ProMedica offering tours of Downtown steam plant buildingWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
ProMedica opened up a door into its future Dec. 26 as it offered the public a glimpse into the Downtown steam plant, which the company hopes to make its corporate headquarters in 2017.
ProMedica offered tours of the 1896 building along Summit Street as part of the company’s involvement with Toledo Walleye Winterfest.
The tours are also being offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.
The tour is essentially a viewing of the former Toledo Edison Steam Plant, contained to a roped-off section at the north end of the building, which is empty, unfinished and open, with the entire building space being visible to those who come for a look. The area features several historical photographs of the building as well as artist renderings of what ProMedica has planned for it.
“We wanted to open this up and let people see a little bit more about what we’re thinking about doing,” said Robin Whitney, vice president of property acquisition and development at ProMedica. “It lets people see this amazing building, and also the challenges of it.”
ProMedica is seeking approval in January from the City of Toledo on a memorandum of understanding, which will outline commitments from both the company and city on the project.
“That document doesn’t necessarily convey the property, but it kind of says, ‘OK, we’ll all agree to do this,’” Whitney said. “And then we’re going to have to follow up with more detailed, firm documents that will solidify it. But if we get comfort in January that we’re going to be able to come into agreement with the city, I think that’s an important first step.”
The company will also have to hear back on historic and new market tax credits it applied for on the project, a process that will not be complete until July. If everything lines up, Whitney said construction could begin in November 2015. The project is expected to take 15 months to complete, which would suggest a completion date of early 2017.
Whitney said a dollar amount for the project has not yet been determined, although Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins previously said total expenditures for the project would exceed $25 million.
“We’re so excited about this project. It is an extremely challenging project,” Whitney said. “This will be one of the more complex projects that’s happened in our community in a long time. But we’re excited about it — not only what it does for us, but what it does for the community. It’s a shame this building has sat dormant for 30 years along our waterfront.”
The project has drawn some concerns over the construction of a parking garage, which would be located at the southwestern corner of Promenade Park. It would be home to about 500 parking spaces, with another 200 being located under the park. The garage would occupy about 120 feet of the park’s 500 feet of frontage along Summit Street, Whitney said.
The downtown headquarters project will not happen without the parking structure, said Whitney, claiming it was necessary for the safety and convenience of ProMedica employees. About 700 administrative ProMedica employees would move Downtown as part of the project.
“It’s important for us to give employees close parking,” she said.
The parking spaces would be available to the public on evenings and weekends.
As for the rest of Promenade Park, sandwiched between the parking structure and the steam plant building, ProMedica has asked the city to convey that property to it as well. Whitney said the company would give back the right to use and maintain that space to the city.
“It’s going to be public space, we’re not going to try to limit use or anything in that area,” she said. “It will all feel like part of the Promenade Park.”
ProMedica would also share the KeyBank building with the banking company as part of its plans to move headquarters Downtown.