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Published: Wednesday, 2/26/2014 - Updated: 4 months ago

Council OKs plan to raze blighted hotel on Reynolds

Grant money will pay for demolition of Clarion

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The vacant former Clarion Hotel on Reynolds Road in South Toledo has been called a major impediment to development.  The vacant former Clarion Hotel on Reynolds Road in South Toledo has been called a major impediment to development.
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Toledo City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a plan to acquire and then raze the vacant former Clarion Hotel in southwest Toledo, at no cost to the city, as part of efforts to attract a new retailer to the Southwyck commercial district.

Council also voted 12-0 to spend $87,900 to repair a 48-foot by 80-foot section of Broadway near South Hawley Street that has been closed by a water-main failure.

Councilman Matt Cherry, whose district includes the former hotel on Reynolds Road, said the blighted building is a major impediment to development where Southwyck Shopping Center once stood.

“There are drapes blowing out of the windows there. It’s an embarrassment,” Mr. Cherry said. “I toured the building a week ago, and it is in utter disrepair. ... There is vandalism, people have been inside, and it is not only a blight, but also a danger.”

It will cost $842,000 to tear the building down.

The city plans to pay the expense with grant money.

Mayor D. Michael Collins said the city will acquire the 11-floor hotel at 2340 Reynolds from the Lucas County Land Bank after the title has been cleared.

A chain patio-furniture retailer is interested in making a $3 million investment to open in the nearby former Kmart store on Reynolds at Southwyck Boulevard, but only if the former Clarion is razed.

Kmart’s closing was announced in November.

TransCapital Bank of Florida took control of the former Clarion property through foreclosure in 2009 after its Miami Beach, Fla.-based owners, Toledo Hotel Investment Group LLC, defaulted on $2 million in loans.

At the time, the 206-room hotel was appraised at $2.1 million. Lucas County reclassified the hotel as forfeited land in November.

Broadway closed last week after a plugged water main blew out, with rushing water then causing extensive pavement cracks and heaves between South Hawley and Stebbins streets.

Ed Moore, the city’s commissioner of engineering services, said the street is scheduled to reopen Monday. Until reopening, traffic is detoured via the Anthony Wayne Trail between South Avenue and Harvard Boulevard.

The street-repair cost sparked a lengthy discussion among councilmen about pavement conditions and potholes.

Councilman Larry Sykes asked the Collins administration to take note of the condition of Collingwood Boulevard. He also asked if the city was able to hold contractors accountable for damage to newly built streets.

“I want to be sure the product we are requiring them to use, that they are using it and not taking advantage,” Mr. Sykes said.

Robin Whitney, Toledo’s director of public utilities, said city officials ordered contractors to repave parts of Secor Road last year and Detroit Avenue in 2012 after discovering substandard pavement.

Councilman Theresa Gabriel — a retired high-ranking city employee who in 1997 was appointed commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor — questioned if city employees are trained properly to fill potholes with “cold patch.”

City employees filed 2,873 potholes last week. The year-to-date total as of Friday was 12,664, according to city records.

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



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