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Published: Thursday, 2/9/2006

City official says Fifth Third eyeing One SeaGate

BY JULIE M. McKINNON AND TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITERS

Fifth Third Bank (Northwestern Ohio) is considering relocating its downtown Toledo headquarters to One SeaGate, the riverfront skyscraper that would be left half empty this fall when Owens-Illinois Inc. moves to Perrysburg, a city official said.

No decisions have been made about staying in Fifth Third Center or moving, but the bank is weighing various options for improving accommodations for its regional headquarters, Karen Fraker, senior vice president at the bank, said yesterday.

She declined to comment on whether a move to One SeaGate is being considered for the 337 employees at the bank's quarters at Huron Street and Madison Avenue downtown.

One option, she said, remains tearing down three buildings on North Huron Street near Fifth Third Center for a parking lot and service lane, which after much debate received city approval a year ago under former Mayor Jack Ford.

"We continue to look at options that will help us meet our business needs," Ms. Fraker said.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who vowed to have One SeaGate fully leased within a year as he took his oath of office last month, said two or three local firms are looking at the 32-story all-glass downtown skyscraper.

He declined to name them.

"There have been firms interested in taking floors and space out of the building, and, in some cases, buying the building," Mr. Finkbeiner said at an impromptu news conference at Medical University of Ohio last night, where he had gone for a workout.

One SeaGate has 707,000 square feet of leasable space, and O-I has 200,000 square feet on most of eight floors.

The Toledo Fortune 500 firms plans to move by Sept. 30 to a new building in Perrysburg.

Fifth Third occupies 228,000 square feet in its current 17-floor downtown building. It uses space on the first eight floors, with one vacant.

Peter Braverman, president of Newkirk Master Limited Partnership of Boston, One SeaGate's landlord, declined yesterday to say whether the firm was in talks with Fifth Third.

Existing tenants, however, have been approached by leasing agents about whether they plan to remain.

It would be surprising if Fifth Third decided to lease space in One SeaGate, said one local real estate expert.

The bank not only has invested in Fifth Third Center in the last five years, but it would have to decide what to do with a building it owns, said Mike Poulos, a principal at CB Richard Ellis/Reichle Klein in Maumee.

Mr. Finkbeiner said the city would assist in getting One SeaGate re-leased by helping to attract entrepreneurs to the concourse, which has retail spaces.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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