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As Fort Industry Square nears completion, developer set to tackle Nasby Building

Renovating and remodeling Fort Industry Square, comprising 13 buildings with 13 different floor plans hasn’t dissuaded Kevin Prater from taking on what some could see as an even more daunting challenge.

“This has probably been the most difficult project I’ve ever done,” the owner of Prater Development Ltd. told an audience of about 100 at ConnecToledo’s annual Downtown Toledo Update regarding the $59 million renovation of Summit Street’s river-side block between Washington and Monroe streets.

Northwestern Mutual has moved into 15,000 of its 70,000 square feet of commercial space, and occupancy permits are expected soon for the first of its 85 dwelling units, Mr. Prater said.

Next up for Mr. Prater: the Nasby Building, one of the three vacant, historic towers at downtown Toledo’s Four Corners intersection, Huron and Adams streets.

“It really needs an anchor tenant” to make a full-throated restoration feasible, Mr. Prater said, but just reviving its ornate, 1895-vintage exterior is going to take three summers’ worth of work.

“It will be one project that the community should be greatly, greatly proud of when it’s done,” he said.

Prater Development also plans to start work next year on its Overmyer Lofts project through which the former Commerce Paper building at 15 S. Ontario St. will be converted into 75 residential units. That project, Mr. Prater said, should be ready to hit the market during the summer of 2023.

Mr. Prater was one of several developers to speak during ConnecToledo’s annual look back and look forward at progress toward reinvigorating downtown Toledo and its immediate surroundings, including the Warehouse District, UpTown, East Toledo, and the near North End.

Paul Toth, ConnecToledo’s president, opened the program in the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s McMaster Room auditorium in the Main Library downtown with a review of recent accomplishments, leading with his agency’s award last month of the International Downtown Association’s Award of Excellence that he said recognized both the scope and the execution of its 2017 Master Plan.

“We’ve got a hell of a lot to be proud of as a community,” Mr. Toth said.

A fresh Residential Demand Study shows 97 percent of downtown dwellings are occupied and rents have risen by 15 percent since 2019, Mr. Toth said, both evidence of strong demand in that area. But it’s also important, he said, to devise an “affordability strategy” so that “it’s not just market-rate.”

Ten new restaurants opened, two others expanded, and seven retailers moved in during 2021, and special events downtown — led by entertainment associated with the Solheim Cup golf tournament at the Inverness Club — were strong, Mr. Toth said. Now, he said, targets include doubling the number of people living downtown from the current 3,700 and creating an “activated” downtown that is busy nightly and year-round, not just on weekends and during special events.

“We need to keep the pedal to the metal,” he said. “This is not the time for us to let up and rest on our laurels — it’s time to double down.”

Other speakers included Julia Randles, of the Randles Co. and Crane Development, who discussed the Library Square project on Madison Avenue opposite the Main Library and several other projects; Andrew Newby, of Toledo Spirits Co., who explained the elements of his firm’s Heavy Beer Company developments and marketing in UpTown, the North End, and Oak Openings Metropark; and representatives of Lucas County, the city of Toledo, and Metroparks Toledo.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on November 16, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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