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Published: 10/23/2013 - Updated: 5 months ago

Council asked to initiate study of OC incentive deal

Cost of Spitzer Building maintenance also discussed

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Owens-Corning headquarters in downtown Toledo. Owens-Corning headquarters in downtown Toledo.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The Bell administration on Tuesday asked Toledo City Council to start reviewing an incentive package to keep Owens Corning and its 1,250 employees in the city and to consider paying $10,000 toward the cost of maintaining the historic Spitzer Building in hopes that a new owner will take over the downtown structure.

Owens Corning and the city have a tentative agreement that would keep the Fortune 500 company downtown Toledo until at least 2030 instead of possibly leaving when its lease on its headquarters expires in 2015.

The deal was announced late last week. Officials Tuesday still could not offer estimates of the incentive package’s value although Councilman Rob Ludeman said the figure, along with a calculation of the company’s financial contribution to the city’s economy, would be discussed during a public hearing on Thursday.

Included in the deal with the city is extension of a tax-increment financing structure for an additional eight years. The current financing structure with the city expires in 2016. The amended tax-increment financing structure will expire in 2024.

The extension includes provisions for Owens Corning, a building materials manufacturer, to make $450,000 annual payments in lieu of taxes to Toledo Public Schools.

Also under the deal, Owens Corning will get the land where its headquarters sits, contingent upon the company remaining at the site until 2030.

Under the original incentive package for the building — which kept OC from moving out of Toledo two decades ago when it left its former site at the Fiberglas Tower — it would get that land in 2075.

The city also must repave Owens Corning Parkway, the public street in front of the building, in 2015 with funding help from the state. Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat said that would cost $670,000.

The company has agreed to add 50 jobs downtown within three years.

Don Rettig, an Owens Corning spokesman, said the company contributes $3 million in tax withholdings to the city of Toledo annually.

Council could vote on the incentives during its next regular meeting Oct. 29.

In 1994, Owens Corning received a $90 million package in exchange for staying in Toledo with its 1,200 jobs.

About two-thirds of that deal took the form of a loan.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which arranged original financing for the 400,000-square-foot, $100 million waterfront building, agreed in 2003 to forgo about $18 million in lease payments and fees.

In all, Owens Corning saved about $65 million under that agreement in 2003.

The $10,000 for the Spitzer Building would be added to $5,000 that has been allocated by the Bell administration. It does not require council approval for expenditures less than $10,000.

Deputy Mayor Paul Syring said the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the Lucas County Land Bank have been asked to each give $15,000.

The land bank has been trying to take possession of the property for potential revitalization.

Mr. Syring said $45,000 is needed to “properly close the building,” pay utility bills, operate the fire-suppression system, secure the elevators, and other costs.

The 117-year-old, 10-story building will close Dec. 1, when the tenants must move out.

The auction of the Spitzer Building has been rescheduled for Nov. 7 in the county courthouse. A minimum bid of $266,117 — the amount of back taxes owed on the property and the fees awarded to the receiver — is required to participate in the auction.

Mr. Syring said the building has potential buyers.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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