Downtown booms, but Huron sits quiet

Published: Aug. 9, 2017 at 5:57 PM EDT
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Downtown Toledo is back. After years of buildings sitting vacant, Hensville and office space now draw crowds and local businesses. That is... except for one stretch on Huron.

"As soon as I brought that out there, it's what brought people here," Cilantro's owner Jorge Zapata said of his giant green balloon out front.

"And they're saying like 'that's what got me here. I didn't know you were open.'"

Since May, Cilantro's has been re-shaping Huron one taco at a time, and business has been solid. Owner Jorge Zapata says a liquor license is the key to getting a dinner crowd to return to downtown after the workday is over.

"Bring the atmosphere to Huron Street, because I'm the only facility in my block, between Adams and Madison, that provides any type of business," Zapata said.

This is Toledo's Four Corners, some of the oldest and most ornate architecture in the city.

"The City of Toledo owns the Nasby Building, and they're working with a private developer on that, re-working that," Cindy Kerr said.

Kerr is the executive director of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District and works with businesses and government to turn downtown into a draw.

"We'd love to see all first floor spaces in every building occupied," Kerr said.

She's also been watching Huron and property owned by out-of-town owner Koray Urgur

"The Nicholas Building and the Spitzer Building, which are currently owned by Mr. Urgur. And so it's up to him how he wants to develop those buildings, and so far we've not heard anything from him on an active basis," Kerr said.

Plentiful parking, a loyal following, and two bars have Jorge excited.

"To try to create something friendly and welcoming for everybody," Zapata said.

We talked by phone with Dean Ball, whose family owns the majority of the real estate on Huron, between Adams and Madison. He said that while many deals are in the works, they're still waiting for ink to hit paper.