Monday, August 11, 2008

Here we go - no one can demolish a building in downtown Toledo

When the United Way announced it was going to build a new office structure and tear down it's current one, I knew it was only a matter of time before our local newspaper weighed in on the issue. I even warned of this in my original post, 'Building preservation vs. cost of maintenance.'

Their editorial yesterday called it a 'Waste of a good building.' But it's not just the destruction they lament, creating a modern, affordable building is somehow counter to downtown revitalization. Yes, you see, if the United Way gets rid of an inefficient and costly structure and builds a new one instead, that's going to hurt downtown development. (I know - I don't get it either.)

They suggest that the University of Toledo Law School would be a good match for the existing structure - and The Blade has long been a proponent of moving the Law School downtown. However, that idea has previously been met with significant objection by UT officials, law school faculty and students. UT President Dr. Jacobs, according to the editorial, is amenable to 'looking' at the building - which means he gave a non-commital but unobjectionable response when asked. But even if he'd 'look' at the option, that's a far cry from making a commitment to this particular building, not to mention that a decision to move the Law School off-campus has not even been made.

Our local editorial board has a long history of telling people what to do with buildings in the downtown area. I suppose that's part of being an editorial board - sharing your opinions about issues. However, it's very easy to tell other people to incur costs and make decisions which are not in their best financial interests.

As I said originally, "...anyone who wants to preserve the current United Way building is welcome to purchase it, maintain it, renovate it, preserve it, or do whatever they want with it. But I do not believe they should tell the United Way that simply because they like the building, the U.W. needs to incur unsustainable costs in order to keep the existing structure."

If The Blade thinks this building needs to be preserved, let them purchase it for a price that makes it worthwhile to the United Way. They can then do whatever they want with it.

But don't hold your breath waiting for that decision - like many liberals, they're much better at telling you what should be done with your own money than they are at risking their own.


Tim Higgins said...


Once again, you have struck to the heart of the matter. We should ignore the property rights of an owner in determining their future. We should likewise ignore a public funded University's desire to maintain its campus integrity. We should instead extend our "compassion" not to people, but to a building.

Now if this were a building of historical significance, there might be some justification for this. It is not however. It is however a building built before the Internet or the Disabilities Act and the requirements that these place upon a building.

Once again, a liberal voice asks us to let compassion overwhelm common sense. It asks us once again to feel instead of think, something that seems to have paid of pretty well so far ... right?

myloach said...

A building which is old, poorly maintained and not energy efficient is a real problem. It would cost more to remodel than to tear down. There are fewer tenants than there were and some features of the building are out of date. How many buildings do you know which contain a print shop? How about data processing?
I bet the Blade has had to make changes in their building, but they were not using community money to do it.
Good on the United Way.

Robin said...

Why does the Blade want the UT's Law Department downtown?

Why does the Blade care what the United Way does with a building that the United Way owns?

Hooda Thunkit said...


"But don't hold your breath waiting for that decision - like many liberals, they're much better at telling you what should be done with your own money than they are at risking their own."

You hit the mark again!

Let he who is without title (to the property) keep his/her nose in their own business.

Once, a long time ago, owning property meant that you could do as you saw fit with it.

These days, it means getting everyone (read as, people whose business it is NOT) want you to do with YOUR property what THEY want.

Cripes,you'd think that everybody was the mayor...

DeeDee Liedel said...

What is with the Blade and moving the Law School downtown?!? I know law students, graduates, and others have spoken out against this idea and yet the Blade keeps pushing it:

"UT is exploring options for the law school, which needs either extensive renovation or a new facility." from 8/10/08 Blade article.

They're exploring options? Has the Blade bothered to visit the law school and see all the improvements that have been made in the last few years, including wi-fi and retrofitting classrooms so students can take notes on laptops? I think the only room they haven't touched (last time I was there) is the auditorium with it's mustard yellow seating. And then this in today's Blade:

"The idea of moving the law school was discussed in 2006, though when Dr. Jacobs became president of the university, one of his first directives was to end any discussion of moving the law school from the main campus to a downtown location.

"He said yesterday the school would have to be convinced moving was the best thing for the college before relocating.

" 'No due diligence has been done yet,' he emphasized. 'It is a very preliminary suggestion.'

"He added, 'There is no plan to move the law school. We are not looking to move the law school.'

"UT spent more than $626,556 in renovations between 2005 and 2007 on the law school's current building and law library..."
from 8/12/08 issue of the Blade.

The only reason the discussion keeps coming back up is because the Blade is pushing it. The University has already renovated the Law School; a new facility is not needed, especially one that is older than the Law Center (the United Way building was built at least 3 years before the Law Center).

skeeter1107 said...

Everyone has addressed the idea of property rights very well.

Something that no one has mentioned however is the problem that nothing is ever easy when you are dealing with Toledo.

Out of the blue, parties that have no financial interest of any kind begin to demand things of the property owner that they have no right to demand. What??? Are you kidding me???

Look at the time and effort that United Way has put in to justify a decision to parties with no financial interest nor willing to take a financial interest. Why should they? It's ridiculous.

Once again, Toledo and other various parties have managed to take something that should be quite straight forward and make it more time consuming and expensive. Thank you Toledo!

Maggie Thurber said...

And how likely is it that any other company, considering the same course, will be willing to risk the same response - versus moving out of Toledo????

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