YMCA, UT Medical Center to lease space in old steam plantWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After years of obstacles and amended plans, developers announced that the old Toledo Edison Steam Plant will soon become a new home for the YMCA and a family physician practice.
The $16 million investment is a money saver for the YMCA, part of University of Toledo Medical Center’s expansion plans and the answer to developers David and Dean Ball’s goal to build downtown apartments. The building, dubbed the Water Street Station, will host 67 apartments from the third to the sixth floors.
The YMCA will close its Summit Y in North Toledo and transfer memberships to the new site. The Summit building has become a financial burden, especially after government funding dried up and membership plummeted to 600. That’s down from at least 1,000 memberships about five or six years ago, said Todd Tibbits, CEO/president of the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo.
Only 15 percent of the Summit Y’s members live in that community, with many members coming from work in the downtown business district. Tibbits said the downtown spot should draw more members based on those figures.
Tibbits also pointed out that the new site would be more accessible to three low-income apartment complexes: Riverfront Apartments, Vistula Manor Apartments and Port Lawrence Homes. Toledoans living in these complexes will get free or reduced YMCA memberships.
The YMCA will save about $140,000 a year by moving because it will no longer have to pay the hefty utility bills that come along with the Summit building. The nonprofit shells out $400,000 a year in utility costs between the Summit Plaza and the present YMCA building.
The original plans, drafted in 2006, would have spruced up the old plant for 75 upscale apartments. The blueprints also included 34 townhouses along the building’s south side.
Apartments were slated for move-in by the fall of 2007. When that didn’t happen, the date was pushed back to March of 2008. Meanwhile, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner filed a lawsuit demanding that the developers either start construction immediately or hand over the property to the city.
The last two years of the Finkbeiner administration spelled trouble for the developers, Ball said.
“I spent more time battling with the mayor than I did working on this project,” he said.
The lawsuit was cleared when Mayor Mike Bell took office.
This January, the developers commenced conversations with the YMCA and the University of Toledo Medical Center. The original plans for the apartment complex needed an exercise facility, so the combination seemed to click, Ball said.
The university’s medical center will lease space from the YMCA. The deal marks the third installment of plans to spread across Northwest Ohio. The first clinic opened at the Franklin Park Mall and the next will open in October at Fallen Timbers. There will be at least two others announced within the next couple of years, said Scott Scarborough, senior vice president and executive director University of Toledo Medical Center.
Scarborough said the medical center intends to hire at least three new employees to fill the Water Street Station location. Ball said his company, STS Management, will hire about six full-time and four to six part-time employees to service the apartments. The YMCA might need to make a few hires, Tibbits said, but Summit Y employees will just move to the riverfront spot.
As for the Summit Y building, Ball bought the structure and intends to lease it to businesses or organizations.
Crews will break ground in six to eight weeks. The riverfront building should be open for business by mid- to late 2013.
“The Bell administration is ecstatic about this opportunity,” said Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers.