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Published: Tuesday, 10/27/2009

Sylvania buys land along Monroe Street

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The city of Sylvania has purchased six parcels of land along Monroe Street near the downtown, a significant step toward a unified master redevelopment plan for the prime location.

Located in the 6400 block of Monroe Street abutting Ten Mile Creek, the property is being bought from Schwerkowske Family Limited Partnership for $735,000. Closing on the purchase is to occur before the end of the year, said City Law Director James Moan.

The purchase includes the former Nelms Building and a small strip center.

Tenants in the former Nelms building are expected to move by the end of the year, Mr. Moan said. The city plans to demolish the building next year, he said.

The building is an old, out-of-date wood frame building, Mayor Craig Stough said, and it is nearly empty of tenants. The property, he said, is "ready for redevelopment."

There are no plans at this point to demolish the strip center, city officials said. Existing leases with tenants, including a pizza shop and jewelry store, will be honored, Mr. Moan said.

Acquisition of the six parcels will move the city's goal of redevelopment to the next phase, city officials said.

In the last two years the city has purchased, including the new acquisition, about 7.5 acres for redevelopment along the south side of Monroe Street in Sylvania's downtown area. Some buildings on land the city bought already have been removed.

"Together with the other parcels, this newest parcel allows for the next logical redevelopment in the downtown and is large enough for a unified master redevelopment plan," said Mayor Stough, who noted the city for several years has been working to acquire these properties in order to assemble a large enough parcel for a unified new development in downtown Sylvania.

The city wanted to avoid piecemeal development, he said.

City officials will spend the next several months refining its vision for what would be the best development potential on the assembled parcels, he said.

Redevelopment on the assembled site possibly could include professional office space, restaurants, a book store, a coffee shop, and residential housing upstairs from the businesses, for instance.

"The right development will create excitement in our downtown and attract new businesses and new jobs, while providing new services for our residents," he said.

Because the city owns the land, it will be able to set requirements for redevelopment, Mr. Stough said. A private developer or developers would do the work, but the city can put into the deed or sale agreement what it expects, he said.

The assembled site is unique and desirable with its proximity to the water across from Harroun Park, he said.

Whatever development takes place, public access will be retained along Ten Mile Creek for the Sylvania River Trail project, Mr. Stough said.

The public access, one reason why the city was interested in acquiring the parcels, will be an asset to redevelopment of these properties, the mayor said. "The idea is to open up the water ways," he said.

As part of the River Trail system, plans include construction of a bridge across Ten Mile Creek near the properties just purchased.

"This most recent purchase also gives us the option to build the new River Trail on the north side of Ten Mile Creek in lieu of a temporary path on the south side," he said. The trail would run along Ottawa River and Ten Mile Creek near downtown.

Contact Janet Romaker at:

jromaker@theblade.com or

419-724-6006.



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