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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

East side, Levis Commons in developer's growth sights

One of metro Toledo's best-known developers, Larry Dillin, told a group of business leaders yesterday he anticipates announcing $150 million in new projects at Levis Commons in Perrysburg in the next 30 to 90 days.

He also said his vision for the proposed Marina District across from downtown Toledo will include the rejuvenation of the adjacent Garfield neighborhood and remaking Main Street in East Toledo to be pedestrian-friendly.

"What we're interested in doing is creating communities that are sustainable over time," the president of Dillin Development Corp. told the Toledo Area Small Business Association.

Likely upcoming projects at Levis Commons, which now has stores, restaurants, offices, and housing, include a hotel and convention center, as well as a national comedy club, and possibly a blues club and a jazz club.

Not as far along, but even broader in scope, are plans for the 125-acre Marina District slated for a former neglected industrial site on the East Toledo riverfront.

For it to be successful, the project needs to find a way to tie in with the successful Docks restaurant complex across Main Street from the Sports Arena, as well as to rejuvenate the adjacent Garfield neighborhood and the commercial corridor along Main Street in East Toledo, he said.

Speaking of the neighboring homes called the Garfield neighborhood: "Wouldn't it be great to stabilize that area so [property owners] will invest again?" he asked the audience.

He said he hopes to have a plan ready for the public by the end of next month.

But, he added, all the projects will be done when the timing is right and financing is in place.

"These are very complex projects. They have to be well thought out because there's more of a chance to fail than to succeed," Mr. Dillin said.

- Mary-Beth McLaughlin



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