PS - Let's not forget that Findlay is also the hometown of Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback. Go Steelers!
PS - Let's not forget that Findlay is also the hometown of Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback. Go Steelers!
Interesting news from Toledo.....
The Shenzhen, China Connection
Shenzhen, China (just north of Hong Kong) is one of the world's fastest-growing cities. In 1979 the tallest building in Shenzhen was 5 stories. The community was so small it was considered a "village". Since then the central core population is more than 3 million and the metropolitan area exceeds 7 million. 346 skyscrapers fill the city, many at extreme heights (200+ meters).
A group of investors located in Shenzhan are known as Dashing Pacific Group. In addition to skyscrapers in that Chinese city the group pursues investments in other parts of the world. Including Toledo.
With a strong push by Toledo's "motorcycle mayor", Mike Bell, Dashing Pacific has made two large investments in Toledo.
About a dozen-or-so years ago, Toledo's municipal government created The Docks. It is a group of restaurants that line the eastern banks of the Maumee River, directly across from Toledo's downtown skytowers. For most of those years following the opening of The Docks the restaurants became "the place to go" for special dinners, good food, and (in the summertime) a really pleasant riverside setting. Boaters also enjoyed the accomodations. This Bear attended a few business meetings at The Docks. Nice!
The economic downturn hit NW especially hard (no secret there). The restaurants at The Docks changed and or closed. One of the groups that leased building space at The Docks is in hock on past-due lease payments to the tune of over $100,000.
Against the wishes of some Toledo noteables (Eeek! Chinese investors!), The Docks was sold to Dashing Pacific. Within a couple days of the deal-signing all of the spaces were filled and operating, just in time for spring, summer, and autumn along the banks of the largest river feeding the Great Lakes.
Note: The Docks are on the southeastern portion of International Park, a city-owned greenspace that also includes a small boat basin, volleyball courts, and a berthing space for a famous Great Lakes freighter (open for tours).
The Marina District
The northeastern potion of city-owned land (separated by Main Street and the Martin Luther King Bridge) is now called The Marina District. This area was home to the Toledo Sports Arena (demolished a number of years ago), boat dealers, undeveloped riverside property, and an old Toledo Edison plant. The city cleared the entire area (except for portions of the Edison facility) and put in a boat marina.
Original grand plans for The Marina District included retail, restaurants, lodging, and condominiums. The economic downturn tore apart those plans and The Marina District, now with some paved streets and ample utilities, sits empty.
Enter Dashing Pacific.....again.
Yesterday they sealed the deal with Toledo and purchased The Marina District. They will have shovels in the ground within a few months, with an eye to re-ignite most of the original plans. Impressive......how quickly they make decisions and how quickly they start digging.
China Owns Toledo?
Yes, many are questioning the decision to sell two prime riverfront parcels to investors from China. The thing is, without their investment these parcels would wither and die. The city government doesn't need to be a landlord for private enterprise......it cannot be afforded (even in the best of times). Dashing Pacific has pockets filled with cash. This gives them an outlet in the states for investment. I think it is good for the Toledo community.
These events have been noticed by the business press.
Footnote: Motorcycle Mayor Bell is planning another China trip.
This kind of dates me, but I can recall a time when the 'Chicken Littles' were all apoplectic over Japanese investors buying up investment real estate in the USA, then later on Arab investors were 'buying up EVERYTHING!' . The thing with real estate (land and buildings) is that it cannot be moved - you buy it with an eye on turning a profit on it where it sits.
Ohio ranked second in solar panel manufacturing, for the 1st quarter of 2011. Oregon led the nation by manufacturing 120 megawatts of solar panel modules. Ohio's total for the 1st quarter was 66 megawatts of solar panel modules. These two states have led the nation in solar panel production for a number of years.
Most of Ohio's solar panel production takes place in Metropolitan Toledo. And just last week a Spanish solar panel manufacturer announced plans to produce a large number of panels in NW Ohio's Napoleon, just upriver from Metro Toledo.
Why Toledo and NW Ohio? Because the area has always been the center of glass manufacturing and it was a natural flow from glass to solar panels.
Let the sun shine!
The business community in Metro Toledo is in a state of shock this weekend: The giant BAX Global Hub at Toledo Express Airport is closing. Nearly 900 jobs will be lost (about 250 of those are full-time). The 20-year old distribution and sorting hub, with major buildings lining the runways, is the victim of a changing business model for the parent German company. The North American arm of the parent company is selling their cargo planes and will concentrate on using trucks for their distribution.
About 20 years ago the lengthy runways of Toledo Express Airport were part of the package that allowed the Port Authority of Toledo to win a bidding war for what was then called Burlington Air Express. From a make-shift operation in Fort Wayne, Burlington moved to the giant sortation hub that was built on the south side of Toledo Express Airport. In its' first 15 or so years the hub was quite busy, with numerous planes flying in and out from evening through early morning. But as airplane fuel prices increased and the economy tumbled the relatively new owners eventually decided on this closure. Local officials were quite surprised with the announcement, especially since they had been working with the company on securing financing for facility improvements.
Note: The company told its' employees that any employee who talks with the media about the closing will lose their severance package.
About a month or so ago Metro Toledo was shocked to learn of the planned September closing of the giant BAX Global operation at Toledo Express Airport. About 900 jobs going bye-bye.
In the past week the area was thrilled to hear about Chrysler's future plans for the giant Chrysler Toledo North Assembly Plant and the adjacent supplier park. Major additions to the about 10-year old facility will lead to an increase of about 1500 jobs.
It certainly helps to have one of the most modern automobile production plants in the world. And long-term they are looking at developing a production line that can convert to different automobiles almost on-demand, with no change-over. This would be a first in the world.
The massive facility can be seen from I-75 on the north side of Toledo, just a couple miles from the Michigan state line. The plant makes Jeeps and other Chrysler products. Toledo has been the home of Jeep since before World War II.
9 bed, 8,300 square feet... what a dream
Construction of this Tudor revival mansion began around 1900 for licorice tycoon Alvin Tillinghast. However, he ran low on funds and the builder took back the unfinished home, eventually trading it for 12 Pope-Toledo motorcars.
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams
I know the house in Hink's post. One of my employees moved from a suburban earth-tone typical abode to a big near-mansion close to the house pictured. Years ago a date took me to a party at a ballroom in one of the houses in the neighborhood. Stunning!
Toledo's Old West End remains one of the undiscovered architectural treasures in the states. Encompassing 25 city blocks it is one of the largest collections of Late Victorian dwellings in America. Frank Lloyd Wright studied the neighborhood when planning his Oak Park Project.
I was in Toledo yesterday. Special Trip to the Lion Store to buy pants! Can't find em long enough anywhere in metro detroit so its faster for me just to go to see the Lion's above the jewelry department at Franklin Mall/Shoppingtowne.
Some good news for Metro Toledo.....Fiat is continuing their investment in Toledo's huge (and only a few years olde) Jeep Assembly Plant. Major expansion will bring a full 2nd shift, with hiring numbers to be around 1500. Meanwhile, another company has leased the giant and recently-shuttered BAX sorting facility at Toledo Express Airport. That will bring back most of the approximately 1000 jobs that were lost back in late August.
The Thanksgiving Weekend has been especially violent in Toledo. The past few days have seen 6 murders. The perps involved in 4 of the shootings have been caught. Not sure, but it seems that this may be a (sadly) record year for homicides on the streets of the Glass City.
Long-considered one of the "10 best museums in the USA", the beautiful Toledo Museum of Art is now over 100 years young. Amazing that a rust-belt city can have, and continue to strongly support, such a magnificent museum. If you are ever in The Glass City you should visit the beautiful campus of the Toledo Museum of Art. Awesome!
Regarding the art museum. I agree. It is easilly one of the best in the country. I grew up spoiled when it came to art. My first two art museums (for years were Detroit and Toledo). After going to others I have yet to be as impressed with the number of works or the quality until I went to both the Getty's last year. Getty's main draw is its beautuful surroundings (Malibu and High Above LA) but collectively it has an impressive collection.
With the addition of the Glass House in the Park Toledo's Art Museum now has both a great diversity as well as a unique feature that makes it hard to beat.
Forbes magazine released its' latest list of the 10 most miserable cities in the USA. Toledo is included in that group. This Bear doesn't agree. Admit, our burg has significant issues.....but it also has a long list of positives. Many have been mentioned in this space. 'Nuff said.
Dear Mr. Bear (and everyone else),
I've posted this as a general inquiry elsewhere. But since I'm considering paying a visit to Toledo, I thought you might offer a bit of insight.
I like to explore (and photograph) interesting and atmospheric urban industrial neighborhoods. I don't trespass, but I do take photos from the street.
I'm looking for:
-- Decrepit, weedy districts containing a large number of mid-19th to early 20th century factories, mills, warehouses, foundries (abandoned or still in use), which haven't been modernized, repurposed as brew pubs, or converted into "New York style" condominiums.
-- Neighborhoods that are big enough to occupy me for a day or two of exploring on foot (for example, the West Bottoms neighborhood in Kansas City, the North Broadway district in St. Louis).
Does Toledo still have any atmospheric/photogenic industrial districts that are worth exploring? If so, where are they?
You will find what you are looking for in NE Toledo. Heck while you're there, go N to Detroit and check out River Rouge, Ecorse, DelRay and SE Dearborn. Its only 45 minutes away by car.
Far too many of those kinds of sites around here for all of them to be Brew-Pubs!
Thanks for the suggestions, DetroitPlanner. I do plan to visit Detroit.
I've also just taken a brief tour of NE Toledo on Google Maps, particularly the areas bordering the river. For the most part, the industrial buildings look more "modern" and well-maintained than what I have in mind. Perhaps I'm simply looking at the wrong part of town.
The area around the old Jeep Plant would have a lot of those sites, as would the area where Detroit and Telegraph Merge.
Glass-blowing as a hobby got its' start in Toledo in the early 1960s. Since that humble beginning, generally because of the world-famous Toledo Museum of Art, the hobby (and, for many, the career) has spread throughout the world. Next month the Toledo area will host the Glass Art Society for their annual convention. Over 1200 visitors from around the world will attend.
On Tuesday the Hollywood Casino opens in Toledo. A couple years ago the voters in Ohio approved the construction of 4 casinos, located in the 4 largest cities in the state. A couple weeks ago the casino in Cleveland opened. Now it is Toledo's turn.
The investment is impressive. The building looks magnificent (1930's Hollywood is the theme, inside and out) although the location is in question. Yes, very visible and accessible from I-75 as it blasts its' way through east Toledo just before crossing the Maumee River. Many argue, though, that it should have been placed in the downtown area, adding to a CBD that has been significantly on the rebound for a good number of years.
For weeks the Detroit news rags have been gathering estimates of revenue-loss for their 4 casinos due to the opening of Hollywood Toledo (and the other Ohio casinos). Yes, a fair number of Ohio gamblers would head for Detroit to get their fix. Even the local Toledo papers (weekly and other) are now sporting advertisements for the Detroit casinos, something not often seen on Glass City parchment.
Back to the casino: Free parking (huge multi-level garage), thousands of slots and table games, 4 restaurants (including a huge sports bar), gaming promotions expected (as all gambling havens provide.....it's all about the comps.)
Wayback Machine: Years ago there was a huge glass factory along the Maumee River, just southwest of the casino location. The casino location was the home of huge sand piles, the sand brought in by lake freighters, ready to blend into the glass of a growing country. When I-75 was burrowed through T-Town the bridge over the Maumee River did not raise......stopping the lake boat traffic from reaching the glass sand piles. The piles went away, the factory closed (shedding thousands of jobs), and the site remained a barren field until the voters in Ohio said "yes" to casinos. As a kid in a flat-earth city I loved seeing the tall piles of sand, kind of an "urban dune".
Toledo is the 8th most-manly city in the USA. BTW, did you watch the fight? Wanna go off-roading? You should not put sugar and cream in your coffee. The mayor rides a Harley.
Toledo is not immune from gangs and gang violence. Toledo's murder rate is relatively high and experts put the blame for many of those murders as gang-related. A few days ago came a horribly tragic reminder of how that gang violence can affect "innocent bystanders". An apartment complex unit was riddled with gun shots. The shots killed a 1-year old toddler and put her sister (2 years old) in the hospital in critical condition. Incredibly sad.