BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Nearly 60 acres of property tucked behind Design Memorial along the Anthony Wayne Trail are slated for a major economic development project. Commercial developer Joe Swolsky has announced plans to develop the property into an upscale medical office site with restaurants, a hotel and an independent senior housing facility, among other things. The property is situated between the Anthony Wayne Trail to the south and the railroad tracks to the north, with Monclova Road and Ford Street bordering the land east and west. “People don’t realize how much frontage to US 24 there is, and all of the undeveloped land there is behind there,” he said. Swolsky, who developed several Kroger stores in Northwest Ohio, including the store on Conant Street, has had his eye on the property for 15 years, but said that property owner Norfolk Southern Railroad has been reluctant to sell it until recently. He would not say how much he is investing in the property. “It’s a substantial amount,” he said. Maumee Mayor Richard Carr said that with a mix of businesses, the area would look similar to what is situated along Dussel Drive. “This is going to be a first-class, more upscale-type development,” Carr said. “This is the largest area market for doctors servicing patients who live not only in the Maumee area but in the Whitehouse, Waterville and Wauseon areas also, and I think the medical offices will strengthen St. Luke’s for the future.” Carr also said that having senior living space is something Maumee has needed for a long time. According to Swolsky, in the next month information regarding the specific businesses and organizations moving into the site will be announced and groundbreaking could begin in the spring. Some of the current homes and businesses located near the site will be cleared out and a new entrance will be constructed off the Anthony Wayne Trail between Monclova Road and Ford Street, he said. Proceeds from a Tax Incremental Finance agreement will be used to fund construction of the entrance to the site as well as improvements along the Anthony Wayne Trail that leads into the city, Carr said. In addition, a side agreement with the developer will support Maumee City Schools, making the district 100-percent whole. With the agreement, the district will also dedicate 10 percent of proceeds from those property taxes to school facilities used by the general public, such as the MHS Performing Arts Center, football stadium and baseball fields, the Gateway Middle School track and auditorium and more. That agreement will remain in place for 20 years, Carr said. “This is the first development since the 1970s that we’ve had a large-scale economic development project in which 100 percent goes to Maumee City Schools,” Carr said. “And this arrangement is really a unique combination of working together. It’s really a win-win for the entire community when you do that.” The property is currently zoned industrial M1 and M2; however, the Maumee Planning Commission will consider changing the zone to a newly revised zoning code that will be more restrictive, the mayor said. “The rules we will have by written agreement are that of the architectural requirements at Arrowhead Park. By doing that, we have more control over what goes in and what it looks like,” he said. Neighboring residents met with the developer last night to discuss the proposed development. Both Carr and Swolsky said that a border of trees and a significant distance will be implemented between any proposed new buildings and the adjacent residential properties located along Carney Street.
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