Toledo leaders work to boost retail development downtown

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – There are a lot of new developments happening in downtown Toledo right now. As we reported, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in projects along Summit Street. The renovation of the Convention Center, Fort Industry Square and the renovation of the old Park Inn are among the projects. But smaller projects, which include retail space and offices, are also popping up.

Madison’s 900 block is reinvented. It’s called Library Square. Once the open space has been turned into a busy city block, it will house everything from industrial companies to bridal boutiques.

Brooke Snider is moving her Forevermore Bridal Shop here from Northwood. She plans to more than double her inventory and hire several new employees before they open in June.

“We’re going from 1,000 square feet to about 3,000 square feet and one locker room to 2-3 locker rooms,” says Snider. “I’m going to New York and Chicago for work, and I want to bring some of them here. I love the feel of downtown Toledo and I really think this is the perfect place for my expanding business. “

Next to the bridal shop is the new home of the industrial company BMWC Constructors. The company moved from its previous office on Manhattan Boulevard.

“We decided to move downtown to be closer to the action,” explains Suzette Rushing, Office and Marketing Coordinator at BMWC. “It’s a great place. We can all go to lunch and meet up with friends. It’s so nice to see Toledo go back to what I remember as a kid, back to its prime.

City guides say this block is a great example of a new trend in downtown redevelopment. It’s about more than entertainment.

“In any healthy neighborhood, there are goods and services nearby, and we’re seeing more and more of them downtown,” said Sandy Spang, city commissioner for business services for the city of Toledo. “Everything from dog day care centers and gyms to retail space.”

The hope is that projects like this other company will inspire thinking about moving downtown. And this type of work has earned the city’s national recognition.

“We were named the number one mid-size city for economic development for 2020 by site selection magazine,” explains Spang, who says the best part of the downtown renaissance is seeing the results of seeds planted long ago.

“I have remembered the city center from childhood as an exciting place, and it is so gratifying to see how it is being redeveloped and how people can achieve their dreams again here,” she says. “It’s also a lot of fun to be a part of it.”

The City of Toledo has a number of programs that can help both large and small businesses in the city center to build business. Call the Economic Development Office at (419) 245-1614.

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