As The University of Toledo Foundation and its partner Fairmont Properties continue to work to secure tenants to fill a proposed first phase of the Dorr Street Gateway development at the corner of Dorr Street and Secor Road, an animated artist’s rendering of what the finished project could look like has been released.
The development would be anchored by the UT Bookstore, which is operated by Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Freeing up space in the Student Union, the move would give the private bookseller a chance to expand the store into more fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as periodicals, said Matt Schroeder, vice president for real estate development for the UT Foundation.
“What this animation shows is about 36,000 square feet for first-floor retail space that we’re looking to fill with restaurants, a banking center and other businesses that will attract students and the surrounding community to the southwest corner of campus,” Schroeder said, noting that upper floors would be dedicated to market-rate student apartments.
Following the relocation of Taco Bell to the south side of Dorr Street across from the Crossings residence hall, Schroeder said that once lease agreements for 80 percent of the retail space have been signed — but not before — the project would begin.
“This is a private development. It won’t use any UT student tuition or fee dollars, and we want to be certain that it is self-sustaining before one shovel goes into the ground,” Schroeder said. However, the Foundation and Fairmont are receiving enthusiastic responses from the businesses they’ve approached, and Schroeder said he believes they are on course to break ground this summer. Ideally, the project would be open for business in summer 2012.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support from the communities around the campus, particularly Secor Gardens,” Schroeder said. “Councilwoman Wilma Brown has been very supportive, and it is our goal not to just provide students with a great place to spend time, but to create an intergeneration space that invites the community on to campus.”
Schroeder emphasized that UT’s Transportation Institute was working with the city and the neighborhoods to improve safety and make Dorr Street more pedestrian friendly as foot traffic to the area increases.