BREAKING: ProMedica plans to move headquarters DowntownWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Free Press has learned ProMedica is planning to move its administrative employees Downtown and has options to purchase the steam plant and KeyBank building to house them.
The move could mean as many as 700 employees would be transferred Downtown.
In conjunction with the move, ProMedica is also looking into options for building a parking structure, possibly on the site of Promenade Park.
In a letter sent to board members on Feb. 4, ProMedica announced its plan to relocate its approximately 700 administrative employees to offices in Downtown Toledo, citing having offices in multiple locations as creating “a less than efficient environment.”
The healthcare system stated that “there are many details that need to be worked out” in terms of the move, but that the company was seeking to create a “campus area,” including the current KeyBank office and the former Toledo Edison Steam Plant.
The letter stated that ProMedica is currently in negotiations to purchase office space from KeyBank, and that the sale can be expected “within the next few months.” The new campus would occupy several floors in the current KeyBank building, while KeyBank would retain one floor of office space.
“Having a commitment to Toledo and our communities is something we take very seriously. This move downtown is the right thing to do for ProMedica, but it also will have significant impact in helping to revitalize downtown Toledo,” the letter read.
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said total expenditures for the project would exceed $25 million. ProMedica plans to sell several buildings and use proceeds toward the Downtown project, according to the letter.
Collins called the move “the spark that will transition Downtown Toledo into the Downtown that existed prior to the exodus to Arrowhead Park.”
Collins first alluded to the ProMedica move in an interview with Toledo Free Press in December, indicating Toledoans should expect a major announcement about a company coming to Toledo in the next few months.
“It is a big one,” Collins said. “In the course of life, there are pendulum moments. And when the pendulum swings to the positive, as I think it will in the first quarter of the year, I think we will see dynamic business decisions being made.”
Collins said he first met with officials from ProMedica in mid-December.
“They shared with me that this was something they were considering; however, the [Mayor Mike Bell] administration was not warm to the idea because of the plans in place for Promenade Park,” Collins said. “Being familiar with Promenade Park and realizing we had authorized a major renovation to the property, I told the team I thought this would possibly be a great public-private partnership.”
The mayor said the city would assist ProMedica with “core city services and the support of infrastructure,” but that actual investments in the project will be limited.
“I have already explained to the corporate leaders that we are not in a strong financial position as a city,” Collins said. “We are not going to be a main investor in this.”
It is still up in the air who will fund the employee parking garage that is planned for the Promenade Park site. The city already approved funding to move soil to create a slope at the park. Collins said the construction that has already been done “would not be complementary to the design and where the garage would be.”
Collins said he felt the original plan for renovating the park was “ill-advised” due to a lack of private sponsors to fund the remaining $2 million projects. Funding for the initial phases of the original plan came from state loans for construction projects at the Marina District. The city later asked the state for permission to move the funds to the Promenade Park Project.
Collins said he ordered that all construction on the site be stopped immediately after taking office. Funds could come from a request made by the Chamber of Commerce to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, which asked for participation in the two-year Capital Budget to support the original Promenade Park plan. Collins said he plans to ask that those funds be made available for the ProMedica project.
“The cost benefit to the city will begin when construction begins,” Collins said of the new ProMedica site. “The concept here will be different than the Owens Corning concept. They basically have a campus, and there’s minimal transition to other downtown venues. This project is not of the same nature. It will definitely provide enterprise to the area.”
Jim Hoffman, the president of KeyBank’s Michigan/Northwest Ohio district, said the move was in the best interest of both his company and ProMedica. The bank’s regional headquarters have been located in the KeyBank Building for 32 years.
“We have had excess space in the building, and we just had decided to live with that. When ProMedica approached us, shared their plan with us, and wanted to know if we’d be able to help them make it happen, it just looked like a win-win for everybody,” Hoffman said.
KeyBank will keep offices on one floor of the building, while ProMedica will take up the rest of the office space. Hoffman says downsizing office space won’t negatively affect the bank.
“We have so many people who work remotely and are out of the office so much working with customers, it’ll be easy,” Hoffman said. “We’re excited that all of our employees will be on one floor, which will facilitate teamwork and communications with all of our people.”
Hoffman also noted that he’s happy ProMedica is the company moving into his building.
“ProMedica is a 100-year customer of ours. I really have seen a new ProMedica under [President and CEO] Randy Oostra’s leadership. ProMedica has stepped up in many areas, including being much more engaged in the community,” Hoffman said.
“This will be a real shot in the arm for the Downtown area,” Hoffman added.
Collins said he anticipates an influx of other businesses to the Downtown area to support the 700 employees who will begin working Downtown.
“I think the dynamics of this will unveil as the project moves forward, but we will see things Downtown that were previously only ideas. I think we will see a grocery outlet, and it will stimulate a new environment Downtown with residents, especially with the revitalization of the Berdan Building, and the potential that exists for the Spitzer and Nicholas buildings.”
The mayor said the ProMedica move is part of necessary changes to the Downtown area.
“I believe urban life will return, and only cities that provide the opportunities and social interaction will succeed. We’re seeing a transition in terms of younger professionals not looking to escape to the suburbs, but want to return to urban areas instead because they want the amenities of urban life. The trends of 1970 to 2000 are reversing. Young people want a lifestyle with a strong urban foundation, and this is the step necessary to ensure our success,” Collins said.
In March 2012, City Council voted to approve a $2.2 million makeover plan for the Promenade Park site. The funds came from money left over from a $5 million loan for improvements to the Marina District.
That plan, which was touted by former Mayor Bell as a way to draw tourists and business to the Downtown area, would have doubled the size of the park, and included resurfacing of the park in order to have the entire area slope downwards to the waterfront. The reshaping was part of preparations for an amphitheater on the site.
Construction began at the site in July 2012. So far, soil has been moved and a street has been filled in.
Bell had hoped to draw additional public funding, as well as money from private groups, to add features like a “splash pad” for children and the aforementioned amphitheater.
Construction on the park was set to be completed in 2014.