BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The sounds of construction – both new builds and renovations – can be heard both along Pray Boulevard and in historic downtown Waterville.
Waterville Landing’s population has steadily grown as single-family homes, apartments and StoryPoint Senior Living units have become available. The first of four 36-unit Waterville Place Apartments buildings is expected to open this fall.
That growth in population is driving business growth as well, said Gary Yunker, vice president of project development for Devonshire REIT.
O’Reilly Auto Parts purchased 1.5 acres behind Speedway to build a new store. Dave Riggenbach, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, moved into the retail shops earlier this year. ProMedica Physician Group of Defiance recently opened an office for doctors Amer Arshad, Samer Obri and Amjad Shidyak, specialists in internal medicine.
Of the 86.3 acres of commercial land still available, 37 acres are to the north of the O’Reilly’s land, 7.8 acres are behind StoryPoint and 44.5 acres are along South Pray Boulevard. All of the property is zoned commercial, Yunker said.
The most visible new project is the AW Auto Spa, just across the street from the Kroger entrance.
Those hidden French fries under the seat, the dead bugs on the grill and the grime on the wheels will all soon be a thing of the past. AW Auto Spa on Pray Boulevard promises the ultimate in a car wash experience once it’s finished this fall.
Brothers Brad and Mike Wilson, along with Nate Christian and Rick Lang, teamed up on the $3 million, high-tech auto spa that is expected to open in October. Local company Adohr Construction, owned by Don Taylor, recently finished the underground work and walls are going up for the spa, which will feature the “magic carpet.”
“You drive onto a flat conveyor belt that’s wide enough to even hold dually trucks, and because there are no rails, low-profile cars – even an inch off the ground – can get an awesome wash,” Mike explained. “This guides you through a smooth ride. No car wash around here has this.”
Customers simply drive onto the carpet, put the vehicle in neutral and the AW Auto Spa does the rest.
“There’s even a heated blow dryer and finishing module that applies tire dressing for a perfect finish. Kids might want to come along just for the amazing light show,” Mike added.
In addition to the 100-foot-long car wash tunnel, AW Auto Spa will have a full-service detail shop and free vacuums. Wash packages can be purchased and downloaded through an app and shared with family and friends via text messaging. Club members receive special access via a license plate reader and a speed pass-style dedicated lane, with monthly unlimited washes. Those who don’t want to use the app or buy a membership can use cash or credit cards for one of the four offered wash packages.
The building itself has two 30-foot towers featuring a brick and stone exterior, and a standing seam roof with Anthony Wayne Generals royal blue trim colors.
“We want it to look beautiful and hope that the growing AW community really embraces this long-needed facility,” Christian said.
Founders of National Payment Corporation, an international credit card processing company, the partners first began looking at land they own next to NPC’s current home on Dutch Road. As they saw the car counts at Waterville Landing, however, they decided that it made sense to invest in a site that would provide the most convenience for customers.
Also, due to NPC’s tremendous growth year over year and the need to add more employees, work has begun on NPC’s new 6,000-square-foot headquarters. The new office will be located on Pray Boulevard, adjacent to the AW Auto Spa, and is expected to be completed early next year. Once the new office is finished, the Dutch Road property, formerly Zinful Restaurant, will be sold, hopefully to a new family-style restaurant, said Brad.
Down the road on Michigan Avenue, a long-empty commercial space now has a tenant, Complete Care at Holiday Park.
For three years, physical therapist Andy Miller eyed the empty space in the Michigan Avenue plaza across from Conrad Park.
“This used to be a video store,” said Miller, who lives in Whitehouse with his wife and two children. As he drove to work to see the patients of Complete Care at Holiday Park in its Perrysburg and Sylvania locations, he began forming a plan to open a third location closer to home – and to patients in the Anthony Wayne area.
“I’ve lived in Whitehouse for nine years. We’ve had locations in Perrysburg and Sylvania for 17 years. I saw a great need in the area. I wanted a location in my backyard,” said Miller, who is the owner of Complete Care at Holiday Park.
The recently opened Waterville location is already taking patients, including one woman who describes her therapy as “more like a spa day” to her friends.
Growing up in Kalida, Miller learned about physical therapy during a high school career day.
“I fell in love with it. I get to see my patients get their lives back. I see athletes get back to the playing field, parents get back to playing with their kids and retirees get to enjoy life,” he said.
Physicians often refer patients to Complete Care at Holiday Park because the staff is known as spine experts, Miller said. About 80 percent of the Sylvania patients come for spine issues, such as the neck or back, while Perrysburg patients are an even split between spine and sports-related issues.
The Waterville location will host an open house from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11.
Partnering with the community – that’s one of the main goals of Waterville United Methodist Church, said its pastor, Rev. Mike Denman.
“We want to connect people to God, but also to others in the community,” Denman told Waterville City Council during its July meeting. The 1915 church building at the corner of Fifth and Mechanic streets isn’t suitable for meeting that goal, he said.
An 11,000-square-foot, $3 million church planned for 7115 Waterville-Monclova Rd. is designed to have plenty of space for not only church services, Sunday School and gatherings, but also events for Scout groups, businesses and community organizations. Plus, Denman said, it will be fully accessible for all, having no steps to navigate and handicapped access to the stage – something the current church sorely lacks.
The church purchased the 9.4-acre parcel 18 years ago and began fundraising for the new facility. In 2019, council approved rezoning the property from A-1 Agricultural to R-1 Residential. By September 14, organizers for the new building, including member Steve Crandall, hope to have a special use permit from the city in order to secure contracts to begin construction. All of the plans are finished, which include site improvements, a parking area, drainage and grading.
Once the project is finished, the current historical church building will be for sale.
“It is our hope that a new owner can bring new life to the building for added community benefit and use,” Denman said.
Downtown is also seeing a renewal.
Third Street Cigar is sprucing up its outdoor patio with a metal fence and poured concrete. Cocina de Carlos is working on adding an outdoor seating area. The Columbian House continues to get a detailed paint job. Additionally, two new businesses are going into two old homes.
Shawna Horvath and Tiffany Whitten have an eye for transforming historic homes into stylish venues. Soon, the sisters will unveil The Liberty House of Waterville – a venue for small weddings and receptions, baby and bridal showers, corporate gatherings and birthday and anniversary parties.
Located at the corner of South River Road and Farnsworth Road, the circa-1836 building was home to the Wheelden family from 1965 to 2018 but was rezoned as commercial property along with other River Road properties several years ago.
With plans for a riverfront park across the street, and with a large, shaded side yard, the property is ideal for day events serving up to 50 people, Horvath said.
Over the shutdown, the sisters and their families and friends all pitched in to renovate the old home. Available to rent later this fall will be two spaces. The first is a 71-foot enclosed porch with ample sunlight, a fireplace, restored wood flooring and a bar designed out of an old grocery store counter.
“This is elegant, yet rustic,” Horvath said.
Also for rent will be two living rooms decorated in a French country theme with pink, white and gold accents, Chiavari chairs, round tables and period chandeliers.
Upstairs is a bridal suite available for the bridal party to prepare for the big event.
Two serving areas are also available, including the dining room and a large island in the kitchen. Tables, linens and decorations are provided for those renting the space. Vintage china and mason jar mugs are also available to rent.
Two large, luxurious bathrooms are handicapped-accessible, as is the first floor of the home.
The Liberty House of Waterville will be open year-round, and only one event at a time will be permitted.
After 60 years in downtown Toledo, Deluxe Frame Shop is moving closer to its suburban customers next month.
Armed with paint rollers, shop owner Terry Rousseau, his father Rob and father-in-law Ken Swartz painted the interior of 19 N. River Rd. – a former home that Rousseau bought to transform into the frame shop.
“We’ve gone completely gung-ho and put in a lot of hours,” Rousseau said.
To ready the shop, an addition was placed at the back of the building, complete with a handicapped-accessible ramp and a parking lot. The front, in the original home, is where a small retail space is also taking shape. By later this fall, Rousseau expects to move his entire commercial and retail framing operation to Waterville.
Rousseau’s friend, Joshua Wagy, also has big plans for downtown Waterville.
The 1924 bank building at 217 Farnsworth Rd. has covered windows begging for a peek inside.
Until now, not much has been happening inside the old bank, purchased last year by restauranteur Joshua Wagy.
After months of delays, Wagy announced that work will be starting on an as-yet-to-be-named bar/restaurant.
With a phase one permit, construction will begin on two new restrooms – just part of the changes made to the design after learning more about how to meet new codes recently implemented.
“It is taking way too long, but still we are very excited to get this project moving forward and seeing it all come together,” said Wagy, founding partner of Kengo Sushi and Yakitori in Toledo. “Our plan is to make the bank beautiful again and make Waterville proud of such a wonderful location and space. If we can turn this building into a great cocktail bar/restaurant within a year, we are super happy.”
Instead of suds and scrubbers, the former car wash at 345 Anthony Wayne Trail will be serving up craft beer and acoustic music.
By December, Buffalo Rock Brewing Company should be open, said Tim Burns, one of the Three B’s Adventures owners who are opening the Waterville brewery.
“We expect to close on the property and the construction loan in the next few weeks. Then it’s full steam ahead. We’ll start construction immediately,” Burns said.
Named for the Roche de Boeuf Island rock that was named for its buffalo shape, the brewery will be open until 10:00 p.m. weeknights and 11:00 p.m. on weekends, with acoustic music inside. An outdoor patio will be added to the back and a wooded area and privacy fence should buffer the neighbors in the nearby apartment complex.
“I should be getting started on making a Christmas beer – it’s the first I’ll have to make,” Burns said.
Bigfoot Studios, a national recording studio based in Waterville, recently launched Stream Toledo and streamtoledo.com, an online platform for streaming live and archived music from Toledo-area musicians.
Initially, all concerts will take place within the studio, including Jeff Stewart on Monday, August 10; Nikki “D” and the Sisters of Thunder on Saturday, August 15; and Chris Shutters on Wednesday, August 26.
Stream Toledo is a partnership with Bigfoot Studios, Third Street Cigar Records and production company E2HD.
Still other changes are in the works, said Waterville Mayor Tim Pedro.
J&R Restoration recently moved some of its Maumee staff and contents restoration production to the Waterville location. The Ellis House joined with a Findlay nonprofit organization and closed its 40 S. Second St. location, which is now for sale.
Bringing new business to town is a group effort, said Pedro. As a member of the Waterville Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Pedro said he works with WEDC executive director Todd Dickerson and the 16 active members to identify potential companies for both city-owned and privately owned nonresidential land.
“Without question, COVID has made progress toward our strategic goals and membership engagement very challenging,” Dickerson admitted. “We had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.”
During this time, the WEDC began updating its website and working on a Downtown Redevelopment District Program to provide new opportunities in the downtown area. The WEDC is also working on a feasible strategy to create a new business/industrial park.
“We want to create higher-paying jobs in the community,” Dickerson said.
While the city owns land off Choctaw Drive that is eyed for light industrial or manufacturing, Pedro said a land use study will likely be done this fall to determine its best use. Other privately owned properties could also be considered for a business park.