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Published: Friday, 9/20/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Plan for demolition of downtown Toledo building moves ahead

Mud Hens submit application to raze building, improve area around stadium

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An application to demolish a former plumbing supply store on North St. Clair Street — the first step in the Toledo Mud Hens’ plans to revitalize empty structures near the stadium — has been submitted to the city of Toledo for approval.

The Mud Hens are asking the Toledo Plan Commission to review plans to raze the four-story Consumers Plumbing building at 34 N. St. Clair, which the minor league baseball team acquired nearly two years ago.

The organization said demolition of the 120-year-old structure, which has been vacant for at least 30 years, is necessary for larger plans to redevelop the area around Fifth Third Field.

The request will be reviewed at the Oct. 10 plan commission meeting.

Under plans that Joe Napoli, the Hens’ general manager and president, revealed in August, the nonprofit organization is working with investors on a $10 million to $15 million revitalization project on buildings and property near the ballpark. The project would be financed through state and federal tax credits and new market tax credits.

Expanding the Swamp Shop, fitting roofs on the buildings with rooftop patios, restaurant and catering facilities, as well as residential, retail, and commercial development, are being studied for the revitalization project, Mr. Napoli said.

The Hens purchased the Consumers Plumbing building, the adjacent former Spangler Candy Co. building, and the parking lot on Monroe Street between St. Clair and Summit streets in August, 2011, for $935,000. Four months later, the team acquired two buildings at 3 and 9 N. St. Clair adjacent to the stadium, near Washington Street, for $68,750.

Mr. Napoli said the Mud Hens bought the property with the intention to renovate them, but serious structural issues in the Consumers Plumbing building are too intensive to justify the investment to make it productive.

An engineering report submitted with the demolition application said portions of the building require significant repair, reinforcement, or replacement, and problems include deteriorating steel girders in the basement and cracking and buckling in the front wall.

The Lathrop Co., a partner in the project, said it would cost more than $4.3 million to renovate the structure. The cost to tear down the building is estimated at $106,000, the application said.

The Toledo Warehouse District Association supports the demolition.

Thomas Lemon, director of the city and county plan commissions, said the planning board could approve the request or impose a moratorium on the demolition for six months. If the application is approved, and no one appeals it, the Mud Hens could begin demolition 10 days later.

Andi Roman, Mud Hens spokesman, said the organization wants to begin tearing down the building as soon as the application process is approved.

“If everything goes smoothly the next step would be the demolition,” she said.

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



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