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Published: Thursday, 4/5/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Acme plant to be demolished

City solicits 5 bids for work at abandoned ex-Edison site

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The city of Toledo has owned the Acme building since 2003. Officials say it is a safety hazard that must be eliminated. The city of Toledo has owned the Acme building since 2003. Officials say it is a safety hazard that must be eliminated.
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What some see as a giant red-bricked eyesore in East Toledo's Marina District soon could be only a memory.

City of Toledo officials said Thursday they are moving forward with plans to demolish the abandoned Toledo Edison Acme power plant, which sits alongside the Maumee River on the former industrial site.

Tim Murphy, environmental services commissioner, said the city has solicited bids from five contractors to tear down the plant, located on 3.84 acres at 1522 Front St., and will start reviewing them next Tuesday. If any of the firms can meet the city's price limit — $35,000 for the job — demolition could start within two to three weeks, the commissioner said.

"This is an open building where there's concerns for liability of people getting in and hurting themselves," Mr. Murphy said. "Our concern is to eliminate that liability and blight."

The city of Toledo has owned the plant since 2003, when it took over the title for the building and surrounding property from Toledo Edison, along with $4.3 million.

Some of that money, plus millions of dollars more in state grants, has been used to clean up the plant and the land around it.

Joel Mazur, Toledo's brownfield redevelopment officer, said asbestos removal at the plant is complete, and demolition of the building can proceed. A portion of the plant has been torn down as part of the asbestos cleanup. Burge Wrecking conducted that part of the demolition and is one of the firms bidding to tear down the rest, Mr. Murphy said. Burge ended up paying the city $50,000 for the first job, part of the profits the company made from salvaging metal at the plant, the commissioner said.

Mr. Murphy said he is hopeful the value of steel remaining in the building will be enough to keep the city's expenditures low.

"The steel is the real value for most of this," he said.

The Acme plant opened in 1918 and closed in 1993. Some historic preservationists have said that they thought the unique brick architecture of the plant and an adjacent guardhouse are worth saving, but city officials have said reuse of the building is not environmentally feasible.

Once the demolition begins, it could take six to nine months for the entire building to come down, Mr. Mazur said. City officials hope it can be cleared in time for the opening of the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum, scheduled for May next year.

Chinese-owned firm Dashing Pacific Group Ltd. has an option to purchase the property and some surrounding plots. The company owns 69 acres of the Marina District site, which it bought for $3.8 million on July 2. Dashing Pacific has plans to redevelop the land into a multiuse residential and commercial complex, although few details have been released.

Toledo city councilman Mike Craig, whose district includes East Toledo, said tearing the building down is probably the best option given its state of disrepair. Developers in the past had talked about renovating the building. Most people will be glad to see the building go, Mr. Craig said, because it blocks the view of the river and is falling apart.

"I don't know if I'm glad, but I think this is still progress," he said. "From what I've seen of the building, I don't think rehabilitation is an option, at least not a viable option."

Knocking the plant down is also important because of the upcoming opening of the neighboring Great Lakes Maritime Museum, the councilman added.

"If people come to Toledo to see the museum, you don't want a derelict factory building next to it," he said. "That's not putting Toledo's best foot forward."

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at cbarrett@theblade.com or 419-724-6272.



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