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Published: Thursday, 7/8/2004

Old West End complex sold in $4.7 million deal

BY MARY-BETH McLAUGHLIN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The Plaza Apartments, for low-income residents, is now under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo. The Plaza Apartments, for low-income residents, is now under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
FRASER / BLADE Enlarge

The low-income Plaza Apartments complex in the Old West End has changed hands, and the 160-unit property is now under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

Mareda Inc., the diocese's low-income-housing corporation, late last month used a mixture of tax-exempt bonds issued by the state of Ohio, as well as federal housing money, to buy the four-building property for $4.7 million, most of which paid off the previous mortgage on the property.

The property's former owner, Toledo developer Bruce Douglas, had turned the former hotel into low-income housing units for senior citizens two decades ago. Mr. Douglas' Harvard Development Co. is to renovate the building, a project worth an estimated $18 to $19 million.

Mareda, incorporated in 1977, owns 800 units in Toledo and Fremont, including Madonna Homes near downtown Toledo and Regina Manor in Point Place, which are for low-income families and senior citizens, said Sally Oberski, diocese spokesman.

The Plaza property at 2520 Monroe St. started life as a hotel, became apartments, fell into disrepair, and was donated to the city of Toledo in 1975.

It was purchased by a Columbus developer but, in the summer of 1979, during a strike by city employees, part of the main building was destroyed when union members fire-bombed it because of a protracted dispute with that owner over his use of nonunion labor in remodeling work.

The Douglas Co. took over the project, and renovations resumed in June, 1982, on the building across Monroe Street from the Toledo Museum of Art.

Mr. Douglas said yesterday that Harvard Development has started on the renovation, which is expected to take nine months and which calls for work on sprinklers, air conditioners, carpet, paint, and windows, as well as elevator upgrades.

He said most of the funds for the project will be from government agencies.

As a building is worked on, its residents are being housed in other complexes owned by Mareda or Vistula Management Co., which will continue to manage the Plaza, said John Kiely, executive director of Mareda and vice president of Vistula Management.

Mr. Kiely said residents of the Plaza Apartments must either be age 62 or older or have some type of disability.

They pay 30 percent of their monthly income as rent, including utilities, on efficiency, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartments.

Contact Mary-Beth McLaughlin at

mmclaughlin@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199.



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