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Published: Friday, 4/25/2014

Industrial-park project moving along as port buys building

Eyesore to be destroyed as groundbreaking nears

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Another puzzle piece for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s effort to clean up the former Jeep factory site and surrounding central Toledo properties is in place.

The port authority’s board of directors Thursday approved the purchase of the former L&L Plating building at 936 W. Central Ave. from the city of Toledo, which had obtained it through a sheriff’s sale.

The building, on 1.02 acres near Central and Albion Street, has been vacant and derelict for years.

Except for its Central Avenue frontage, the property is surrounded by land the port authority had acquired as part of its campaign to redevelop the 111-acre former Jeep site and neighboring warehouse properties as the Overland Industrial Park.

The port authority will pay the city up to $30,000 for the property to match the city’s acquisition cost at the March 26 sheriff’s sale, including related expenses.

Port officials expect the cost to be reimbursed from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant.

“I’m very pleased to bring this forward,” said James Tuschman, chairman of the port directors’ facilities and development committee.

“I use the word ‘building’ very loosely — any resemblance to a building is purely coincidental,” Mr. Tuschman quipped to describe the structure’s poor condition.

Port President Paul Toth said he will seek state funding for the building’s demolition and other site remediation.

The port authority has spent $10,000 to extend a hazardous-waste insurance policy to cover the property, he said.

Mr. Toth also told the port board he expects a mid-May groundbreaking for a 100,000-square-foot warehouse or light-industrial building the port authority will build on the main 111-acre site on a speculative basis to promote the development of the industrial park.

The L&L building was not in the way of the industrial park, but is considered an eyesore standing next to one of the park’s main entrances.

Several other derelict buildings stand along Central west of the L&L site, but the port authority is not pursuing them because of their asking prices, port spokesman Holly Kemler said.

Also during its meeting, the port board awarded a $1,700,743.30 contract to Ryan Inc. Central of Janesville, Wis., to build a taxiway next to the north half of the northwest-southeast runway at Toledo Executive Airport.

Planes landing to the northwest on Runway 14-32 now must turn around on the runway to taxi back to the terminal area, which port officials and the Federal Aviation Administration agree is a safety hazard.

The contract was approved without discussion, but during an airport committee meeting last week, board member George Tucker asked whether the port authority could give preference to the only other bidder, HPH Mechanical Contractors of Toledo, whose bid was about $12,000 higher.

Mr. Toth said that could not be done because of the 90 percent federal funding expected for construction.

“Because it’s FAA funds, we’re not allowed to have a local preference,” he said. “As soon as you get one dollar of federal money, you live by federal rules.”

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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