Reimagining Downtown Toledo
The Land Bank is pleased to release Phase 1 of a two-phase Request for Proposals to interested developers for the Four Corners Project.
The Land Bank and its partners, the City of Toledo, the Board of Lucas County Commissioners, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and ConnecToledo, desire the Four Corners Project to be a signature urban real estate redevelopment project that returns population density to this key junction of downtown Toledo, enhances the street level vibrancy at the corner of Madison Avenue and Huron Street, and catalyzes additional inclusive economic development in the surrounding area. We believe that this vision will only happen through a creative public-private partnership, and in that spirit, we look forward to working with interested developers to identify and support a future for these important buildings.
Phase 1 of this RFP process opened on July 18, 2022, and proposals from interested developers are due by August 22, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET. Proposals will be reviewed and up to five developers will be shortlisted and invited to participate in Phase 2 as early as September 13, 2022. Complete details of the process and all relevant documents can be found below.
Four Corners Project - Request for Proposals Phase 1
- Request for Proposals, Phase 1
- Four Corners Feasibility Study
- Spitzer Building Phase 1 ESA + Asbestos & Lead Paint Survey
- Nicholas Building Phase 1 ESA & Asbestos Survey
- August 2, 2022 Phase 1 Pre-Proposal Meeting | Agenda & Participants (updated 8.5.22)
Downtown Toledo Momentum
Downtown Toledo is experiencing a renaissance. Over the last ten years, public and private partners have driven $1 billion of investment in Toledo's central business district and surrounding neighborhoods. Linked below is a summary of that development momentum and key downtown planning documents relevant to the Four Corners Project.
- Summary of Major Investments 2012-2022
- Master Plan
- A Study of the Value of Downtown Toledo, Ohio by the International Downtown Association
- Housing Market Analysis
- Off-Street Parking Study & On-Street Parking Collaborative
- Transportation Study
The window to submit questions under Phase 1 of the RFP has closed. All questions and responses received are listed below.
Question: Section 10 of the RFP on page 18 says that the pre-proposal meeting is mandatory, but this is inconsistent with Section 5 on page 11. Is the pre-proposal meeting on August 2nd mandatory? Answer: No. That was an error in the document and page 18 has been updated to remove the word mandatory.
Question: What will Phase 2 of the RFP require? Answer: The Phase 1 RFP describes the fundamental expectations of Phase 2. Those developers shortlisted and invited to participate in Phase 2 will receive a complete explanation of expectations and sufficient time to respond.
Question: When will the environmental abatement work take place? Will the final scope of this work be shared with developers, and what work will remain following the Land Bank's investment, if any? Answer: The Land Bank is preparing bidding documents for the environmental abatement work at both buildings, and work is expected to begin concurrently with this RFP process. The final scope of abatement work for both buildings will be posted on this page when complete. The Land Bank is endeavoring to complete a substantial portion of the environmental abatement work with available grant funds, but it is likely that additional environmental abatement will need to be completed by a developer in concert with the developer's plans.
Question: Will the CAD files created for the Feasibility Study be available to developers? Answer: We have inquired with our Feasibility Study contractor regarding these files, and if they are available, developers shortlisted and invited to participate in Phase 2 will be given access to them.
Question: Is the Land Bank open to transferring title to the buildings prior to a selected developer finalizing its capital stack? Answer: Yes. The Land Bank is open to a variety of strategies in this public-private partnership in order to maximize the chances of a successful redevelopment of these buildings.
Question: Will the project be subject to federal or state prevailing wage requirements? Answer: The answer to this question may depend on the capital sources used for redevelopment. It is the goal of the Land Bank and its public partners to ensure that local, responsible, and union labor be used in the redevelopment of these buildings whenever possible.
Question: Does the project have a specific affordable housing requirement? Answer: No. The Phase 1 RFP describes the Land Bank's goal of assuring affordability within the buildings, whether in a naturally occurring or subsidized manner, but developers retain flexibility within their final proposals toward achieving this important community goal.
Question: When were the MEP systems last updated in each building? Answer: We do not have a definite answer for either building. The Nicholas Building was operated as Class-B office space and the headquarters of a large downtown employer until 2009. The Spitzer Building was closed in 2014 due to a lack of a building-wide fire suppression system, among other compliance problems.
Question: What are the operating costs for each building? Answer: We do not have an answer to this question. Neither building has been operated by the Land Bank and both have been closed for at least 8 years.
Question: Is the August 10, 2022 deadline for questions the deadline for the entire project or solely for Phase 1 of the RFP? Answer: The deadline is solely for Phase 1 of the RFP. There will be a robust opportunity for discussion and questions in Phase 2 as well.
Question: Under the section 'Development Capacity and Experience with Projects of a Similar Scope,' the first bullet point asks for a description of each of the development team members, and the second bullet asks for biographies or resumes of the team members. What is the difference between those two requests? Answer: In the first bullet point, we are seeking a list and description of the companies that will make up the development team (e.g., developer, architect, construction firm, legal counsel, etc.). In the second bullet point, we are seeking biographies or resumes of the key individuals that will be involved with the project. Any good faith effort to provide us with this information in your RFP response will be acceptable.
Question: Were the apartment units and layouts in the Feasibility Study based on the architect's interpretation of the September 2021 Market Study, or was the goal to maximize the number of potential units? Answer: It is our understanding that the layouts were designed to maximize the number of units while still being feasible within the context of these original office spaces. Other unit quantities and layouts are certainly possible.
Question: Have there been any other recent projects in downtown Toledo that had a similar public / private partnership structure as the RFP suggests? Answer: The recently renovated Hilton Garden Inn - Homewood Suites property is a public-private partnership between the Board of Lucas County Commissioners and a private developer.
Question: In your opinion, what prevented other developers in the past from redeveloping these properties? Answer: These properties have never had a chance to be redeveloped. There were last operated as office buildings for downtown tenants, before being sold in 2009-2010 to a speculative owner who never operated them or made meaningful investments. The Land Bank has owned them since 2020 after we acquired them through an abandoned property tax foreclosure.
History & Future
For 115 years, the corner of Madison and Huron in downtown Toledo has been the home of the Spitzer and Nicholas buildings. With the Nasby building and the downtown headquarters of Huntington Bank to the south, this remains the only corner where all four original buildings still stand.
These two buildings, which comprise over 500,000 square feet of total space, were among the first major skyscrapers to be built in this country. For decades, they were an epicenter of the local business community, especially the hundreds of local attorneys and law offices that once made the Spitzer building their home.
However, during a period of changes for downtown Toledo that were made worse by the Great Recession, the Spitzer and Nicholas buildings were sold to an out-of-state owner who promised grand things for these classic structures. Sadly, after more than a decade of false starts, unpaid debts, and prosecution for nuisance conditions, no plans had materialized.
So, the Land Bank, working closely with its city and county partners, took steps to acquire these abandoned buildings through receivership and tax foreclosure. Using the tools available to address such property challenges, the Land Bank took ownership in August 2020.
Control of these important buildings presents a historic opportunity to redevelop them for the betterment of downtown Toledo and the entire surrounding community. The 22nd Century Committee's Downtown Toledo Master Plan called for a strategy to rehabilitate these buildings to "catalyze" other important developments in the neighborhood. This is exactly what the Land Bank and partners are now doing.
A Feasibility Study completed by Sandvick Architects and partners in 2022 offers a dynamic vision for the Spitzer and Nicholas Buildings, with each incorporating a mixture of residential and commercial uses that will continue to breathe new life and energy into downtown Toledo. Restoring these historic buildings to their original layouts and former glory is a top priority as the Land Bank and partners begin the work to identify qualified developers.
Brownfield Remediation Program investments by the State of Ohio in 2022 will help to clean up major environmental problems with the buildings. Over $1.5 million will be used to abate asbestos, remove lead paint, and clean up other hazardous materials. This major investment is a shot in the arm toward the overall redevelopment of these buildings.
The Project Partners
From owners to development professionals, the Four Corners Project Partners are working together to make key decisions regarding the future of these important buildings. The partners include representatives from the Land Bank, the City of Toledo, ConnecToledo: the downtown Toledo development corporation, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and the Board of Lucas County Commissioners.