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Published: Friday, 5/9/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Hensville’s early stage gets OK

Renovation of St. Clair Street buildings to begin in January

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Mud Hens plan to use historic buildings as a ballpark entrance. The Mud Hens plan to use historic buildings as a ballpark entrance.
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In two years, Fifth Third Field will have an additional entrance that will allow Mud Hens fans to enter the ballpark through historic buildings on North St. Clair Street, according to plans reviewed on Thursday by the Toledo Plan Commission.

The Mud Hens’ plans to renovate two vacant, 130-year-old buildings on St. Clair and another structure that houses the team’s corporate offices, the Swamp Shop souvenir store, and the Roost banquet facility were approved by the planning board.

The project is part of the transformation of old buildings and parking area on St. Clair into Hensville, a $21 million shopping, dining, residential, and concert district.

Ken Fallows, planning board member, praised the plans for efforts to preserve the historic features of the Italianate architecture.

“You have gone out of your way to retain historical aspects of the building as much as possible,” he told representatives of Tom Porter Architects, which is on St. Clair and across what will be the future ballpark entrance.

Andy Welch, an architect with the firm, said the three-story buildings at 3 and 9 N. St. Clair will be remodeled and incorporated into the adjoining 406 Washington, where the offices and souvenir store are now, creating a single $16 million complex.

The Mud Hens acquired the buildings on St. Clair in 2011.

The first floor will have a recessed entry that will take spectators through an expanded Swamp Shop and will feature a new restaurant and bar. A new kitchen will be added to the second floor, where the Mud Hens hope to develop a restaurant.

The Roost banquet facility in the building on Washington will be expanded into the third floor of the renovated structure, and a new suite will be added.

The roof on the St. Clair buildings will house a deck and event facility where fans can watch games. It also will offer additional space for the Roost.

Mr. Welch said renovation will begin in January, with completion expected by opening day in April, 2016.

The planned development on St. Clair also includes the renovation of the old Spangler Candy Co. building and creation of an event center and amphitheater for activities and concerts on space currently occupied by a parking lot and footprint of the Consumers Plumbing building that was demolished in January.

The Mud Hens intend to target the Spangler building for retail and office space and hope to use the roof for events and parties, similar to Huntington Park in Columbus and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Mr. Welch said his firm plans to submit plans for the second phase to the Plan Commission later in the summer.

The Mud Hens received $1.5 million from the state capital budget for the project.

The plan commission also approved a zoning change for land on ProMedica Toledo Hospital’s north campus.

Mark Rose, an attorney who represents the hospital system, said the thee-acre parcel will be made into a backup helipad for air ambulance use. It will replace an existing helicopter landing area, where the hospital will build the new Ronald McDonald House.

The future helipad will be built on three acres on ProMedica Parkway and adjacent to I-475. It was part of the land acquired by the Ohio Department of Transportation for the recently completed I-475 improvement project.

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



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