City of Toledo active with Southwyck developmentWritten by Tom Konecny | | email@example.com
Though still early in the process, the City of Toledo now has fewer than 120 days in which to market its recently purchased 58 acres at the site of the former Southwyck Mall along Reynolds Road in South Toledo.
Spokesperson Lisa Ward said the city is “not making public any information on calls or contacts concerning the property,” yet there is much at stake between now and mid-November. Southwyck’s location remains relevant and strategic, situated near the Ohio Turnpike and I-475, and still has a strong commercial and residential mix in the surrounding area.
“It’s an important site, in an important section of town,” said Larry Dillin, president of Dillin Corp., a developer who once attempted to revitalize the site until the banking environment took a downturn in 2008. “I think it’s potentially a good location and with new investment, because new investment brings more investment.”
The 120 days is a “due diligence period” whereby the City can do their own investigation and homework of the property — much in the same way any citizen might investigate a home purchase, according to Matt Sapara, director of the city’s department of development.
“We had a very good deal that’s very fair,” Sapara said. “We need to be very good stewards of the public funds. We take this very serious, and it’s a good deal to the Mayor.”
Right now the city is “marketing the heck out of it,” Sapara said. “We have already had a couple of discussions since last Monday.” When day 121 arrives, the city must then commit and will have 30 days to finalize the sale. Any time prior to this, the city may back out of the deal.
Two conceptual drawings for possible future development on the site were revealed July 20, but those were merely ideas, and its eventual use remains an unknown.
“The city is open to the needs of businesses interested in this property,” Ward said. “We have not defined a specific preferred use.”
The city has spent more than $7 million to update the infrastructure surrounding the mall, including a landscaped and redeveloped Rey-nolds Road and a rebuilt Southwyck Boulevard. It will also spend $434,000 to raze the former Clarion Hotel.
Private investment in the area is significant.
A total of $29.5 million has been spent among several ventures, some who were around during Southwyck’s tenure, and others who are new: Maumee Valley Country Day School, Lyden Oil, At Home superstore and Genesis Village.
Many businesses near Southwyck “have expressed support of our action,” Ward said.
“We’ve had many in the community reach out to us and tell us they’re glad we’re taking an aggressive stance, rather than hoping others do it on their own,” Sapara said.
“We’re all excited because our location is just a dying location,” said Shana Bryant, Goodwill assistant manager, whose store is situated directly across from the former mall property. “If they do bring in something really nice it would bring more business around here.”
Nearby residents also express hope that the city can attract another positive force onto the land that once housed one of Toledo’s most popular malls.
“I’m pretty excited,” said Mary Witt, who lives not far from the site in Maumee. “I’m hoping it will be something that will bring business to the area. Personally, I don’t think we need office buildings. We have those all around the (Southwyck Boulevard.) circle and many of them are empty.”
For now, Sapara said the city will continue to seek tenants.
“I think people are very, very happy that they’re seeing an aggressive approach by the city,” he said.
Tags: At Home superstore, City of Toledo, Clarion Hotel, Dillin Corp., Genesis Village, Goodwill assistant manager, I-475, Larry Dillin, Lyden Oil, Matt Sapara, Maumee Valley Country Day School, Ohio Turnpike, Reynolds Road, Shana Bryant, Southwyck, Spokesperson Lisa Ward