New Plan For Toledo

Ohio’s Lucas County Improvement Corp. is going forward with an option to buy the 7,500-seat Toledo Sports Arena for $5 million as city and county officials discuss where to build a new arena and plan a new shed.

Arena GM Gary Wyse said the facility will continue doing business as usual until the sale is finalized December 31st.

“Contracts that are in place for the current season will be fulfilled and, for that matter, any new ones that come up between now and the end of this current season,” Wyse told Pollstar. “It’s a challenge to make long-term plans when you don’t know what that long-term is going to be, but I think it will wind up OK.”

Toledo Mayor Jack Ford recently unveiled a new plan for the proposed Marina District redevelopment that includes a 5,000-seat amphitheatre in place of the 58-year-old arena. A feasibility study suggests that building a 12,000-capacity arena downtown at an estimated cost of $70 million is a better option.

“Our studies have clearly concluded that corporate and business support is much stronger on the west side of the river. The arena development must be driven by market forces,” Ford told the Toledo Blade.

The riverfront project’s original concept was pitched in 2000 as a development of 125 acres along the Maumee River. It was to include a new sports and concert arena to replace the Toledo Sports Arena, retail, entertainment venues and a marina.

The latest plan calls for an amphitheatre with a covered stage similar to the House of Blues-managed Scene Pavilion in Cleveland. The venue would cost about $7 million to build, the paper said.

Meanwhile, an analysis by venue management company SMG projected a new arena could host 113 events its first year, drawing about 436,500 people. Gross income of $3.8 million would come from rent, concessions, parking, luxury suites and other sources, the Blade said.

A team headed by city economic and community development director Bill Carroll is said to be scouting for potential arena sites.