Tower on the Maumee in renovation talksWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
By Casey Cheap, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
The last time Downtown Toledo’s second tallest building was occupied, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.22, the Federal minimum wage was $5.15 and President Bill Clinton was campaigning for a second term.
Eyde Company currently owns The Tower on the Maumee, which was renamed in 2008. The company is currently in talks with a few firms for leasing and the redevelopment of the building, according to Nick Eyde, the building’s project developer.
Eyde said once redevelopment is under way, the building could be operational in 12-18 months. Eyde Company has much of the financing for redevelopment lined up, and believes it will again be an anchor of the Downtown business district.
“This type of project is not for the faint of heart,” Eyde said. “We are on the verge of some exciting things, much like a similar project we are undertaking in Lansing.”
Eyde envisions a restaurant on the ground floor in the main lobby, and a mix of office space, hotel rooms or high-rise apartments on the upper floors.
Funding has been provided from the state and federal governments in the form of The Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund for $2.5 million and the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, a $2 million grant, which was awarded to just six projects nationally.
Eyde said the building had to be designated under the National Register of Historic Places in order to qualify for the Brownfields grant.
“The building does not turn 50 until 2018, but it was awarded an exception based on the historical significance of the architect, and the fact that it was Toledo’s first skyscraper,” Eyde said.
As an integral part of the Toledo skyline, the building is 400 feet tall, 30 stories, has 390,000 gross square feet of floor space and an attached 515-space parking garage. The Tower on the Maumee is often confused with Toledo’s tallest building, One Seagate (the Fifth Third Bank building), which is 11 feet taller.
A third party owned the building for about a year after Owens Corning vacated it as its world headquarters. Eyde Company has owned the building since the late 1990s.
Owens Corning moved to its current campus along the Maumee River in 1996, leaving the former Fiberglas Tower vacant for more than 16 years. Fiberglas is a patented spelling for Owens’ products.
At the time, the building had become a relic from the late 1960s, a time when urban centers were building taller and “glass box,” buildings were popping up all over the country. Toledo was no exception, as The Tower on the Maumee was completed in 1969.
It was discovered after the Owens move that the building contained asbestos fireproofing, which would be a barrier to revitalization efforts, and a possible nightmare for developers looking for potential tenants.
“The cost to remove was more than initially anticipated,” Eyde said. “Ultimately with the help of the state’s Clean Ohio Fund, the asbestos was removed.”
Each floor was painstakingly scraped out and cleaned by late 2011, Eyde said.
A number of potential building designs by Poggemeyer Design Group have been completed, and the next steps will be to convert those designs to construction drawings for redevelopment.
Tags: Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, Eyde Company, Fiberglas Tower, National Register of Historic Places, Nick Eyde, Owens Corning, The Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund, The Tower on the Maumee