Tech company Bitwise to open new campus in long-vacant Toledo building

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 6:47 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A massive renovation project in downtown Toledo is in the home stretch. Bitwise industries has invested tens of millions of dollars to renovate the former Jefferson Center.

Bitwise is a California-based business that focuses on building tech economies in what the company calls under-estimated communities, like Toledo.

The building has been part of the downtown landscape since the early 1900s. It started as a post office then became a Toledo Public Schools vocational school called the Jefferson Center.

“We are trying to redefine what the Jefferson Center means,” said LeSean Shaw, the Vice President of Bitwise Industries. “So for this building to be re-purposed and re-used for the redevelopment of this city to up-skill individuals, it’s nice to see it.”

After years of sitting empty, the space has been redone from top to bottom.

“Keeping everything historically accurate was a big deal. We wanted people to see what it was. But inside it is more energized at this point,” said Shaw.

LeSean Shaw is a Vice President of Bitwise Industries – and a hometown talent. Bitwise provides paid apprenticeships that teach tech skills and create opportunities in the industry. The goal is to provide good jobs and help retain local talent.

“You don’t have to go to Cleveland, Chicago, or Columbus. We are going to be an epicenter for tech and advancement here in the building,” Shaw said.

There are opportunities for everyone.

“Individuals that may have been overlooked. People who didn’t graduate from college, high school, people who may not have a career path. Give them the capabilities in tech and up-skill them with skills to build websites, web design, anything of that sort.”

The significance of the building’s location has not been lost on Bitwise leaders.

“We sit in between St. Paul’s Community Center and the Toledo Club, so our building is a bridge for a career path to success.”

The building will be open around-the-clock. In addition to the apprenticeship space, there will also be suites for co-working and collaboration, as well as suites that can be leased.

There’s even a restaurant that will be open to the public. There’s no set date yet, but the plan is to open the Toledo Campus this summer.