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Published: Friday, 2/23/2007

Developer rents airport site, will build warehouse

Though not the first to propose building a warehouse on the south side of Toledo Express Airport, an Oregon firm may be the first to actually build one.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors yesterday approved leasing five acres on Air Cargo Parkway to Cedar Point Development LLC for construction of a 100,000-square-foot warehouse.

The board also granted Cedar Point the right of first refusal on 20 neighboring acres; that right would "roll" outward to adjoining land if Cedar Point expands its leasehold.

Ed Harmon, the company's president, said in a phone interview afterward he hopes to break ground this spring and be finished by fall. He said he expects to store a mixture of air freight and nonaviation cargo in the facility.

"We'll start with one building, then we hope to build one a year after that," Mr. Harmon said.

The Cedar Point project is smaller than a 400,000-square-foot cold-storage warehouse proposed by a Streetsboro, Ohio, firm, and the leasehold is smaller than 20 acres on the south side of the airfield for which Global Perishables Exchange & Express holds a lease option.

But Paul Toth, the port authority's vice president of technical and financing services, said agency officials hope Cedar Point's project can become the one that gets the ball rolling for long-sought warehouse development at Toledo Express.

"You've really got to walk before you can run. We believe we've got a first-class developer," Mr. Toth said. "If you only wait for the giant to come, it's never going to happen."

Mr. Harmon said he did not have a forecast yesterday for how many people his firm's first warehouse will employ.

Over the last seven years, he said, Cedar Point has built 900,000 square feet of warehouses in Oregon, Northwood, and Toledo that employ 400 people.

Cedar Point will lease the airport land for 20 years plus two 15-year options, and pay a starting rent of $4,000 per acre with the rent abated either for the first 12 months or until a building is occupied, whichever comes sooner.

To support the project and development of 245 adjoining acres, the port authority will spend $1.5 million on roads and utilities serving the site.

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