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Published: Thursday, 9/19/2013 - Updated: 12 months ago

Work to start soon on office in downtown Toledo

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
An architect’s rendering of a building that Hull & Associates plans to build on Erie Street, next to the Erie Street Market downtown. A rooftop solar array will generate part of the firm’s energy needs. An architect’s rendering of a building that Hull & Associates plans to build on Erie Street, next to the Erie Street Market downtown. A rooftop solar array will generate part of the firm’s energy needs.
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The $6 million cleanup of a former industrial site next to the Erie Street Market in downtown Toledo’s Warehouse District is nearly finished, with officials who are redeveloping the property saying Wednesday that construction of an office building should start soon.

Hull & Associates, a project development and engineering consulting firm that specializes in brownfield remediation, purchased the 5.5-acre property from Columbia Gas of Ohio in 2011 with the intention of cleaning up the site and building a new Toledo branch office. Remediation work began early that year.

“The cleanup portion is just about complete,” company spokesman Kara Allison said Wednesday. “The physical work is done. We’re wrapping up the paperwork part.”

Officials expect to submit paperwork to the Ohio EPA for final approval by Sept. 27.

Columbia Gas had owned the site since the 1960s, though the grounds had been polluted by industrial activity dating back to the late 19th century. The Toledo Gas Light & Coke Co. manufactured coal gas on the site from 1887 to 1918.

“All of that was left at the site and covered over by dirt and the new Columbia gas facility,” Hull vice president Brad White said.

Hull, based in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, has Ohio offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Clairsville, and Toledo. The company says it’s growing in Toledo and employs about 40 people here.

Mr. White expects construction of the two-story building should start within a month or two. The firm hopes to move into the 25,000-square-foot office about this time next year.

Hull had several reasons to move from Glendale Avenue, including the desire to be downtown. But one of the biggest, Mr. White said, was that Hull wants to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

“We do this for a living,” he said. “We clean up these sites, and we want to have our office on a brownfield site.”

Hull razed the old Columbia Gas building, hauled off contaminated soil, and installed a barrier wall and groundwater treatment system.

Total remediation costs approached $6 million. Of that, $3 million came from the state of Ohio through a Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant obtained by the city of Toledo. Columbia Gas contributed more than $2.5 million to the project, with Hull paying the rest.

The city praised the redevelopment on Wednesday.

“That they would chose to locate in the Warehouse District, which is an up-and-coming area of the city, and to bring those jobs down here and contribute to the ongoing improvement of that area of Toledo, we’re really happy to welcome them down here,” city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said.

Hull intends to build its office on the property’s south side. The north half, which borders the city-owned Erie Street Market, will be marketed to developers.

“Any time you can demonstrate a core of business and residential development it makes it easier to attract other commercial development,” Ms. Sorgenfrei said.

Hull expects to spend about $2.8 million on the building, which will feature a rooftop solar array.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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