A view of the ballpark from 28 St. Clair Street. The rooftop deck is called High Five. Hensville, an area with rehabilitated buildings with retail, office and dining spaces, will open Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day.
After more than two years of planning and construction to restore old buildings and create an events park, the public finally will get its first look this week at the Toledo Mud Hens’ new Hensville entertainment district.
The $21 million mixed-use development of restaurants, office and event space, and retail shops anchored at Fifth Third Field in the Toledo Warehouse District is set to open its doors on Thursday for a series of St. Patrick’s Day festivities that will last through the weekend.
Renovated old buildings attached to the stadium and across North St. Clair Street have elaborate, modern banquet rooms, an upscale, casual-dining restaurant, craft beer tap room, rooftop decks and suites that offer amazing views of the ball park, the Maumee River, and downtown Toledo skyline.
A run-down parking lot near the stadium was transformed into Hensville Park, an outdoor events center that can accommodate up to 3,000 people for festivals, concerts, and community activities.
Visitors to Mud Hens games will have a new entrance through the refurbished 1880s buildings at 3 and 9 N. St. Clair, and once inside they can browse the expanded Swamp Shop for T-shirts, ball caps, and souvenirs.
A new retail shop, Holy Toledo, also located near the entrance, is offering clothing, glasses, and novelties with a Toledo theme.
The entrance, which features the building’s original decorative columns, will get patrons into the restaurant and bar called Nine, which the Mud Hens say will offer familiar food prepared in an elegant, creative style.
The third floor, an expansion of the Mud Hens’ Roost, serves as rental space for banquets, wedding receptions, conferences, and other events. It has access to the party decks, Roof Top on Nine, and Top of Nine, which offers views of the stadium and Warehouse District.
Fleetwood’s Tap Room, located on ground level of the Fleetwood Building at 28 N. St. Clair, is to offer 48 varieties of craft beer on tap, with 36 of those being changed quarterly. There also will be limited releases of craft beers that will change more quickly.
The four-story Fleetwood Building, once home to a candy and tobacco warehouse, will offer birds-eye views into the Mud Hens playing field from suites on the second and third floors. The large video scoreboard was removed from Fifth Third Field’s right field area to give the suites and the roof-top party deck unobstructed views.
The Armory, a banquet and event area that features expansive windows and high ceilings, is on the fourth floor of the Fleetwood Building, and it offers visitors access to the rooftop deck, High Five, which offers great views of Fifth Third Field and downtown.
The Fleetwood Building will be the venue for the development’s opening events on Thursday, and include performances by the Toledo Opera and Toledo Symphony Orchestra, an Irish quartet, and a rooftop DJ party.
Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, a three-piece folk group, will headline the first concert on Saturday in Hensville Park.
Mike Keedy, director of events and entertainment, works on the first floor of 9 North St. Clair Street. The doors behind him, which open onto North St. Clair Street, will offer a way into the Swamp Shop and the stadium.
Michael Keedy, director of events and entertainment for the Mud Hens, said entertainment ranging from concerts to festivals will be held in the park, rooftop decks, and other venues in the development throughout the summer.
A Friday night concert series is scheduled from April through September in Hensville Park. Bands will perform on a mobile stage, which can be moved to St. Clair Street to accommodate larger audiences.
“The best way to describe it is eclectic. There will be be some classic rock, newgrass, Americana, blues, and even an Elvis tribute show,” he said.
The Mud Hens hope to highlight local up-and-coming bands and performers.
Andi Roman, the ball club’s communication director, said the soft openings are set for Nine, Fleetwood’s Tap Room, Swamp Shop, Holy Toledo, and other venues through opening day on April 7.
The official grand opening for Hensville will be part of the Mud Hens’ opening day festivities. A block party and all-day music festival will begin at noon and will feature 14 bands performing at the rooftop decks, the Fleetwood Building, Hensville Park, and the Birdcage in Fifth Third Field.
The project was assisted with $3.5 million in state historic preservation tax credits and $3.9 million in federal historic tax credits, incentives that required extra work from architects and general contractor Lathrop Co. to maintain the buildings’ historical integrity.
Ms. Roman said 144 windows were pulled during early construction from the three buildings and sent out for the wood frames to be refurbished and fitted with energy-efficient glass, and outside brick was given tuck-pointing repairs.
Other architectural artifacts were saved. Old steel vaults discovered inside 3 St. Clair that were refurbished and wood support beams salvaged from a building demolition for the project were repurposed to create support columns in Nine restaurant. Embossed tin tiles saved from the original ceiling were reinstalled in the Fleetwood Building.
“It is part of the history of the buildings,” Ms. Roman said. “It is interesting to know that a lot of the history has been brought back to life.”
The restaurants, bars, and event space will add to the more than 20 eateries in the Toledo Warehouse District.
Diane Keil Hipp, president of the warehouse district association, said the restorations of the old buildings completes the redevelopment of the two-block section of St. Clair.
“There is no doubt about this being a catalyst project for the neighborhood,” she said. “Those corner buildings at the ball park were a holdout and sat for all this time when other buildings had been renovated. It really brings a lot to the district to finish off St. Clair Street.”
Information about the events at Hensville are available at hensvilletoledo.com.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.
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