ProMedica preparing to make the move to downtown Toledo

ProMedica preparing to make the move to downtown Toledo

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - ProMedica will move its corporate headquarters downtown in about eight weeks.

Tours have been given of the renovations and the excitement is building, with construction going on around the clock on Summit Street.

The views are stunning as you look down from the top floor of the old steam plant, the centerpiece of the new ProMedica corporate headquarters.

Nearly 1,000 employees are moving to the new location in August.

But the move could be risky for ProMedica.

Former city councilman Mike Ferner protested against the new employee parking garage.

He said it would block the view of the Maumee River and limit access to Promenade Park.

"What city, you know, in this day and age is literally giving away riverfront parkland to have a parking garage built on it? I mean, no city is doing that," said Ferner.

Ferner said he never opposed the move itself, but wonders if moving so many employees to one area too risky.

"I think the biggest issue we had was, 'is this really going to cost us what we thought it was going to cost us or is it going to be more expensive than just going to a greenfield site,'" said Randy Oostra, ProMedica president and CEO.

While ProMedica's revenues are flat and expenses keep going up by eight percent a year, Oostra said the benefits of the move outweigh any risks.

"This is where we're based. This is our home. One of the things we talk a lot about is being an anchor institution. So we're able to make investments. We're able to do things that we think will be good for the long term," Oostra said.

The health care industry is up in the air, with the President and Republicans trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

However, Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson said she is not concerned about a ProMedica downturn or a day when the buildings become empty.

The new restaurants bursting on the downtown scene will also help serve the arriving employees.

"One of the reasons for this move to consolidate was to look at the long term and the long potential gains that one would have and we always have to think about risk. We always have to try to manage for those risks and we will do that," Hicks-Hudson said.

One of those risks would be to have so much riding on one company, especially after Owens Illinois left downtown Toledo for Perrysburg in 2006.

The Downtown Toledo Improvement District doesn't see the same thing happening with ProMedica.

"No worries here. They're coming, we look forward to it. Everyone expect it to be, that it is a long-term investment. That they're here to stay in downtown and they are certainly behaving that way too," said executive director Cindy Kerr.

Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner compared the ProMedica relocation to the Chicago Cubs winning with World Series for the first time in 108 years.

"I doubt it anybody said, 'why don't we wait a few years just in case.' You better take the good life when it's there at hand. And it's at hand right now," Finkbeiner said.

ProMedica will open its new parking garage to the public in the evenings.

While the company doesn't own Promenade Park it is making improvements, including a performance stage and a video screen to highlight local events.

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