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New retail, entertainment development planned for Levis Commons

n a surprise move, Toledo-based developer Ed Harmon announced Monday that he will break ground in July on a new retail/entertainment development in Levis Commons in Perrysburg.

The two-story, 80,000-square-foot development will be located on 4½ acres of vacant ground adjacent to an existing building, known as the Orleans Building, which houses the Benchmark restaurant and Funny Bone Comedy Club.

The $13 million project is expected to break ground somewhere around July 15 and be ready by the second quarter of 2021.

Mr. Harmon’s development and property management services company, the NAI Harmon Group, will lease and manage the mixed-use development, which will have retail on the first floor and office space above.

Mr. Harmon said Monday that the project already is 50 percent leased but because of confidentiality agreements, he cannot divulge the names of the tenants that have signed letters of intent to occupy the space when it is ready.

However, the developer did reveal that some of the space will be occupied by a restaurant that his company will develop. It will be an upscale seafood restaurant that will complement the nearby Benchmark restaurant, which the Harmon Group also owns.

Mr. Harmon said a name for the restaurant has not been decided, but the group is “bringing in a well-known chef” and also has a management team in place.

Christine Best, marketing director for the Town Center at Levis Commons, which is the existing main retail center at the mix-used conclave that includes retail, apartments, condos, and single-family homes, said Town Center officials had heard rumors about a new seafood restaurant and will be excited to see what the Harmon Group builds.

“Anytime there’s economic development it’s great for our community. This news is great for the Town Center, it’s great for Perrysburg, and it’s great for northwest Ohio,” Ms. Best said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what’s there and how it complements the Town Center.”

Monday’s announcement came as a big surprise to the staff of the Town Center.

Mr. Harmon said initially he planned on staying mum about the project until July when plans would be more concrete and he could announce the names of incoming tenants.

ut with ongoing negative news since March as a result of the pandemic, Mr. Harmon said he felt the community could use a much-needed break.

“We did our announcement [Monday] because personally, I felt we needed some better news than what we’ve been getting. So we decided to move this up,” the developer said. “I would normally announce something like this with a groundbreaking. But this was just an appreciation of the situation we’ve all been going through,” he said.

NAI Harmon bought the 4.5-acre property and the Orleans Building in 2016, and shortly thereafter Mr. Harmon proposed a joint development project with Gateway Hospitality Group, of Twinsburg, Ohio.

Gateway built a Home 2 Suites by Hilton hotel across from the vacant land and Mr. Harmon planned to add a retail project.

But delays involving paperwork, and then temporary reallocation of capital funds to vital Harmon development projects elsewhere pushed the Levis Commons project back further.

“We’ve had it for almost four years and we’re very happy with the success that’s there. We helped bring in the new apartments and the other two hotels that were built. We used our connections to develop that site,” Mr. Harmon said.

“We had to get permits and zoning OK’d. And we’re happy that Perrysburg worked with us so well. But we’re probably a year behind because we had additional work on projects that were outside of the area. They had to get done first because of timetables,” he said.

But Mr. Harmon said he always planned to do the Levis Commons project. “This is a great area and great town to be in,” he said.

And despite the closure of businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, it is still a good environment for development, he added.

“The economy — we feel confident about it right now,” he said. “Not to sound too ambitious, but we are also doing a project in Dallas where we have a new $30 million center that we’re dedicating. And on Wednesday we’ll be in Arkansas to announce a new purchase of a building in Fort Smith where Walmart is connected,” Mr. Harmon said.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on May 4, 2020.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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