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LISC, ARK turning former Wonder Bread site into mixed-use development

Published: Nov. 6, 2020 at 1:46 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Local Initiatives Support Corporation Toledo is celebrating with ARK Development and partners as construction begins on a $7.5 million mixed-use redevelopment of the former Wonder Bread and Hostess products factory on the riverfront in the Vistula neighborhood.

Using the ProMedica-LISC Health Impact Fund, LISC is providing nearly $4.7 million in financing to ARK Development, a local woman- and Black-owned business, to complete the project. The redevelopment will create affordable housing, attract new amenities and services, and strengthen the Summit Street commercial district.

“LISC is proud to use the tools at our disposal as a CDFI to support Wonder Bread and ARK Development,” said Maurice Jones, President and CEO of LISC. “The project is an exemplar of our mission to support under-resourced people and places, as well as build capacity of locally-owned developers led by women and people of color.”

ARK Development is led by Ambrea Mikolajczyk with Kevin Mikolajczyk. The couple began rehabbing homes, and in just over a decade, their company has expanded to include construction, property management, and real estate development arms.

Wonder Bread is ARK’s most ambitious project yet.

“Kevin and I are fortunate to have the support of so many community partners who came together to help us creatively figure out the capital stack,” Ambrea said. “It’s an honor to develop and preserve the former Wonder Bread factory which is a part of Toledo’s rich history in Historic Vistula.”

Built in 1924, the former Wonder Bread property at 1119 N. Summit Street Wonder Bread is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans to transform the long-vacant property into 33 rental units and 4,000 square feet of commercial space have only come to fruition through the support of many partners, including the City of Toledo, ProMedica, Finance Fund, the Lucas County Land Bank, and historic tax credit investors.

“At ProMedica, we are proud to help support this type of revitalization project in such a historic and valuable Toledo neighborhood,” said Kate Sommerfeld, President of Social Determinants of Health at ProMedica. “We greatly value our partnerships with LISC and the community. Our collective ability to leverage this type of investment will not only help revitalize and reinvest in a neighborhood, but will also have so many ripple effects in improving the health, well-being, and opportunities for our neighbors.”

ARK initially acquired the property from the Lucas County Land Bank in 2017. The Land Bank has continued to support ARK as well as the project.

President and CEO of the Lucas County Land Bank David Mann said, “If all it took to make a difference was an old building, the Land Bank would solve all our problems. In reality, it takes guts, creativity, and hard-earned investment. That’s why we are so proud of Ambrea and Kevin and their entire team for bringing this property back to life and changing the Vistula neighborhood for the better.”

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz thanked LISC and Ambrea and Kevin Mikolajczyk, saying “The historic Vistula neighborhood is critically important to our city and is well-positioned to benefit from the great resurgence of investment downtown in recent years. This mixed-used redevelopment project is a significant investment for Vistula and an important catalyst for similar economic development and job creation.”

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