Updated: Dashing Pacific signs letter of intent with Rudolph/Libbe, Council approves saleWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At the May 31 Toledo City Council Economic Development committee hearing, Mayor Mike Bell spoke about his most recent trip to China. It was also announced by Scott Prephan, the investment broker for Dashing Pacific Group Ltd, that a letter of intent had been signed with Rudolph/Libbe to play a role in the construction of the Marina District should the sale be approved by City Council. At their later regularly scheduled Council Meeting, the legislation allowing the sale of the Marina District was approved.
“There has been a lot of concern over this particular project, when we went back to China last week, I think we covered a lot of ground in being able to be able to get this project moving back in a forward direction,” Bell said. “Not only are Dashing Pacific prepared to buy the land, they are prepared to put a $200 million to $300 million dollar project on that land.” He said if we looked around to see what $200 to $300 million would buy that you could almost buy the City of Toledo, that this project would change our riverfront into something it should have been some time ago.
Bell referenced the union concern and said that he has to represent everyone in our community, he said there has never been a time in our area where a project this large has taken place without union workers, he did not think this time would be any different. Bell said the cultural differences creates a scenario where the Chinese are more action oriented. “They are used to ‘OK you make a deal’ and start moving on it,” Bell said.
“We have been criticized for keeping this low key,” Bell said. But he said, other cities have tried to contact Dashing telling them that if Toledo wasn’t interested, their cities were and that was why they had tried to keep things low key. Bell said that foreign investment in China had spurred development there, and that is what they are trying to do here, spur development with foreign investment.
“The hard part was getting them to believe in Toledo,” Bell said. “We have to be able to believe in what they can do for us.”
Toledo Councilman Rob Ludeman said Cincinnati was building and that we have to view them and similar cities as our competition. He said they are accepting all kinds of investment in their community.
“When we first started to reach out across the ocean … they had never heard of the City of Toledo,” Bell said. He said other cities are doing what we are doing but they are being low key about it. He said Michigan was in China right before they were.
Prephan expressed the gratitude of the two Chinese Developers to the Mayor and his delegation. He said Scott Libbe from Rudolph/Libbe was part of the delegation to China. Prephan said his voice mail was full of messages from people interested in this type of development. “We’ve firmed up an agreeement, a letter of intent, for the Rudolph/Libbe folks to be participatory in the construction of what happens at the Marina District,” Prephan said. “A lot of that stems from the time and effort they put into the relationship.”
Bill Rudolph, chairman of Rudolph/Libbe, said he has been personally involved in talks with Scott Prephan and Simon Guo for two years, Scott Libbe their vice president, went to China to discuss their goals and Rudolph/Libbe agreed to be their construction manager should council approve the sale.
“This is refreshing. It’s a great opportunity to bring new people to Toledo, with them new businesses to Toledo,” said Rudolph. “We believe strongly that Council should move ahead to allow Dashing Pacific to develop the Marina District and do so expeditiously and without unnecessary burdens or restrictions that unnecessarily hamper development in our community.”
The legislation to allow the sale to Dashing was unanimously approved by all 12 members of Toledo City Council at their regularly scheduled Council Meeting that took place several hours after the Economic Development committee meeting.
Dashing Pacific will be purchasing 69 acres of land at the Marina District for $3.8 million dollars. Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers announced at the Economic Development committee meeting that Dashing was also interested in an additional 22.75 acres of Marina District property. Crothers said this area includes the Acme Plant and Edison Park and that if a similar per acre sale price is negotiated it would generate an additional $1.25 million dollars.