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Developers team up in Westgate to bring apartments to Sears, Elder-Beerman sites

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on February 28, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


The two out-of-state developers that separately own the old Sears and Elder-Beerman sites in Westgate are joining forces to build apartments and retail on the side-by-side parcels.

Plans are still in the design phase, said Liz Holland, CEO of Chicago-based Abbell Credit Corp., a key retail developer of the Westgate shopping district in Toledo.

Abbell owns the 22 acres where the former Sears store once sat. It has been razed and readied for redevelopment, Ms. Holland said.

The former Elder-Beerman store next door sits on about 6 acres and is scheduled to be razed beginning in March by its owner, the San Diego-based Niki Group.

Because the sites are contiguous, the companies decided to team up to redevelop them jointly to optimize the space, Ms. Holland said.

“We see the whole being better than the sum of its parts,” she said.

She said apartments, not condos, are being planned. And it also would have a retail component, though she said it was too early to share details.

For purposes of comparison, the nearly 28 combined acres are bigger than the 24 acres that Abbell redeveloped for the Costco store in the shopping district, Ms. Holland said.

A mixed-use development in that kind of urban setting is what’s happening across the country, said Brandon Sehlhorst, director of economic development for the City of Toledo.

He said many residents want to live close to retail and entertainment so they can walk to amenities.

“This has the potential to be a really powerful project,” he said.

Mr. Sehlhorst said a parcel that large could easily support 200 or more residential units in addition to the retail. But that number will depend on what the developers believe the market will bear for new units in the area, he said.

Moreover, he saluted  Abbell and the Niki Group for working together instead of separately on a plan.

By collaborating, they can develop residences that have a consistent look and feel, while coordinating walkways and streets to have the new development flow into the surrounding district.

“That will foster better walkability and traffic in that section of west Toledo,” he said.

The former Elder-Beerman store closed in 2018 and has been vacant since. The Niki Group is spending more than $1 million to first have asbestos remediation completed on the building, then tear it down.

Last month the company hired to raze the Elder-Beerman store, Klumm Bros. Excavating and Demolition of Holland, said the site should be cleared and readied for redevelopment this summer.

Abbell owns the Westgate Plaza, the Westgate Village Office Center and has been a driver of redevelopment in the district.

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