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Published: Monday, 4/15/2013

Senior living project called ‘anchor for revitalization’

Toledo councilmen foresee growth in Southwyck area

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo city councilmen see the upcoming Genesis Village senior living facility at Reynolds Road and Heatherdowns Boulevard as a major catalyst for enticing development of the 55-acre eyesore west of it, the huge chunk of vacant land where the razed mall known as the Southwyck Shopping Center used to stand. Toledo city councilmen see the upcoming Genesis Village senior living facility at Reynolds Road and Heatherdowns Boulevard as a major catalyst for enticing development of the 55-acre eyesore west of it, the huge chunk of vacant land where the razed mall known as the Southwyck Shopping Center used to stand.
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Rarely does a renovated hotel generate such buzz.

But Toledo city councilmen see the upcoming Genesis Village senior living facility at Reynolds Road and Heatherdowns Boulevard as something more than a renovated hotel or even an upscale senior living facility.

They see that 10-acre site on the east side of Reynolds as a major catalyst for enticing development of the 55-acre eyesore west of it, the huge chunk of vacant land where the razed mall known as the Southwyck Shopping Center used to stand.

“You will become an anchor for revitalization,” Councilman D. Michael Collins told Jim Oedy, Genesis Village owner/chief executive officer, during a council economic development meeting last week.

Mr. Oedy and his partner, Dr. Nathan Hill, vice president of project development, were welcomed as visionaries when they outlined their plans for Genesis Village to the committee.

Mr. Oedy said the Genesis project has required an investment of nearly $10 million. The 170,000-square-foot site was used as a Holiday Inn from 1968 to 1995, a Ramada Inn from 1995 to 1999, and a Quality Hotel from 1999 to 2004.

Most recently, it was operated for seven years by Toledo’s First Church of God as the Genesis Dreamplex Hotel and Conference Center.

Some $40 million of renovation work done in the late 1980s upgraded much of its structural integrity.

Now, after spending $3 million to purchase the building in January from the church, Mr. Oedy’s group is spending almost $6 million more to convert it into 138 apartments, from efficiencies to two-bedroom units. Genesis Village will be marketed to the active, 55-and-over crowd.

The concept is to appeal to the aging Baby Boom demographic, the largest post-World War II generation with lifestyles known to be diverse and sophisticated.

The complex will set aside 30,000 square feet as common area, promoting more interaction among those who live there and younger friends and relatives who visit.

Features include a pool, sauna, locker rooms, fireside cafe, fireside lounge, a multimedia center with theater-size screen, a beauty salon, wellness center, fitness center, atrium for games, two courtyards, and a vegetable garden. Transportation will be provided for medical appointments and other short trips.

Rents of $1,800 to $3,100 a month will cover all that and other amenities, such as Internet service and utilities in all rooms, plus three meals a day planned by a gourmet chef. Everyone pays month-to-month, with the option of leaving anytime.

“If someone’s not happy, I don’t want them to keep living there,” Mr. Oedy said.

Councilman Rob Ludeman, who chairs the committee that heard the presentation, said the facility’s all-encompassing socialization opportunities will be unique.

“You’re creating a community within a community,” Mr. Collins told Mr. Oedy. “You’ve created a resort.”

That, Mr. Collins said, should motivate the city to up its game for the vacant Southwyck property on the other side of Reynolds. Mr. Collins and others vowed not to let the area deteriorate more than it has.

“There’s a risk here and you were willing to take that risk,” Mr. Collins told Mr. Oedy. “We cannot allow that neighborhood to go into blight. If we do, that affects your investment.”

Much of the focus to date hasn’t been on the side of Reynolds where Genesis Village is located, but on the one where the Southwyck mall was.

This investment has shifted strategy, councilmen said.

The Bell administration thought it had a fabulous project for the former mall property near the end of last summer when it was approached by a group of investors that wanted to build a multimillion-dollar sports and retail complex there.

That project crashed less than 24 hours later, after The Blade revealed the Southwyck project’s developer had been sued three dozen times in Lucas County over such issues as back taxes and foreclosures. Mayor Mike Bell subsequently withdrew his request to council for a $50,000 loan to advance that project and demoted an administration official who had touted it.

“One of our goals here is to be a catalyst for revitalizing that area,” Mr. Oedy said. “We just see it as a way of bringing more people into that area. There’s definitely a sense of optimism.”

The layout of the facility, for example, will allow residents to have their grandchildren take a swim and go into a movie theater with them all under one roof, he said.

Mr. Oedy has owned three senior living centers in the Fremont area. Councilman George Sarantou said he has “tremendous experience and a record of achievement.”

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.



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