Tour to show off Warehouse District businessesWritten by Brandon Wray | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo’s Warehouse District wants you to take a look at how it is doing.
The Toledo Warehouse District Association is hosting its fourth annual Wander the Warehouse District, a tour of businesses, condos and town homes, shops and offices, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 7 in the St. Clair Village Downtown.
Those who call the district home want to show off their buildings and let the public know there is something special happening and growing in the area, said Kathy Steingraber, executive director of the Toledo Warehouse District Association.
Individuals and companies have done a remarkable job of turning, or returning, old, sometimes rundown buildings, into beautiful structures that house thriving businesses or make for comfortable and unique living spaces, she said.
There are more than 25 sites on the tour, including Historic St. Patrick’s Church, Swan Creek Candle Company, Packo’s at the Park, the Bronze Boar, the Toledo Free Press/Blarney Irish Pub building, Ahava Spa, Okun Produce, the Spaghetti Warehouse, Legends Sports Grille (formerly the Durty Bird) and Bartley Lofts.
Steingraber said district residents have recognized the buildings there offer the chance to take advantage of a “quality of workmanship that is not affordable anymore” but is architecturally sound and aesthetically breathtaking with just some effort and investment. Tour-takers will see that it’s all worth it immediately, she said.
“All one has to do is walk along and raise their eyes. They will see what we are talking about,” she said.
Beyond the visual sights, the district feels its success is proving that being down there is economically viable and practical, Steingraber said.
She said that there are low crime rates and high occupancy rates (95 percent in St. Clair Village). Many buildings are taking advantage of historic tax credits that allow them build equity without a tax burden for a number of years.
The association, comprised of the tenants of the district and headed by a board and Steingraber, feels the district is not yet a finished product, nor was it a trend of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
More and more development is happening, though there is a chance things may slow temporarily as the economy worsens, Steingraber said.
“Work continues; there is no slowdown,” she said.
Elizabeth Phillips, spokeswoman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, said the district, with its mix of retail, offices and residential, is keeping people in Downtown and the outlying area during the week, when there might not be a Mud Hens game and before the arena project is finished.
The city is always eager to help those wishing to renovate an older building and potentially secure tax credits or abatements and loans, she said.
“The Warehouse District is fully supported by the administration,” Phillips said. “The City of Toledo understands the economy presents a challenge. In light of that, it is interesting to note that numerous businesses have expanded in the Warehouse District.
“Within the last two years, several new or expanding businesses have moved into the Warehouse District area.”
According to Phillips, those businesses include:
- Legends Bar and Grill, keeping 20 jobs and capital investment of $975,000;
- Martin-Woods, adding 11 jobs and capital investment of $400,000;
- Fox Business Forms, five new jobs and capital investment of $200,000;
- Dreamscapes, five new jobs and capital investment of $250,000;
- Tony Packo’s added 45 jobs and capital investment of $375,000;
- Swan Creek Candle Co. added four jobs and $150,000 in capital investments.
“With the continued success of Fifth Third Field, as well as the construction of the new arena, the City of Toledo believes the trend for the Warehouse District will continue to be positive,” Phillips said.
The cost for Wander the Warehouse District is $10 per person. Parking is free Downtown on the weekends, but those taking the tour do need to drive or walk themselves to each site, as there are no buses or trolleys.
Visit the Web site www.wander thewarehouse.org or call (419) 255-7100 for more information.