Erie Street Market back in play - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Erie Street Market back in play

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The Erie Street Market has been in the news a lot over the last few years.  Toledo has tried to use it as a marketplace and tried to sell it.

Today, its doors are closed, but the city is changing how it plans to market the property.

What Toledo has been doing has not worked.  So the Collins administration hopes a change will get the building sold.

The Erie Street Market has been an eyesore on the edge of the warehouse district for years.  At various times it has been a concert venue, a mall for antique dealers, a spot for a restaurant, an entertainment and banquet center and a host to a number of small businesses.

But now, the Libbey Glass Outlet is the only business in the building.

"Right now, it's mothballed," says the city's new Director of Development, Matt Sapara.  "There's not a lot going on with it, right now."

Sapara sees potential in the building but the city wants to be careful.

Sapara says, "I think the worst we can do is try to fit a non-compliant use in there and then have a short-term success and a long-term failure.  That's not what we can do.  No one wins that way."

The warehouse district has seen a lot of investment since construction of Fifth Third Field and the Huntington Center.

People are moving back downtown.  The Stardart Lofts are nearly filled to residential capacity.  It is just steps away from Erie Street Market.  About a block beyond that are the Bartley Lofts and the Berdan Building– which will be renovated into lofts.

And the Erie Street Market itself is attractive because it's one floor and has a broad layout and it sits in a critical spot.

Diane Keil-Hipp, president of the Downtown Toledo Warehouse District Association says, "We really want to see some type of grocery store, destination market go in that space because the district desperately needs that."

The time may be right to market the building.  The credit markets have improved so the city will ask council to sign a deal allowing a local real estate company to aggressively market the building.

Councilman Rob Ludeman (R), who's also a realtor, thinks council will jump onboard.

Says Ludeman, "This is the way to go.  Put it in the hands of professional and let them do their work and earn a commission."

Right now, the Erie Street Market is costing taxpayers around $50,000 in maintenance… taxes and insurance, each year.

There have been some nibbles on the property, but no deals yet.

But it's hoped a strong real estate firm promoting the property will get some sort of a deal done by the end of the year.

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