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Redevelopment of former North Towne Square Mall to bring 500 new manufacturing jobs

City officials on Thursday announced the long-vacant former North Towne Square Mall property will soon be redeveloped into Toledo’s latest industrial park, a move Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said will bring at least 500 well-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs to the community.

Kansas City-based NorthPoint Development intends to spend $70 million to build two industrial buildings totaling 862,000 square feet. NorthPoint expects to break ground on the first, 300,000-square-foot building next spring. The speculative buildings will be constructed without tenants locked in, but city leaders don’t think the facilities will take long to fill.

“There’s so much interest right now,” said Brandon Sehlhorst, Toledo’s commissioner of economic development. “Everyone’s got a site, but no one has a building. So to have a speculative building really puts us at a competitive position.”

The North Toledo site has been vacant for 16 years, and 11 years ago the city took ownership so it could obtain state and federal grants to help pay for needed demolition and cleanup. The city also had to negotiate the mutual release of cross-access easements between an adjacent Super Fitness store and the former shopping mall site that allowed gym patrons access to all parts of the mall despite the different property owners.

When the mall was demolished in 2013, the easements were never released, and the city hadn’t been able to reach a resolution to that until this year.

“The title and the easements and the cross-easements governing this land were extraordinarily difficult to unwind,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said. “The challenge in developing this property wasn’t good ideas. It wasn’t willing developers. … Dozens of developers approached us with good ideas.”

The mayor said North Towne is the city’s largest available industrial site. Once the redevelopment is complete, it will join a long list of other Toledo locations that a city statement said have been given new life under his administration including the former Southwyck Shopping Center mall, the Textileather site in North Toledo, the Triad Business Park, The Marina District, and Overland Industrial Park, among others.

Those sites represent 655 acres redeveloped and 3,100 jobs created, the mayor said — although in some cases their redevelopment began, or plans took shape, under a previous administration.

“It’s a monumental day in our city’s history,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.

Tim Conder, vice president of acquisitions for NorthPoint Development, said North Towne is the company’s first project in Toledo. A major reason NorthPoint Development looked here is because of the industrial market, the ability to build facilities with high ceilings for advanced manufacturing, and Toledo’s labor pool, he said.

“It’s a highly skilled workforce, and as we have found in this era of the pandemic, labor is critical,” Mr. Conder said. “You can build buildings all day long, but if you can’t find people to work in them, that’s a problem. A lot of our clients who are looking for space across the country are looking for the right labor pools.”

Mr. Conder believes the project will generate about 200 construction jobs, followed by at least 500 jobs once each building has tenants. He said the buildings could each house one tenant or several, though he doesn’t expect more than seven would move in total.

The company is buying the 60-acre property for its market value of $45,000 per acre, or about $2.7 million, so long as Toledo City Council approves the sale Nov. 9. Also on council’s Nov. 9 agenda is a proposal to offer NorthPoint a Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption, which would give the company a tax break on any increase in the site’s value after the investment.

The 100 percent tax exemption runs for 15 years, though Washington Local Schools will be paid its full amount of property taxes due.

Toledo City Council members Theresa Morris, Katie Moline, and Cerssandra McPherson each spoke at the news conference Thursday about how pleased they are to see another blighted property in the city brought back into productive use.

“I’m happy that the city saw a vision for this site as they did for other locations,” said Ms. Morris, who represents North Toledo’s District 6. “Soon more jobs will be out at this site with our skilled workforce.”


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on October 28, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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