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Published: Wednesday, 10/30/2013

Council OK’s $7M package to keep OC in downtown

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council on Tuesday approved the city’s share of a multimillion-dollar incentive package to keep Owens Corning and its 1,250 employees in the city and voted to contribute $10,000 toward the cost of maintaining the historic downtown Spitzer Building in hopes that a new owner will take over the downtown structure.

Council voted 11-0 in favor of three separate ordinances to approve the Owens Corning package and 10-0 in favor of the money for the Spitzer Building.

Councilman Shaun Enright was not present for the regular meeting, and Councilman D. Michael Collins left before the Spitzer vote.

The $7 million package the city approved will keep the Fortune 500 company in downtown Toledo until at least 2030 instead of possibly leaving when its lease on its headquarters expires in 2015. The company has agreed to add 50 jobs downtown within three years.

Included in the deal is an 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 annual payments of $363,355 in lieu of taxes to Toledo Public Schools for an eight-year total of $2.9 million, according to a report from city attorney Eileen Granata. Additionally, TPS will receive $69,356 in tax revenue from the land.

Also, Owens Corning will get the land where its headquarters sits, contingent upon the company remaining until 2030. 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 $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.

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 reset 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.

Council on Tuesday also voted 10-1 in favor of a resolution supporting the Toledo Public Schools five-year, 6.5-mill renewal levy on Tuesday’s ballot. Councilman Tom Waniewski voted against the resolution. Mr. Waniewski said he typically votes against all resolutions urging voters to either support or reject a ballot issue.

In other business, council put off a vote to allow a convenience store at 1223 N. Byrne Rd. to add fuel pumps. The request was controversial because about 200 people who live near the carryout oppose the addition of fuel pumps, said Councilman Tyrone Riley. Mr. Riley asked council to vote on the request Tuesday, but Councilman Rob Ludeman and Mr. Collins asked for a two-week delay.

Council also voted 9-2 to approve a special-use permit to expand a halfway house at 2012 Madison Ave. from 40 beds to 64 beds. Councilmen Paula Hicks-Hudson and Lindsay Webb voted against.

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



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