Lucas County to buy, demolish former Seagate HotelWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling it an “eyesore and a nuisance,” the Lucas County Commissioners announced they planned to purchase the former Hotel Seagate for $1.38 million and demolish it to make room for potential future development.
The 19-story building, which has been vacant for years, was built in 1970. It’s located at Summit Street and Jefferson Avenue across from Promenade Park in Downtown Toledo.
“It is our intent to buy it and demolish it … for the good of the recovery of Downtown,” Commissioner Pete Gerken said at a Nov. 18 news conference.
The Commissioners declined to name potential partners, but Gerken said there is one public and one private entity interested and Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak said the partners will “soon be named.” Costs are expected to be evenly divided among partners with the commissioners saying they expect to pay a third of the purchase price in the end.
Commissioner Carol Contrada said the site’s location is strategic to other Downtown development projects, including ProMedica’s new headquarters and the Mud Hens’ plans for Hensville.
“This really will link the Downtown sports and entertainment district to be part of a new and revitalized Downtown,” Contrada said. “We’re really excited about its location and its potential and our partnership ability, to work with the private sector and other public partners to be able to continue the investment and renaissance of Downtown Toledo.
“This is where the action is. We are seizing the day and seizing the moment to continue our commitment to making this a great place to live, work and play.”
The county’s community improvement corporation entered into an option with Louisville Title to purchase the property in June. The review period was extended three times and the option period now ends this week.
“Every real estate deal needs a motivated buyer and a motivated seller and after 10 years we found both,” Gerken said.
The building would likely not be demolished until sometime in 2015 as the building contains asbestos and environmental work needs to be done at the site first. The county worked with the City of Toledo on an environmental study of the site and the city plans to include cleanup costs for the site in a grant application it is writing that includes several Downtown projects.
“That property has been an eyesore on our Downtown for over a decade,” Gerken said. “With Downtown coming into what we like to refer to as a recovery mode or revitalization mode, it’s time to clear the flight at the main intersection of that revitalization. The board felt it was our responsibility to do that.”
Gerken said the county’s acquisition and demolition of the building will serve three purposes: eliminate blight, add development opportunities and — at least temporarily — create new green space.
“Some people will ask, ‘Is this a wise use of taxpayer dollars?’ Yes it is. One of three things will happen and they’re all good,” Gerken said. “It’s a blight elimination project in the middle of our Downtown. It will add to the chess board of Downtown another piece for future redevelopment. And even if there is no further development there in the near future, it adds green space and livability and walkability and sustainability for our Downtown.”