Demolition work began this week on buildings recently purchased by ProMedica in the former Colony Shopping Center area at Monroe Street and West Central Avenue, the latest expansion on the Toledo Hospital campus.
The property, bought on Dec. 14, is just west of St. Bernard Drive. ProMedica already expanded on land east of the street and north of West Central Avenue when it purchased and bulldozed the former Colony shopping complex in the 1990s and built two medical buildings.
Construction is under way in portions of the east side of St. Bernard Drive after ProMedica bought the lone house on the block south of Giant Street in April, 2012, and razed the home. ProMedica has said it plans to build a 55,000-square-foot medical office building, expand parking areas, and build a bus stop.
Now ProMedica plans to expand its “north campus” to the west across St. Bernard Drive. ProMedica spokesman Tedra White said the property will be used for future expansion but did not offer specifics.
She also declined to discuss when the demolition or the expansion would be completed.
Kathy Winckowski, a resident of a home that is on the western side of St. Bernard Drive and just north of the demolition site, said she was told ProMedica wanted to buy her house for “green space.”
“I went to a meeting at Toledo Hospital last November,” Ms. Winckowski said. “At that time ... they were positioning the city for rezoning for [the east] side of the block. And we went to a meeting to see what it was all about. And at that time, they said on [the west] side of St. Bernard, if we were interested in selling to them, that they would like to be the first contact.”
Ms. Winckowski, who has lived in her house since 1982, said she wouldn’t sell her home because she didn’t believe the value offered was high enough and she did not want to have a second mortgage. Most of her neighbors didn’t either, but three homeowners did sell their property to ProMedica.
The Colony area was a hub of economic activity in the mid-20th century, with the shopping center and restaurants such as Brauer’s Delicatessen thriving. Built in 1941 in what was considered a suburban area at the time despite being within the city limits, much of the shopping center was destroyed in a 1944 fire.
It was successfully rebuilt and again prospered, but by the 1980s the vitality had been lost.
“When I moved here, everything that was [east of St. Bernard Drive] was already closed,” Ms. Winckowski said.
The shopping center was torn down in 1991. Twenty-two years later, the building which housed Brauer’s and the fabled Colony Restaurant is also being demolished.
Though a piece of nostalgia is being removed, Ms. Winckowski said she is hopeful the Toledo Hospital expansion can improve the area. Ms. Winckowski said she had problems with one of the old tenants at the site being demolished, a pawn shop called the Hock Shop, after cars would remain in its parking lot for months at a time.
“It was becoming between a used-car lot and a junkyard, and it was degrading the neighborhood,” she said.
Contact Sam Gans at: email@example.com or 419-724-6516.