TOLEDO, OH (WTVG) – In an almost unbelievable transformation, a downtown Toledo staple is up and running again.
“It’s done all the things we’ve hoped for,” Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica said. “It’s increased communication already. Email traffic is down. People are talking to each other and that is what this has always been about. We’re lucky to be able to do it downtown.”
For the last 30 some years, the Steam Plant along the Maumee river was just collecting dust. In 2014 ProMedica announced plans to move its employees in after extensive renovation and today it’s almost unrecognizable.
“What better place to transform than Promenade Park and the Steam Plant and broader downtown,” Steve Jacobson, Principal, HKS Architects, said.
Jacobson is the principal in charge of all ProMedica work and had a hand in the most recent renovation. He says digging into the project was both a challenge and an incredible opportunity. But one thing was always certain: preserving the history was paramount.
“We really wanted to celebrate and acknowledge the history,” Jacobson said.
Those little details are everywhere. From light fixtures and brick-work to keeping the original 13-ton bridge crane. Not to mention a history wall on the first floor so no one forgets where it all started.
“As you’re walking along the river, you can learn about Toledo and learn how this site, this building has been transformed,” Jacobson told 13abc.
Some say the health system’s decision to move downtown started what’s been called a renaissance. Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson is one of them. She says apartments are now full and more businesses are moving in. She hopes that development and change will spread.
“If your core is strong, your downtown core, then your neighborhoods will be strong as well,” she said.
Oostra says there are more plans to expand, but when and where still remains to be seen. But he does say they’ll need at least 100,000 square feet.