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Published: Tuesday, 6/18/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

ProMedica to redevelop Starlite Plaza

Medical facility planned for 44-year-old shopping center

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The central building at Starlite Plaza in Sylvania was home to Churchill’s Super Market for more than three decades. The central building at Starlite Plaza in Sylvania was home to Churchill’s Super Market for more than three decades.
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ProMedica has purchased the Starlite Plaza on Monroe Street in Sylvania with plans to redevelop parts of the 44-year-old shopping center into a medical facility.

Tedra White, a ProMedica spokesman, said the project is still in the planning and development phase and the nonprofit health- care network remains tight-lipped about its plans for the 11-acre site at 5700 Monroe St. that was home to Churchill’s Super Market for more than three decades.

ProMedica does not have an artist’s rendering yet of what it will put there, Ms. White added.

The Toledo-based health network, which owns 10 hospitals, including Toledo Hospital, purchased the site on June 5 from Brixmor Property Group of New York, which is owned by Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI LP of New York.

Officials at Brixmor did not return calls seeking information about the sale. A transaction price was not available, and a deed listing ProMedica as the new owner has not yet been filed with the Lucas County Auditor’s Office.

The shopping center, which was built in 1969, consists of a former supermarket store in the center, strips of stores along the east and west side of the property, and three buildings behind the supermarket.

The complex last sold individually in 2004 for $16.8 million. It was bought then by New Plan Excel Realty Trust from the estate of the late Edward Searles, an area developer. In 2007, New Plan was acquired by Centro Properties Group of Australia, which ran into financial problems in 2011.

In July, 2011, Centro's Properties shopping center portfolio of 585 properties, including the Starlite Plaza and five other Toledo-area shopping centers, was acquired by Blackstone's BRE Retail Holdings Inc. BRE later changed its name to Brixmor.

While ProMedica is not disclosing what it plans to do with the shopping center, tenants of the shopping center and a Sylvania city official all said they have been told the health-care network plans to demolish the 90,000-square-foot building that once housed Churchill's, along with two other buildings behind the former supermarket.

Churchill's occupied the center building from 1971, when the store was built, until November, 2000, when it sold the leasing rights to the store to Detroit-based A&P, which placed a Farmer Jack store there. It became a Bassett’s Market for two years, closing in 2007. The site has been vacant since.

ProMedica then plans to construct a large building, likely two stories but possibly three, that will house doctors’ offices and other medical services, the tenants said. The health-care network also plans to extensively landscape the area with a walking path, benches, and a park-like setting surrounding the building.

Two tenants, Dave's Running Shop and the Buckeye Store and More, which along with a Ralphie's restaurant occupy a retail strip on the east side of the shopping center, have been told their businesses will not be affected.

“As far as we know, everyone is staying in the side strips. They will tear down the old Churchill’s, which is the big building in the center and also the ones behind it in order to build new doctor's offices,” said Al Luna, manager of the Buckeye Store and More.

Jim Mason, owner of Dave’s Running Shop, said he also was told the center building and two others would be torn down, but was given no timetable.

“I’ll be here, though. Everybody that I know in the strip right here will be here,” Mr. Mason said. “They told me they want to keep me here, they want to put a walking path in here and a fitness area in here. That's fine with me.”

But retail tenants on the west side of Starlite Plaza have not been told their fate.

Linda Schweer, co-owner of Sewing Express, said she has not been told whether her building will stay or if that strip area will be demolished.

“They have left us hanging. They didn’t seem to have answers,” she said. “We explained that we need to know, but we’re still waiting to hear,” she said.

Brandi Phillips, whose mother, Linda, owns Sugar Plum Sweets, a bakery that opened in the west side strip of Starlite last August, said they have been told they will learn their fate by the end of the week.

“We know they plan to knock down the center building, but beyond that we’re trying to find out what will happen,” Ms. Phillips said.

Jennifer Oehlers, who works at Memory Transfers, which is owned by a relative of hers, said at one point some west side tenants were told they were safe but then they were told no decision had been made.

“We don’t know if we’re going to be permitted to stay or if our rents are going to go up or what,”" she said. “We don’t know what to tell people when they ask if we’re going to move.”

Kevin Aller, director of the department of public safety for the city of Sylvania, said the city has had general discussion with ProMedica about its plans for Starlite Plaza but no details.

But thus far ProMedica’s main concern has been whether it needed to rezone the site to coincide with its plans. It was told that no rezoning was necessary, Mr. Aller said.

Starlite Plaza becomes the second property in Sylvania that ProMedica has purchased in the last six months.

In January, it bought a 5,300-square-foot one-story building at 5839 Monroe that most recently housed the Melting Pot restaurant, which closed in 2011. ProMedica, which paid $1.3 million for the building, plans to use if for administrative offices.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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