Left: Jeeps in front of the former Elder Beerman store
I was taken aback Saturday when I saw the large number of Daimler Chrysler vehicles filling the empty parking lots of the former NorthTowne Square Mall. The company has been leasing this space to store excess inventory, as well as using some of the many acres at the old Jeep Parkway site.
This relationship is not new, having been arranged several years ago. However, there seem to be more vehicles in the lots than I have ever seen. I hope that this is not a sign of slacking demand for new vehicles, as so many Toledoans depend on the success of DaimlerChrysler's operations in this area. When last I passed this site, Liberty and Wrangler vehicles ringed the eastern half of the dead mall, while today the vehicles almost completely circle the structure and are creeping out onto the grass.
There were, by my count, about a dozen security personnel guarding the vehicles. I assume that the keys to each new vehicle are either in the ignition or in a readily-accessed place inside.
Left: Daimler Chrysler vehicles parked at the rear of the building, near the old theater
At any rate my appearance with a camera set the security team into immediate action. I had taken nary a photo when a red pickup roared from behind me and blocked my car, which was parked on Mel Simon Drive (the circular road ringing the former mall). Two other vehicles pulled up within 15 seconds.
The threat level was lowered when I explained that I write for the Toledo Free Press, and the security officer went out of his way to apologize for the sudden critical mass of forces.
There are a few perks to being a member of the media (pay is certainly not one of them); chief among these is the ability to get past the first levels of bureaucracy in an organization, as employees are typically nervous about saying the wrong thing to the media. Alas, this power only goes so far, as mid-level types are usually savvy enough not to be intimidated by a press badge.
My photos do not really do this story justice; an aerial photo might be a better way to capture the magnitude of the many thousands of DaimlerChrysler vehicles waiting for someone to purchase them.