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Demolition starts March 1 on vacant Elder-Beerman store

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on January 24, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Demolition of the former Elder-Beerman department store in Toledo is set to begin March 1 and be completed by June at the latest, said the project manager of the demolition contractor.

The vacant Elder-Beerman store is located at 3301 Secor in the Westgate shopping area. The store closed in 2018 after 33 years in business and is near where a former Sears store was recently torn down.

Klumm Bros. Excavating and Demolition of Holland will begin to raze the former Elder-Beerman store as soon as asbestos abatement is completed inside, said Brian Killian, project manager for Klumm Bros.

Midwest Environmental Inc. of Perrysburg is performing the asbestos abatement necessitated by asbestos tiles being used in the ceiling years ago as a fire retardant, Mr. Killian said.

He said the abatement is costing between $600,000 and $800,000, while the demolition will cost about $400,000. That work is being privately financed, he said, after the city did not provide incentives for the work.

The site will be graded and ready for redevelopment when Klumm Bros. completes its work, Mr. Killian said.

Representatives from the Niki Group, a real-estate company based in San Diego that owns the property, did not respond to a request for more details. Niki, in early 2020, had laid out plans to knock down the store and develop four businesses on the 8-acre property, including a TJ Maxx and a Bob’s Discount Furniture.

But Toledo City Council later rejected tax breaks that would’ve helped kickstart the project, and Brandon Sehlhorst, Toledo’s economic development director, said in 2021 that the pandemic had also put a damper on the project. The TJ Maxx ultimately moved into a vacant storefront just across Central Avenue. Mr. Sehlhorst could not be reached for an update Tuesday.

Councilman Sam Melden, who represents the Westgate area, said both the Sears and Elder-Beerman demolitions are welcome news for nearby residents. The Sears, which sits on around 22 acres, closed in 2017.

The next step will be to figure out what should be built on the adjacent properties, and what is deserving of property tax abatement and other incentives, he said. The owner of the Sears property, Chicago’s Abbell Credit Corp, which also owns Westgate Plaza, has not stated publicly what it wants to build on the land.

Mr. Melden said his hunch is that the future of the property isn’t more discount retail — there are already a handful of other store vacancies in the immediate vicinity — but rather “a more dynamic, mixed-use type development” that includes housing.

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