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ProMedica has announced plans to relocate its headquarters and several area business offices to downtown Toledo. The health system's new home will be the former Toledo Edison Steam Plant and the KeyBank office building downtown on Summit Street.
The move will bring approximately 700 administrative employees together at one central campus. ProMedica has more than 15,000 employees in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Officials have also signed a letter of intent with KeyBank to purchase its regional office building next to the steam plant on Summit. The intent is for KeyBank to retain one floor for its employees and ProMedica to occupy the other floors.
ProMedica will renovate the steam plant to create several levels with the intent to establish an open, contemporary environment that encourages a more collaborative culture. At the same time, ProMedica officials say they will preserve architectural elements of the historic steam plant. There are also discussions between ProMedica and another community partner about the possibility of bringing a fitness center to the downtown campus.
The estimated cost of the project is expected to range from $20-$40 million. Funding will come from multiple sources, including the sale of existing ProMedica-owned properties acquired over the past decade to accommodate its growing business operations and workforce, and by applying for potential historical tax credits.
One key to moving forward with this plan is the ability for ProMedica to identify close, convenient parking for its employees. ProMedica is currently reviewing multiple options with Toledo city officials. Matt Sapara, City of Toledo Business Development director, says they are considering several options, including the possibility of building an underground parking structure underneath Promenade Park.
"We think we have some solutions. ProMedica is an incredible partner. They're respectful of the impact this is going to have on the former federal building site. We're very conscious of how this is going to move forward," said Sapara.
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President Paul Toth says the Port will help in any way to make this plan a reality.
"We now own and operate the parking garages previously owned by the city, so we're a natural fit to be at the table and hopefully we can participate and support their efforts," said Toth.
By consolidating into one centralized location, ProMedica hopes to create greater efficiencies and increase synergies between employees who will be able to work together under the same roof.
According to President and Chief Executive Officer, Randy Oostra, the decision to move downtown will be a positive one for ProMedica and signifies the organization's strong and ongoing commitment to Toledo.
"We feel strongly about making a commitment to downtown Toledo and playing a key role in its revitalization," said Oostra. "ProMedica is deeply invested in this community and we look forward to all of the exciting possibilities for our city that could come out of this new partnership with the city, KeyBank and other area businesses."
Many local leaders believe the project will have a significant impact on the downtown business climate.
"That many employees will have an effect on our existing businesses, our restaurants, all of the services already downtown. So we're excited about that," said Bill Thomas, with the Downtown Toledo Development Corporation.
"We anticipate that this move would have a significant economic impact to downtown Toledo and provide stimulus to bring additional businesses and retail back to the city core," said Stephen Staelin, chairman of the ProMedica Board of Trustees. "At the same time, we are thrilled about the opportunity to revitalize the iconic steam plant and the riverfront."
ProMedica officials say the steam plant was chosen because of its rich history and proximity to the riverfront. The idea is to design an environment that is vibrant, engaging and encourages collaborative activities between employees of ProMedica and other area businesses.
"While there has been some positive economic development downtown, this will bring hundreds of people downtown and will help spur additional economic development growth," said Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins. "Downtown has already begun to be the place many in Toledo call home. With the growth in the workforce downtown, this has the potential of creating many additional small businesses. At the advent of Toledo in its heyday, the banking industry was really the fortress that created downtown Toledo. With this announcement from ProMedica, I feel we can possibly reinvent the future of Toledo with the healthcare industry."
The mayor went on to add:
"History will show that ProMedica's decision to relocate 700 employees to the downtown area will be the first step in the restoration of downtown to its former glory. They should be congratulated for their dedication to our community."