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PLAN COMMISSION

Mud Hens get OK to demolish 121-year-old city building

Project part of $10M-$15M renovation on St. Clair St.

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The Toledo Mud Hens won approval on Thursday from the Toledo Plan Commission to demolish a former plumbing-supply building on South St. Clair Street across from Fifth Third Field.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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The Toledo Mud Hens won approval on Thursday from the Toledo Plan Commission to demolish a former plumbing-supply building on South St. Clair Street across from Fifth Third Field.

The plan commission gave unanimous support to raze the 121-year-old building as part of the minor-league baseball team’s plans for a multimillion-dollar revitalization of empty structures near the stadium.

Under plans that Joe Napoli, the Hens’ general manager and president, revealed in August at a meeting of the Toledo Warehouse District Association, the building would be torn down and a smaller structure would be built on part of the land to install elevator service in the old Spangler Candy Co. building.

Under the $10 million to $15 million redevelopment project, the four-story Spangler building, two buildings at 3 and 9 N. St. Clair adjacent to the stadium and near Washington Street would be renovated for a mix of retail, commercial, and residential uses.

Expanding the Hens’ Swamp Shop, rooftop patios, and a restaurant with a high-tech arcade are under consideration for the project.

“This is the first step in making that a reality,” said Keith Wilkowski, an attorney with the Toledo law firm Marshall and Melhorn, which represents the Mud Hens. “This is really an exciting project for the central business district and the Warehouse District.”

Mr. Napoli said the Mud Hens originally envisioned incorporating the three-story building into the redevelopment, but renovation was deemed too costly because of structural issues and a crumbling facade.

“It is with a heavy heart that we approach you with a request for demolition. The whole idea of building Fifth Third Field and Huntington Center was to revitalize buildings,” Mr. Napoli said.

The demolition permit is needed by the Mud Hens because the building lies within the Downtown Overlay District. Demolition can start in 10 days if no one files an objection and appeals the plan commission’s decision to Toledo City Council.

“We hate to see old buildings come down, but sometimes it is a redemption,” said Catherine Hoolahan, the plan commission’s chairman.

The Warehouse District Association and the Toledo City Historic District Commission passed resolutions in support of the demolition, which was recommended for approval by plan commission staff because the building lacks “reasonable value” and is deteriorating.

The Hens bought the buildings and a parking lot on Monroe Street between St. Clair and Summit streets three years ago. Plans call to expand the parking lot into much of the plumbing-supply building’s footprint.

Ken Fallows, plan commission member, asked if plans in the redevelopment project would include landscaping and fencing enhancements to bring the surface parking lot up to code.

Mr. Napoli assured commission members the parking lot would undergo improvements during the project’s two to three years of construction. “You will be very pleased with what we have planned for that site. You will be surprised, and I don’t think you will be disappointed,” he said.

The commission also recommended approval for a zoning change and special-use permit to allow a charter school to renovate the former Jobst Inc. building on Miami Street in East Toledo.

L. Hollingsworth School for Talented & Gifted plans to use the building as a kindergarten through 12th-grade facility. Currently, the school leases the former Sacred Heart Elementary on Sixth Street near East Broadway.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.

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