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Enthusiastic about the Enclave: Development on former Woodville Mall site moves along

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on December 4, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Northwood’s $12 million investment in a new development, including property acquisition and the construction of a community center, is starting to pay off, according to city officials.

The Enclave, which will consist of homes, senior living, some small commercial businesses and a community center, is coming to life on the former site of the Woodville Mall.

The vision for the property, which has been owned by the city since 2018, is starting to come into focus, said Northwood Administrator Kevin Laughlin.

“We’re starting to realize it — you get so much momentum when you start to see things take shape,” he said. “It’s a good story: Former blight … we’ve made lemonade out of lemons.”

The mall was foreclosed on in 2011 and was demolished in 2014, said Bob Anderson, former city administrator and Enclave project coordinator.

“That’s because it was falling down,” he said. “The last straw was the movie theater was still open, the roof was leaking and they were heating it with portable heaters.”

Northwood acquired the JCPenney store and most of the mall property at a foreclosure sale for $225,000, Mr. Anderson said. The Sears and Elder Beerman properties were later acquired for around $500,000.

The cost of demolition, asbestos abatement, and miscellaneous costs to the city was approximately $3 million. Mayor Ed Schimmel said the Enclave is a response to a need for housing, which was created by First Solar and Amazon jobs in the area.

“With all this new industry coming to Wood County … it’s all by Northwood and there’s definitely a need for more residential housing,” he said. “The big thing that we’re doing is the recreation center, it’s the catalyst to help development on Main Street.”

The $9 million, 26,000-square-foot center will open this spring. It will feature pickleball, basketball, and volleyball courts, workout equipment, an elevated track, and an outside splash pad.

A multi-purpose room may be rented for wedding receptions, bridal showers, and high school reunions, Mr. Laughlin said.

The Enclave’s residential area is really rolling, he said.

“It will be mixed. Right now, what we have started is the middle — the townhomes. We have a 150-unit apartment complex, called the Falls, which has city approval. We’re hoping that starts in the spring,” Mr. Laughlin said. “The back portions of the property, 30-40 acres, is planned for single-family residential.”

Mr. Anderson said there’s an incentive attached to building at the Enclave.

“The land is in a community reinvestment area, where the real estate taxes are forgiven for 15 years at 100 percent. The only taxes you’re paying is on the bare land,” he said.

The 114 townhomes, called the Bridges of Northwood, are under construction on 24 acres. Four of the townhomes, which have a price of around $310,000, have been sold, and there are contracts for the others that have been constructed.

“We’re hoping to start the next 16,” said Dwayne Seiter, director of construction and development for Summit Custom Builders.

The Enclave’s future will feature a senior living facility, a bank, professional offices, a walking trail — and possibly hockey, Mr. Laughlin said. Last month, the council approved applying for a $500,000 grant toward a $3.8 million ice rink, which would be near the splash pad at the community center.

Mr. Anderson said the city has 5,200 residents and is home to several businesses, including Norplas Industries Inc., Treu House Of Munch Inc., and Adient Interior, formerly known as Johnson Controls.

Those businesses were initially attracted to the area because of the mall, Mr. Anderson said. Less congestion than what is in Perrysburg or Sylvania, he said, is drawing people to Northwood today.

“There are still a lot of people around who want to be close to the lake, and the less clutter we have here … will attract more,” Mr. Anderson said. “We’ve also got I-75 that runs through the city and we have I-280.”

The Enclave concept came out of a community meeting several years ago, Mr. Anderson said. Northwood residents were asked what they wanted to use the mall property for; options included commercial, warehouse, or residential. Residents overwhelmingly wanted an “age in place” development.

“I think this is better in the long run. I think this is something that is more for the community,” Mr. Laughlin said.

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