In the battle to create jobs, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins is confident Toledo “will win this war.”
The cause for his optimism, at least Friday, was construction of a 100,000-square-foot, $5.5 million spec building at Overland Industrial Park, the site of the former Jeep factory off Central Avenue.
At a groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Collins and other officials — including U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) — said the development would attract new economic opportunities in the spirit of its historic former occupant.
The project — part of a larger effort to reinvigorate the old factory site — marks a new approach to development in northwest Ohio, said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. He said from conception to funding to construction, the warehouse was a “collaborate effort” that brought together the private and public sectors.
No tenant, however, has agreed to occupy the building yet. Last month Lucas County commissioners considered the site as a potential location for a new county jail, but learned port authority restrictions limited the land to “manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and warehouse operations.”
Marketing a new facility for those purposes would take place on a national level, said Ed Harmon, managing partner of Overland Industrial Park I, LLC, which was created to partner with the port authority on the development.
Airgas Inc., a distributor of medical gases and welding equipment, is also constructing a 40,000-square-foot facility in the southwest corner of the 111-acre lot.
Fully developing the site is especially important because of its proximity to I-75 and I-475, Miss Kaptur said.
Formal construction on the spec warehouse, a class-A industrial space, will begin in the next several weeks and take about six months to complete.