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University of Toledo: Development and News

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Article published December 04, 2008

 

Savage Arena ignites enthusiasm among Rockets' basketball fans

By MARK ZABORNEY

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

Toledo Rockets fans, from students to seasoned alumni, bubbled with enthusiasm as they took in the view of their old basketball home made new.  Some first knew the University of Toledo building at its opening in 1976 as Centennial Hall; others as Savage Hall, the name since 1988.

 

Ticketholders last night showed up more than an hour before the Rockets' home opener - the main event, after all - to wander and take their own tour, stopping to point and gasp at the $30 million renovation of what is now Savage Arena.

 

MORE: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081204/NEWS16/812040383

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Construction has begun on UT's new Indoor Athletic Practice Facility. The front page of the most recent Development News featured an article and artists' renditions of it (toledobiz.com). It will cost $11 mil and encompass 74,800 sq ft. It is due to be completed by the end of the year.

 

I went by yesterday and dozers were prepping the site (next to Savage Arena).

 

According to the article, UT was one of the few D1 schools around without one.

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While it is odd for a D1 school not to have this, I think this money could be more well spent elsewhere...

 

C-Dawg, I can't really disagree. The construction guy in me says 'alright, more work', but the pragmatist and informed citizen says 'really? this is the best use of $11 mil for UT?'. I think someone made a rather large donation to get this started (Savage?) so if it's being privately funded, what's the school gonna do?

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It seems to me there is a bit of an athletic arms race going on in the MAC right now.  This type of facility is going to be par for the course here in a few years.  Just off the top of my head, quite a few MAC schools have done some significant upgrades.  Miami seemed to start it off with the Cradle of Coaches plaza, the upgraded scoreboard and an entirely new visitors side of their stadium.  I think they have a fieldhouse in the works too.  I know that Ball State, NIU, and Kent have recently made upgrades.  Both CMU and WMU have very nice stadiums.  Akron has been leading the charge recently with a new practice fields, a new field house (very similar to Toledo, maybe a bit better), new softball field, upgraded track and field facilities and an entirely new football stadium.  There are also rumors of a new soccer stadium and also a new BB arena in Akron too.  If the MAC schools want to compete in DI-A, they are going to need to have top facilities. 

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University of Toledo makes moves to transform Scott Park

Alternative energy lab envisioned on campus

Article published June 15, 2009

By MEGHAN GILBERT, BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

The University of Toledo is taking a step forward in turning the Scott Park campus into a Campus of Energy and Innovation.  Signs off Parkside Boulevard have been changed and UT contracted with a consultant, BottomLine Resource Technologies of Columbus, to get the ball rolling.  The campus would be a hands-on alternative energy laboratory for teaching and research, as well as generate energy to reduce UT's carbon footprint.

 

The Scott Park campus has served as an overflow campus for years, and academic functions have been moving out of that location to the main campus for some time.  The time line for the transformation depends on finances, and Dr. Jacobs said it will be some time before programs at Scott Park would be affected.

 

MORE: http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090615/NEWS04/906150348

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Stuff like this new Gateway project makes me realize just how much attitudes have changed in Toledo over the past five or so years. This city wants to be urban, and understands it needs to change. Toledoans are starting to "get it." Pedestrian-friendly urban is the future. The city's historic preservation movement has also grown in recent years, and now the university has done a complete 180 from its days as a commuter school. Nearly everyone at UT wants the school to be surrounded by a functional college town with less car use. All that's holding Toledo back is having one of the worst economies in America. As soon as that changes, Toledo will become functionally urban again.

 

Article published February 11, 2011

Dorr-Secor area to be $12M 'Gateway' to the UT campus

By TOM HENRY

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

For Lease: Valuable retail space on the periphery of a major Midwestern university where some 26,000 credit-card-toting students -- many with sophisticated tastes and part-time jobs -- have only limited access to transportation. You'll get the support of a university administration trying to distinguish its campus as a more cozy, all-inclusive community of its own, plus as many as 93,000 other residents who live within three miles of it looking for ways to better interact with it. Unique opportunity for businesses catering to those who are young, outgoing, intellectually ambitious, and career-minded types who also have an occasional urge to unwind and blow off steam.

 

Any takers?

 

The two are about to embark on the first phase of what's called the University of Toledo Gateway project, one at the corner of Dorr Street and Secor Road that Fairmount Properties believes will require a $12 million investment. That initial phase of the project is expected to be anchored by a Barnes and Noble Booksellers store that will be at least two stories tall and encompass 16,000 square feet of retail space, making it the city's largest bookstore.

 

Groundbreaking will begin this summer if enough tenants can be locked down in the coming weeks to fill at least 16,000 of the additional 20,000 square feet of street-level retail space, Matt Schroeder, the foundation's vice president of real estate and development, said. Potential tenants include an upscale restaurant, a sports bar, and a bank. Several loft-style apartments are planned for the second and third floors of those adjacent buildings, he said.

 

CONTINUED ON BLADE SITE WITH RENDERING

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110211/NEWS16/102100370

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I really like this project - has the potential to be a great gateway to campus.  When I was in school at UT in the 1990's, this area was really the back door of campus, and largely ignored.  The Value City (Rocket Hall) complex had a welfare office, a wig store, and a Kash-n-Karry grocery right next to the classroom complex.  We never showed this area on campus tours when I worked for admissions.  I wish there had been a better plan twenty years ago when they acquired that land - instead of developing the crappy suburban-style apartment complex that is now Campus Village on the west side of Secor, it would have been nice to mix a couple hundred student apartments with some street level retail or classrooms on this side of the street.  At the time, the outlots fronting Secor weren't controlled by the University though, so it wasn't doable. 

 

Still, it's nice to see this side of campus clean up.  Just don't mess with my favorite college memory of buying alcohol underage at this joint: http://preview.tinyurl.com/67nxwjy

 

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^I agree about Campus Village. It turns out that company also did similar work at Michigan State and Texas A&M. Their infill track record at every university is pretty suburban. Interestingly, they have rehabbed some beautiful historic apartment buildings at Wayne State (similar to apartments you find in Old West End Toledo). So shockingly, their best work is in Detroit. I too wish they hadn't built suburban at Toledo, but hopefully new Secor development will overshadow that. Just look at how much things have changed in ten years. This new project looks like the best infill to come to Toledo...well, ever.

 

Long-term, that small strip mall with the liquor store is coming down. That stretch of Dorr is going to be urbanized.

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This will help UT. The quicker they can clean up the Secor Gardens area the better. It was SWAC and Rocket Hall during my UT era and a series of craptastic diners at the corner of Dorr and Secor. Of course, UT can only urbanize along its southern border because Old Orchard would never allow it. Now if they could just find a way to stop the wind from blowing away their students they'll be good to go.

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^I think UT owns those empty lots across from University Hall in Old Orchard and is planning classroom buildings there. So any infill in Old Orchard will not be the much-needed college town stuff, but more academic stuff. I do find this disappointing since Old Orchard would be a good place for a real fraternity/sorority row and a couple blocks of mixed-use commercial buildings.

 

The biggest problem UT needs to overcome is the east side of campus. Douglas, the rail line, and Westwood completely cut it off and make it a suburban disaster corridor (complete with the overpriced suburban apartment projects). There are a ton of students in that neighborhood east of campus, and they are very poorly served. I think they will need to dig a trench and build a cap over Westwood, the rail ine, and Douglas. Then they would have to cover it with commercial buildings/infill development. That might be the only way to urbanize the east campus area. There is just a huge swath of dead space between the campus and neighborhood.

 

By comparison, these south campus projects are easy. They just need to build the buildings on Dorr, slow down traffic (maybe narrow the street and widen the sidewalks), and add some crosswalks and/or pedestrian medians. It won't require major infrastructure changes.

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I'd heard that UT likes to keep that land in Old Orchard vacant to protect the views of UHall. They used to have academic offices in a couple of the houses up there, but they were already on main campus when I showed up in the mid-90s. My sense was that the neighbors were not fond of having UT spread north (and was the case east as well - though that was always more of losing battle considering the quality of the housing and the fact that it was squeezed between the campus and the cemetery.

 

There were plans afoot 10+ years ago to eliminate the highway like feel of Douglas/Westwood, but like the road system around UC, the urban planners and the beautification folks love the idea, but the cities can't afford it and the transportation planners point out that these are still heavily commuter campuses w/ sports facilities that need the capacity a few times a year.

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This Gateway project is becoming the talk of the far west side. Lots of people are interested in opening businesses there.

 

Published: 2/21/2011 - Updated: 5 days ago

Ex-Rockets star to open sports bar

BY SHEENA HARRISON

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a former star for the University of Toledo Rockets, plans to invest in the community that launched his National Football League career. The UT graduate has agreed to open a sports bar as part of the university's Gateway project, a proposed $12 million retail development at the intersection of Dorr Street and Secor Road. He expects to open the restaurant, which is as yet unnamed, in summer or fall, 2012. Though Mr. Gradkowski, 28, hails from Pittsburgh, he wanted to invest in Toledo because he considers the area to be "home." He plans to partner with Arnie's restaurant in Toledo to open the sports bar.

 

"We're excited to come in and join in what they're doing for the university," Mr. Gradkowski said.

 

The UT Foundation and Cleveland-based Fairmount Properties are working to develop the Gateway project. The development is expected to be anchored by a 16,000-square-foot Barnes and Noble Booksellers store, and include an additional 20,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Groundbreaking is planned for this summer. Other potential tenants include an upscale restaurant and a bank, the university announced this month.

 

CONTINUED ON BLADE SITE

http://beta.toledoblade.com/business/2011/02/22/Ex-Rockets-star-to-open-a-sports-bar-near-UT.html

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Published: 8/10/2011 - Updated: 3 days ago

UT officials break ground for Gateway Project

BY CLAUDIA BOYD-BARRETT

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

University of Toledo officials Wednesday broke ground on a $12 million commercial complex on the corner of Dorr Street and Secor Road, hailing the project as a giant step toward invigorating campus life and the surrounding neighborhood.

 

Called the “Dorr Street Gateway Project,” the complex will be anchored by a large Barnes and Noble Booksellers store at least two stories tall. Other tenants that have signed up to occupy the space are Gradkowski’s Sports Grille, Great Clips, Starbucks, and an as-yet unnamed banking center and sandwich shop. Student apartments will occupy the upper floors. The retailers are expected to open their doors next July, said Matt Schroeder, vice president for real estate and business development at the University of Toledo Foundation. The student housing, consisting of 48 apartment units, will open in August, 2012, he added.

 

CONTINUED ON BLADE SITE

http://beta.toledoblade.com/local/2011/08/11/UT-officials-break-ground-for-Gateway-Project.html

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Drove by last month, saw the beginning of something, but had no idea this was going on.  Glad to see it.  I always thought Dorr from Secor to Westwood could be cool central, especially on game days.  This is a big step towards that.

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Barnes & Noble store at UT opens up Gateway

BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Published: 7/12/2012

 

After years of planning and 11 months of construction, the first tenant and anchor store of the University of Toledo's Gateway Project opened for business Wednesday.  The two-story, 18,000-square-foot Barnes & Noble Booksellers, which will consolidate and replace the current university book stores, blends a traditional campus book store with the chain's superstore model.

 

In a way, it's a perfect representation of what the project aims to do.  Officials see the $12 million development, funded by the University of Toledo Foundation, as a new way to connect the university to the community that borders it and ultimately help spur more private development along the campus' south border.

(. . .)

Many of the Gateway Project's other tenants, which includes a Jimmy John's sandwich shop, a Great Clips hair salon, and a wireless-phone store, are expected to be open in late July to early August.  The secondary anchor, a sports bar owned by Bruce Gradkowski, former UT quarterback and current Cincinnati Bengals backup, should be open in time for UT's Sept. 15 football home opener against rival Bowling Green. ... The development, located at the corner of Dorr and Secor Road, also features 48 market-rate urban loft-style apartments above the shops.

 

READ MORE: http://www.toledoblade.com/Retail/2012/07/12/Barnes-Noble-store-at-UT-opens-up-Gateway-for-area.html

 


More about the B&N grand opening from WTOL-11 TV (aka 'Toledo News Now'):

 

UT's Barnes & Noble hosts grand opening

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I think this development turned out pretty well. It's attractive to drive by. The entire south side of Dorr St from Byrne to Secor is cleared empty lots, except for one big old house (Frat i think?). I wonder what the plans are for all of it. It would be prime for more mixed use development. Honestly I think it would be great if they just bought out most every business along Dorr from Byrne to Westwood, and made it all mixed use, urban/campus village development, then let those former business move back in. With a more atttactive atmosphere outside of campus for students personal time, I could see student numbers finally rising and they're being more demand for housing. Th entire Secor Gardens neighbor could easily become a big student neighborhood. It's currently a sort of rougher, but okay, neighborhood of families, but I could see it becomintg a student dominated neighborhood with its proximity to new development, in the next several years or so.

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^I agree about Secor Gardens. Rents got pretty bad in the eastern UT neighborhoods compared to the rest of the city, and if the Dorr stuff really takes off, I can see Secor Gardens becoming a student neighborhood. Secor Gardens is cheaper than stuff east of campus, and doesn't seem to have the anti-student bias of Old Orchard. It is ghetto, but such is the reality of UT's scene. Is Jake's still open? That was one of the only surviving student bars on Dorr within walking distance. It was a nice building too. I once went there when visiting some UT friends and had a good time.

 

I think Toledo should get super-aggressive about developing Dorr. Does anyone still talk about the streetcar proposal?

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Been a while since any posts on this topic. I've been wondering if theres any plans to keep developing the area around Secor/Dorr/Byrne? They didn't do too bad with the Gateway.

 

I just always wonder how there isnt way more cheap/easy food options, as well as wayyy more bars/clubs around the campus. Seems like you could easily attract these things if there were good spaces for those businesses to locate themselves in. You would think actually having a walkable business district, like a downtown UT, would make the college more attractive to prospective students.

 

What are the plans for the long, completely cleared out stretch of land between Byrne and Secor along the south side of Dorr? That looks prime. I also wonder if there may be a future where they develop some of the surface  lots at Rocket Hall. Continuing the Gateway project to the north up to at least College Dr or even the University Parks Trail....and to the east along Dorr Street to about where Rocket Dr is.

 

I'm not a kid anymore, so I wouldnt know...Where do UT kids even go out on the weekend in 2020?

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