BOWLING GREEN - What's predicted to be an explosion of development in Rossford's coveted Golden Triangle was ignited yesterday when land sales totaling more than $19.1 million were recorded in Wood County for Bass Pro Shops' planned $50 million superstore.
The Springfield, Mo.-based sports retailer purchased just over 234 acres south of State Rt. 795 where I-75 and the Ohio Turnpike come together. Twelve parcels held by seven different owners were purchased at an average per-acre price of $81,615, records in the county auditor's office show.
Those who have been working to attract Bass Pro and other development to the area said real estate values in what is now known as the Crossroads of America are likely to skyrocket now that Bass Pro has officially staked its claim in Rossford. Other stores, hotels, restaurants, and leisure-type destinations like water parks are expected to follow Bass Pro.
"It will be more than a green light. It will be a magnet," said Tom Blaha, executive director of the Wood County Economic
Development Commission, of Bass Pro's commitment to build here. "They've got a proven track record. Because they attract such a large number of customers on a daily basis, it is to the advantage of other retailers, restaurants, hotels, and so on to be located really close to them."
According to records filed in the auditor's office, Bass Pro, through trustee American Title Agency, paid:
•$5.52 million to James M. Kolasinski and others for three parcels totaling 65.25 acres.
•$3.37 million to Mason C. Rowley for two parcels totaling 35.32 acres.
•$3.13 million to Jamestown Estates, Inc. for two parcels totaling 62.6 acres.
•$2,772,500 to William K. and Kristine A. Miller for a 15.57-acre parcel.
•$2,389,000 to Craine Family Properties LLC for two parcels totaling 35.11 acres.
•$1,425,600 to Frank R. and Betty Jean Schaetzke, Marie Winter, and Freda Schumacher for a 15.38-acre parcel.
•$506,400 to Church of God (Seventh Day) of Toledo for a 4.96-acre parcel.
Mr. Blaha said Bass Pro itself is only expected to use about a third of the land it purchased for its proposed 150,000-to-180,000-square-foot store, restaurant, boat dealership, and shooting range. He said the company would likely sell the rest of the land to other retail and leisure-oriented businesses that typically surround Bass Pro locations elsewhere in the country.
Brian McMahon, president of Danberry National Ltd., which helped assemble the land options for Bass Pro, said that in addition to the 234 acres purchased by Bass Pro, nearly 700 acres on the east side of Crossroads Parkway is under contract to developers.
He said on the immediate drawing board is a hotel-conference center, at least three other hotels, more big-box retailers, and an array of restaurants. He also anticipates construction of two water parks - a concept that has proven popular in Sandusky.
"And this is a much stronger location," Mr. McMahon said.
While development has been swift along U.S. 20 at the southern end of the Crossroads, Mr. McMahon predicts that the traffic pattern will shift to the north along State Rt. 795 with the arrival of Bass Pro. The Bass Pro location has the advantage, he said, of being visible to motorists along I-75 and the turnpike - and that's a lot of motorists.
"What most people don't focus on is that Cabela's is the single largest tourist attraction in Michigan, and it's located in little Dundee," Mr. McMahon said. "One of the reasons Bass Pro selected this site is that almost 50 million vehicles go by this site a year, which is three times the traffic that goes by Cabela's - after Cabela's opened."
Mr. Blaha said if Bass Pro remains on target with its plan to break ground in the spring, he would not expect it to take long for other development to follow.
"I think it's been a long time coming, but when it does come it will come rapidly," he said. "At one point Arrowhead Park out in Maumee was a lot of empty space too. This empty space is already annexed to Rossford. Utilities are in place. Zoning is in place. There is access in all directions with that major parkway down the middle. I see the parkway playing the same role as Dussel Drive does for Arrowhead Park."
Mr. Blaha said he also wouldn't be surprised to see someone finish the half-built amphitheater that the Rossford Arena Amphitheater Authority began constructing in 1999 but abandoned due to a lack of financing. The property was sold earlier this year at sheriff's sale.
"Within a year of Bass Pro being completed, I think the thousands of people that are going to be coming to the area are going to be too much for somebody to resist," Mr. Blaha said.
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