Future growth in Toledo's Warehouse District is on the radar of the Toledo Mud Hens. The organization is looking to pump new life into vacant buildings located next to Fifth Third Field.
General Manager Joe Napoli says he's working with private investors on a $15 million plan to redevelop two vacant buildings at the corner of Washington and St. Clair, plus another vacant building on St. Clair across the street from Fifth Third Field.
"We could have really like a Wrigleyville, so more like a Mudville, and that could be rooftop dining and parties, could be expansion of the Swamp Shop," explained Napoli.
Mud Hens fan Jill Christian says she'd go to more games if they'd have a new rooftop view to catch the action.
"I think that'll be a great idea. I think people would come down more often to do that. I think it would be fun," said Christian.
Diane Keil-Hipp, president of the Toledo Warehouse District Association, says with Pizza Papalis operating out of converted space at the other corner of the ballpark block, she's confident the plan will come together.
"There's been so much development around the district since the Mud Hens have been here and that's kind of the one hold-out," she said.
Napoli says because they're on pace to retire the debt of the ballpark by 2016, future revenue generated by the team will be available to pay for the project.
"We're working with consultants in town. We'll look at new market tax credits, historic tax credits that will help fund the project, as well," said Napoli.
As far as a timeline, Napoli says he's hoping redevelopment of those buildings happens by the end of 2015 or early 2016.