Special to The Truth
Lucas Metropolitan Housing is consolidating its four main office buildings into one headquarters downtown on Jackson Street and making life easier for clients, staff and management. It’s the culmination of “a decades-long dream,” noted one staffer at the building ribbon cutting ceremony.
On Monday, Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) leaders joined U.S. Rep. Marcy. Kaptur, the Lucas County Commissioners along with other government and business leaders to celebrate the opening of LMH’s new headquarters on Jackson Street, the site of the former United Way of Greater Toledo building, marking the first time in the authority’s 90 year history that it has consolidated all client service operations into one downtown location.
“We are eager to help start writing the next chapter in the story of the heart of the city of Toledo,” said LMH President and CEO Joaquin Cintron-Vega during a press conference and ribbon-cutting that preceded a public open house with guided tours.
“Company culture is the lifeblood that keeps Lucas Metropolitan Housing healthy and thriving and a positive culture is greatly enhanced and more easily fostered and influenced when employees share the same workspace,” he added.
The new office brings 77 LMH employees downtown and will serve as LMH’s primary administrative office to support both Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs, administer homeownership opportunities and coordinate its self-sufficiency programming. The acquisition also allows LMH to consolidate four of its offices (Nebraska Avenue, Byrne Road, Indiana Avenue, Belmont Avenue) into a single location, resulting in operating cost savings for the agency.
“This move will allow for efficiencies in the physical space while encouraging greater peer-to-peer interactions and relationships with managers,” said LMH Board of Commissioners Chair Alisha Gant. “In addition, we believe in a better customer service experience for our clients.”
Conveniently located two blocks from the Government Center building and other places of interest downtown, including TARTA public transit center, the site was chosen, in part, to make it easier for its residents to access LMH services and programs with free parking in an adjacent parking garage.
“LMH’s move comes at an exciting time for the Glass City’s downtown core,” said Congresswoman Kaptur, the longest-serving congresswoman in U.S. history who helped support the funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that allowed for LMH’s move.
“A strong downtown is widely viewed as crucial for the overall health of a city, with even the surrounding northwest Ohio region to benefit,” Kaptur said. “We can all be very pleased that LMH joins many other organization that have invested in energizing Toledo’s ongoing downtown development.”
The LMH Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of the 26,060-square-foot building from United Way in 2021 for $4,95 million. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority issued a $5.2 million tax-exempt 25-year bond transaction for LMK’s headquarters relocation and renovation project. The interest rate for the bond financing was 2.9 percent.
“The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is proud to be a partner in this endeavor with Lucas Metropolitan Housing and to be able to deliver the financing necessary for this project to become reality,” said Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Director of Finance sna Special Projects Craig Teamer.
“We have always viewed this transaction and the relocation and centralization of the LMH headquarters to be a catalyst boost to downtown Toledo,” Teamer said. “The new headquarters will not only allow LMH the opportunity to consolidate office space but they are now centrally located in the region making themselves even more accessible to the community.”
The LMH grand opening is the latest in a series of new developments in downtown Toledo. Ion August 25, 2022, the Lucas County Board of Commissioners joined construction partners and business and community leaders to celebrate the grand opening of the Glass City Center, Powered by ProMedica, and new ballroom.
Speaking in support of LMH’s grand opening during this week’s press conference were Lucas County Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Pete Gerken and Lisa Sobecki.
“Enough cannot be said about the importance that public and private partnerships investments such as LMH’s latest example have played in transforming downtown Toledo into an increasingly popular destination to work, play, live and grow successful businesses,” Skeldon Wozniak said.
Toledo has been named number one in the nation among mid-sized cities for new business investment by Site Selection Magazine and LMH’s relocation helps continue that momentum, Gerken noted. There are approximately $2.2 billion worth of projects currently underway in Toledo or recently completed that are expected to create nearly 3,500 new permanent jobs and 1,079 new residential units.
“LMH’s relocation to its new downtown space is an important development for our region and we owe a big thanks to the Lucas Metropolitan’s Board of Commissioners and the United Way for their leadership, the developers and all those individuals who helped make this collaborative project a reality,” he said.
“The comprehensive renovation of the former United Way building by LMH is a true game-changer for not only Toledo but the entire northwest Ohio region,: said Sobecki. “The Lucas County Board of Commissioners and the leaders of the Port Authority are committed to working with existing and new partners to cultivate a business- and development-friendly environment with a work-ready labor force that are essential to bring new opportunities to our community.”
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown was unable to attend but issued a written statement praising LMH’s relocation downtown.
“I thank the leadership, staff and partners of Lucas Metropolitan Housing for their work to make this investment in the future of LMH residents and Toledo happen,” said Brown.
“AS chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, I have focused on increasing access to safe, affordable housing for all Ohioans,” he said. “It’s simple – when we make housing more affordable, we expand opportunity and we give more Ohio families a shot at the middle class. And that’s exactly what you are doing here in Lucas County.”