(Toledo, OH) High profile commercial renovation projects such as Southwyck and Westgate have dominated the news in recent months.
The Deveaux Village Shopping Center, however, has quietly entered a period of renewal that its new owners hope will restore the area to its former prominence. The center is located on the corner of Sylvania Avenue and Douglas Road in West Toledo.
The Timberstone Group purchased the primary commercial strip in 2005, and plans to complete the exterior renovation by the end of summer, said Gary Yunker, spokesman for Timberstone.
“We have committed about $2 million in exterior and interior improvements to the site,” he said. “We are currently working with a company that owns a sports pub that wants to move to the front corner, and we have also received a number of intriguing queries from potential tenants.”
The group owns three of the six parcels on the site, which has been a retail destination since 1959. Yunker said that the group intends to also acquire the vacant FoodTown building.
“That site was one of FoodTown’s best locations before the Spartan deal,” he said of the 2000 merger between the grocery firms. “We are talking with a major grocery chain at the moment, and hope to put together an incentive package with the city to lure them to this location.”
The surprise closing of the FoodTown store in 2003 – which was a result of restructuring by a debt-ridden Spartan Stores, Inc. - saw the beginning of a period of decline for the center, said Yunker. The center also suffered from the loss of the Blessed Sacrament Community Center in 2004.
Timberstone incorporated in July 2003 as a construction company , later adding real estate development and construction management divisions. The firm uses a mix of bank loans and private equity to fund its projects, although Yunker declined to provide specific figures on annual investment or development activity by Timberstone.
Among the more prominent projects the firm has recently taken on include the Bartley Lofts condominiums at Washington and Ontario and the Talmadge Town Center at Talmadge and Sylvania.
The center had been owned by the Charles Johnson family until the sale last year. At one point the land was an unincorporated area known as “Johnson’s Island” before the city annexed the land.
Timberstone has plans to expand the available retail space in the center.
“We plan to construct a building on the outlot next to the old Friendly’s,” he said, referring to the vacated restaurant and ice cream business. “We have also subdivided some of the larger units in the strip into smaller spaces.”
Yunker said that the group intends to keep the Deveaux Village name for the immediate future.
“At some point we might entertain a name change, but the Deveaux name is synonymous with the area,” he said.