Friday, May 26, 2017
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Developer: Kroger’s wasn’t only offer

Miller Diversified presented plan for Sisters of Notre Dame site

A Maumee-based developer said he wants to “set the record straight” that Kroger wasn’t the only business wanting the Notre Dame sisters’ 18-acre campus on Secor Road.

During the public hearing Thursday to rezone prime real estate at a west Toledo intersection to allow for a new Kroger Marketplace, Jerry Miller, vice president of Miller Diversified Inc., testified he made an offer to the sisters that would have kept the community’s 1924 Provincial Center to repurpose it as part of a wider multiuse development.

“We did make an offer to the sisters of Notre Dame back in 2014. We did make an offer at the price they requested,” he said. “We had proposed, in a very broad sense, a mixed-use residential type development on the site. Part of that plan involved working to preserve the Provincial House, which we feel is unique to the city of Toledo and I think is well worth preserving.”

At the end of the nearly 4½-hour hearing and after listening to the concerns of more than 30 citizens, the plan commission rejected the rezoning and site plans for the proposed 123,000-square-foot store by a 4-1 vote.

The commissioners forwarded the planning staff’s recommendation to deny the rezoning proposal to Toledo City Council, which will have the final decision on Kroger’s plans for the development.

It was the second setback dealt to Kroger by the panel in the last two years. The Cincinnati-based grocer failed to get plan commission approval for commercial zoning in June, 2015, and city council rejected the zoning change and site plans in November of that year.

At Thursday’s hearing, Mr. Miller said he was speaking only to address the past interest of his company in the property. He said he was neither in favor of nor against the Kroger proposal, which includes demolishing the Provincial Center to make way for the new store.

“I do not want to perceive or to hinge your decision on the fact that I am ready to proceed or move forward with another development. If it came available I would pursue the opportunity. I would love to sit down and talk with the sisters. They may not choose my offer. They didn’t before. That is their prerogative,” he said. “But I do want to set the record straight because it had been mentioned may times there were no other offers. I think the truth is important.”

Miller Diversified, a locally owned firm, has developed business parks including Arrowhead Park in Maumee and Briarfield Business Park in Monclova Township.

Sister Mary Delores Gatliff, provincial superior for the community, couldn’t be reached for comment. Craig Van Horsten, an attorney representing the sisters who attended the public hearing, did not return a phone call made to his office.

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

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