Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Douglas gets agency nod for Toledo apartment complex

Developer Bruce Douglas won site plan approval from the Toledo plan commission yesterday to begin construction of a 65-unit apartment project near downtown Toledo.

The project, called Uptown Arts II, consists of three and four-story buildings that will occupy most of the block bounded by Franklin, Southard, and Vermont avenues, and Adams and Jackson streets.

Mr. Douglas, president of Harvard Development Co., and his business partner, Sam Thomas of Ann Arbor, Mich., plan an uptown arts corridor of businesses and residences. The first phase is a $5.6 million apartment building on 13th Street.

The developers added entrances to Adams Street and reserved more playground space inside the proposed complex to persuade the commission to reverse its 3-2 vote of Oct. 11. It now goes before city council for a rezoning approval.

The commission earlier approved Mr. Douglas' request to rezone the property from commercial and industrial districts to mixed commercial and residential use.

Commission member Sue Wuest changed her vote from Oct. 11 to allow approval of the project. She said she still believes the project is too inward-facing, without enough openings to the street to contribute to a lively urban community. But she said the project meets the city's design standards.

Members Rey Boezi and Robert J. Savage joined Ms. Wuest in support of the plan.

Chairman Steve Serchuk and commission member Bernard “Pete” Culp opposed it. Mr. Serchuk said the 1.2-acre project is too densely compacted, suggesting it would not be attractive to low-income families. Mr. Culp criticized the addition of low-income housing in the central city. The $7.12 million project is partly financed with $4.1 million worth of federal tax credits and a $500,000 city loan. Forty-five of the 65 units must be rented to low-income families.

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