Toledo City Council denies tax break for former Elder-Beerman redevelopment

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - What once was a plan to revitalize the former Elder-Beerman at Central and Secor in Toledo is now dead in the water.

"This was the right move for us to make at this moment," District 5 councilman Sam Melden said.

After weeks of talks, Toledo City Council voted 11-1 on Tuesday to deny a tax abatement at the site. Councilman Melden called it a tough but fair move after hearing from those in his district.

"My job is to make sure that when we make decisions here we're listening to the people that it affects most," Melden said.

California-based Niki Group previously filed plans to demolish the site and then build a new 50,000 square-foot retail space occupied by TJ Maxx and Bob's Discount Furniture. To make it all happen, the developer sought a 15-year tax abatement to offset costs for at least $1 million in asbestos removal. It's something councilman Rob Ludeman said is beneficial, which is why he voted in favor of the move.

"The upfront costs are pretty well known, and how is that going to detract from a potential investor who might want to build a store there," Ludeman said.

For Toledoans like Peggy Daly-Masternak, the site speaks for itself.

"If we're going to give tax abatements, why would you give it in the 'hottest' retail corridor of the city of Toledo?," Daly-Masternak said.

The longtime West Toledoan said neighbors want to see mixed-use space at the location with homes, local shops and other business.

"There's lots of different ideas, we just have not explored them," Daly-Masternak said. "We have looked at only retail, commercial."

Now returning to the drawing board, city leaders say not all hope is lost for the site as they wait to see what comes next.

"There will be future proposals, and to the degree that those need our input we'll vote on those as well," Melden said.

The Niki Group currently owns the former Elder-Beerman property, and it's unclear if it plans to sell the site or press on with its plans.