south of
Central.

2. Agreement to site all buildings (within the proposed Westgate
Village Shopping Center redevelopment plan) fronting up to public
streets.

3. Support for an area-wide overlay district/covenants to ensure high
standards with regards to building materials and site plans that are
consistent with the Walk Westgate Plan.

4. No gas station/fuel depot should be allowed on the shopping center
site.

5. There should not be any deviations granted from the City's Zoning
Code.

We also strongly recommend the City provide relocation assistance,
special consideration on City financing programs and incentives to the
locally owned businesses being displaced by this project, in similar
proportion to what is being given to the out of state shopping center
owners.

(copyright 2006, Westgate Neighbors)

posted by jr on Feb 24, 2014 at 04:34:00 pm     #  

is the "westgate neighbors" still an active group?

posted by upso on Feb 24, 2014 at 05:25:31 pm     #  

I see they lost out on point #4. I wonder if the new area north of Central is going to include a gas station ... I hope not.

posted by viola on Feb 24, 2014 at 06:26:05 pm     #  

i use to be on the westgate neighbors email list but have not heard from them in years... very nice group of people and as effective as any neighborhood group around here. the problem is of course neighborhood groups are volunteers and self-funded trying to influence projects that are brought by corporations that have paid attorneys and planners. robert brundage was a part of the group and it has probably been 5 years since he passed.

by the way upso... saw your poster up around the UT performing arts building

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 24, 2014 at 06:50:44 pm     #  

I can't remember it at the moment, but isn't the Sears building a late mid-century modern design? If so, it'll only be a few years until people begin to appreciate it again.
As others said, Westgate was THE west Toledo spot in the late 80's-early 90's. Hitting Barry's, Boogie, Thackeray's, and the Lion store on a lazy Saturday morning always lead to a weekend of fun.

posted by SavageFred on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:56:00 am     #  

The Barry / Boogie / Thackeray's combo is sorely missed

posted by upso on Feb 25, 2014 at 11:58:38 am     #  

Add Fanny May candies to that combo!

posted by JnJ on Feb 25, 2014 at 12:38:39 pm     #  

enjoyeverysandwich posted at 02:31:16 PM on Feb 24, 2014:

there was a huge effort to make westgate more walkable... the university and local citizens gathered input and design ideas from many planning and design professionals, students, and area residents as well. the owners opted to ignore all of the input when they realized toledo politicians were desperate for ANY new development... so the owners merely did what was cost effective and profit maximizing for them. dont get me wrong... that is their role in the dance... it is up to city council to stand up for design standards and citizens quality of life... but they did not.

instead westgate became LESS walkable... they took away the traffic islands which protected pedestrians attempting to cross secor, they separated the site into 4 distinct buildings rather than grouping them... as mentioned before the canopy that covered the walkway before at least made it safe to park once and walk under the canopy to various stores. and the insane parking lot configuration out where the costco lot meets the fresh market lots defies all logic... and the starbucks drive through line and dumpsters at the corner of central and secor is tacky.

hopefully the new development can tie into the southern portion more artfully, safely, and rationally.

Totally agree. The stores are fine, the parking is absolutely cuckoosville. There's gotta be three fender-bender's a day in those lots.

posted by McCaskey on Feb 25, 2014 at 01:24:06 pm     #   1 person liked this

it was a HUGE improvement when they put that stop sign in by rite aid. Holy crap that intersection was a nightmare before the install

posted by upso on Feb 25, 2014 at 01:43:23 pm     #  

I agree on the parking lot situation. It is a very poor layout.

posted by shamrock44 on Feb 25, 2014 at 02:42:40 pm     #  

The whole idea behind it was to keep traffic moving slowly through that parking lot, but I think they made the lanes much too narrow. It's a nightmare to move around in.

posted by Anniecski on Feb 25, 2014 at 02:46:38 pm     #  

Anniecski posted at 01:46:38 PM on Feb 25, 2014:

The whole idea behind it was to keep traffic moving slowly through that parking lot, but I think they made the lanes much too narrow. It's a nightmare to move around in.

Who was the genius that came up with that one?

posted by madjack on Feb 25, 2014 at 03:06:51 pm     #  

my best understanding is this.... costco actually bought the lot that they occupy.

the owners/developers of westgate are not a huge company, westgate is in fact their biggest investment. my best guess is that the westgate people didnt want to chance losing the costco part of the development because costco increased the value of the remaining property an incredible amount... therefore when costco submitted their site plan, westgate didnt want to complain and worked their plan around costco's... not totally successfully either, obviously. we tried to get changes to the site design recognizing some of the issues but to no avail.

i would imagine westgate must have another fairly strong draw retailer tentatively signed up coming into the north side of the development in order to be preceding at such a rapid clip... my hope would be trader joe's.

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Feb 25, 2014 at 03:37:20 pm     #   1 person liked this

"... my hope would be trader joe's

Oh boy! Another can of worms re-opened..................

posted by Foodie on Feb 25, 2014 at 05:14:14 pm     #   1 person liked this

Foodie posted at 04:14:14 PM on Feb 25, 2014:

"... my hope would be trader joe's

Oh boy! Another can of worms re-opened..................

...and, oh boy oh boy...I'll bet IKEA is salavating for that space where Elder Beerman and Sears are right now!!!! They can't wait to come to Toledo <pant pant pant>

Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog <woof!>

posted by oldhometown on Feb 25, 2014 at 05:34:34 pm     #   1 person liked this

They should put in a San Marcos when they rebuild.

posted by stooks on Feb 25, 2014 at 05:40:13 pm     #  

upso posted at 10:58:38 AM on Feb 25, 2014:

The Barry / Boogie / Thackeray's combo is sorely missed

No love for Shoetopia? :D

posted by justread on Feb 25, 2014 at 06:38:07 pm     #  

There is a sign in the window of the old Ritter's custards that Jamba Juice is coming soon. The same franchise owners of the Five Guys owned that, and I was sad to see Ritter's go. I loved their ice cream.

I hope Sears gets torn down. I would love to see a Trader Joes or Whole Foods in that area, but don't see either happening.

I hope the area can handle all the additional traffic

posted by classylady on Feb 26, 2014 at 01:00:12 am     #  

My boyfriend who has lived here his whole life told me there use to be a luggage store, a drug store, a bank (he thinks it was Huntington), a health food store, a Friendly's ice cream and a gay bar (he said the gay bar was called Westgate lounge and changed into a straight bar in the late 80s) there. I remember Lion's store (and miss it, like it a lot better than Dillard's) but don't remember those other businesses he mentioned.

posted by classylady on Feb 26, 2014 at 01:09:14 am     #  

Sears is the only store at Westgate that I ever shop.

posted by deere1 on Feb 26, 2014 at 09:32:14 am     #  

@classylady: Because remembering the past is what this site does best, lets try and list them all: Lanes (later a Rite Aid?), Huntington, Coach House Gifts/luggage/travel, AT&T store, Barry's, Thackeray's, shoe store?, Bassets Health Food, Video Connection, Salad Galley, SK Menswear, Westgate Dinner Theater, Lion, Fanny Mae, Port Royal tobacco shop, Charlies, Radio Shack, Friendly's...help me out here old-timers

posted by SavageFred on Feb 26, 2014 at 12:03:41 pm     #  

Where was the Jolly Trolley?

posted by MIJeff on Feb 26, 2014 at 01:22:08 pm     #  

The wine shop that moved out to Monroe St. near the Lincoln dealer; the cabinet hardware shop.........wasn't Central Travel in there for a while?

posted by Foodie on Feb 26, 2014 at 02:17:28 pm     #  

The Depot (luggage store & travel agency), Kresgke's (sp?)(like a Woolworth's), Smith's Cafeteria before it became Westgate Dinner Theater), Life uniforms, Mark Klaus. There was also a bridal shop in the "arcade". It was Fanny Farmer's (not Fanny Mae). Hallmark store, tuxedo shop (President or Russels?)
The Jolly Trolly was located over by where QQ's is now, next to a big Chinese restaurant I think was called Mark Pi's China Gate?

posted by llz on Feb 26, 2014 at 02:41:10 pm     #  

Petrie's clothing store, the Marianne shop, a store that sold sheet music and LP records -- not Boogie, but another place; Carroll Ochs jewelers, the Beefeater...

God, I'm old.

posted by Anniecski on Feb 26, 2014 at 02:49:53 pm     #  

"a gay bar (he said the gay bar was called Westgate lounge and changed into a straight bar in the late 80s)" Westgate Lounge was not a gay bar. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

posted by TrilbyGuy on Feb 27, 2014 at 07:13:44 pm     #   1 person liked this

There was a film developing place going back to the late 80s. Not sure when they closed but I remember using them back then. It was on the Thackery's wing, maybe about half way down.

posted by MrsArcher on Feb 27, 2014 at 08:15:49 pm     #  

"There was a film developing place going back to the late 80s." Blue Ribbon Photo?

posted by TrilbyGuy on Feb 27, 2014 at 10:03:38 pm     #  

The gay bar was The Open Closet and it was along the same stretch of Westgate where QQ Kitchen is located.

posted by Foodie on Feb 28, 2014 at 06:04:46 am     #