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Published: Friday, 11/8/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Plan to build apartments by UT campus moves forward

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Plans to demolish a former night club, coffee shop, and other buildings on West Bancroft Street near the University of Toledo campus to make way for a 143-unit apartment building won approval Thursday from the city planning board.

Guy Totino, a partner in a Cleveland company that has developed apartment complexes near the campuses of Cleveland State University and the University of Indiana, told the Toledo Plan Commission the proposed complex would have parking for 445 vehicles and two to four-bedroom units to accommodate 486 beds to target students, teachers, and professionals.

Requests from the developer for a special-use permit and zoning of mixed commercial-residential on 6½ acres at the southeast corner of Bancroft and Westwood Avenue were approved by the commission, 4-0. Commission member Singh Grewal recused himself from discussions and the vote.

The commission’s recommendations on the zoning change and special-use permit will go before Toledo City Council for final approval.

Mr. Totino said after the hearing that construction of the $20 million to $30 million project would begin in early 2014 and apartments would be available for lease in summer 2015.

“We think the city of Toledo will be proud of the project once it is completed. I think it is the perfect complement to the University of Toledo,” he said.

Attorney Mark Rose of Marshall and Melhorn, which represents the developer, said buildings on the property, including the former Omni night club and Maxwell’s Brew and a one-story apartment structure, would be demolished.

A four-story building with a brick-and-glass facade would be erected near Bancroft and Westwood and the structure would have a common area and 3,000 square feet for ground-floor commercial tenants. Parking would be located behind the building.

The project is the second apartment development near the UT campus to go before the city officials in recent months. NRP Group LLC of Cleveland got the green light from Toledo City Council in September to build a 200-unit, 596-bed apartment complex at the southeast corner of Dorr Street and Westwood.

Diane Schreiner, who lives in Bancroft Hills, told the planning board she is opposed to more student-targeted apartments in the neighborhood because she believes the housing attracts crime and car break-ins and causes parking problems.

“This is the fourth student housing complex around the university, three of which are in our neighborhood. This is a total of 1,600 beds dwarfing our neighborhood of 450 homes,” she said. “There is no need for more student housing.”

The commission also heard from Kathleen Sallah, the owner of rental units, who said she is against the proposed complex, in part, because of parking issues. She said she fears the new projects will oversaturate the student-housing market.

“I don’t like the size of it. It is too big,” she said. “We are totally affecting the neighborhood again.”

However, Mr. Totino said a market study commissioned by his company indicates sufficient demand for the apartments. He said past experience in other apartment projects undertaken by his firm has shown that parking has been oversized with too many spaces.

He said state-of-the-art surveillance video cameras will be installed in the building’s common spaces and in the parking areas and security personnel will be on the property from Thursday through Sunday.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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