By Deb Buker
Levis Commons is described by developer Larry Dillin as a puzzle with every piece coming together and each piece a unique connection.
The first week of August, Mr. Dillin, president and CEO of Dillin Corp. and master developer of Levis Commons, announced a long awaited puzzle piece-a 184-room Hilton Garden Inn with a 25,000-square-foot conference center and 10,000-square-foot ballroom which will anchor the Town Square at Levis Commons. The hotel, under construction, is scheduled to open next summer.
Last Thursday, Mr. Dillin announced the tenants who will occupy a $15 million, 60,000-square-foot entertainment annex-an intricate piece of the Levis puzzle.
"Several weeks ago we did an announcement on our hotel and conference center, and today we are doing a separate announcement because these projects are all unique. Every piece of our puzzle is coming together. It is all part of the overall story, and it is unfolding as the summer progresses," said the developer. "Today, we really want to focus on the one piece we are extremely excited about-the entertainment district. In that area what we are doing is concentrating on uses that are unique not only for this development but for northwest Ohio."
Tenants in the entertainment annex include Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi, Funny Bones Comedy Club, Fat Fish Blue and St. Julian's Fitness Center.
"These are really terrific and exciting additions to Levis," said Mr. Dillin. "We are really still at the tip of the iceberg as far as what Levis will offer, but the entertainment annex is the heart of the development and it adds culture, talent and an atmosphere that is new to northwest Ohio."
Joining Mr. Dillin for the announcement was Steve Zamborsky, founder of Fat Fish Blue; Mel Ayers, owner of Nagoya; and Tom and Shirley St. Julian, owners of St. Julian's Fitness Center.
Fat Fish Blue, a New Orleans-style restaurant and live blues club, is scheduled to open in the spring. The restaurant menu features Louisiana-Creole cuisine along with a few traditional American favorites, reflecting the roots, diversity and broad popularity of the Blues. Recipes are a combination of research into the Gulf Coast/Louisiana French-style cooking and creative input from blues artists. From Peppery BBQ Shrimp and Jambalaya to Chicory Coffee and Sweet Potato Pie, Fat Fish Blue offers guests fun and interesting food, friendly service and the comfortable, down-to-earth atmosphere of a back alley blues club.
"We are thrilled to be part of the Levis Commons project. We feel this is a project that is going to reach beyond just Perrysburg," said Mr. Zamborsky. "Fat Fish Blue is all about Louisiana-Creole food and we have live blues seven days a week. It should be a lot of excitement and great food. We think of Fat Fish Blue as having a Mardi Gras party everyday."
Fat Fish Blue is collaborating with Funny Bones Comedy Club, to bring a unique combination of a 300-seat comedy showroom connected to Fat Fish Blue restaurant. This is the first collaboration between the two entities and will be known as Fat Fish Blue, "Home of the Funny Bone."
"One of the persons who was unable to join us today is Mitch Kutash, founder of Funny Bones Comedy Club," said Mr. Dillin. "Funny Bones is a national comedy club with more than 20 locations across the country. We are excited because it will bring great quality and national comedy acts to the area. This is the first time Fat Fish Blue and Funny Bones have collaborated-the first time ever, right here at Levis Commons."
St. Julian's Fitness Center currently is located in Bowling Green and will open its second center on the third floor of the entertainment annex overlooking the clock tower.
The center, which is scheduled to open at the first of the year, will be furnished with state-of-the-art equipment containing personal televisions built into the equipment and MP3 connectivity. The new center will offer ladies' and men's locker rooms with steam saunas and a smoothie bar for healthy drinks.
"This is going to be an upscale facility which will be great not only for Levis Commons but for the city of Perrysburg," said Mr. Julian. "We are going to be looking at quality service as far as personal training, weight loss management and physical therapy."
Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi offers hibachi style cooking as well as sushi. Hibachi chefs entertain with dazzling knife and spatula tricks while cooking meals to perfection. In addition to the quality of food, Nagoya also was created specifically to cater to families. Whether high school students dine at Nagoya before prom or a family celebrates a special occasion, it is a destination for all ages.
This also will be Nagoya's second location. The first location is in Port Clinton.
"It is a terrific restaurant with a great team of people," said owner Mel Ayers. "We offer hibachi style cooking and world class sushi along with terrific entertainment. We are really looking forward to being part of the Levis Commons community. Larry Dillin has created an outstanding opportunity for great restaurants and great retailers to come here and continue our success."
Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse is scheduled to open in November.
"This fall as well, the clock tower will be done, the amphitheater and all the public gathering places. So, in addition to the entertainment these folks are going to bring to the development, we also will have our ongoing community programs. We have a whole series of ideas for what can happen with this pubic space that is being created," said Mr. Dillin.
He also told guests and media that another piece of the puzzle fit into place last Wednesday.
"We closed on our financing with the Port Authority which is the last piece of funding we needed for all of this area. Things are going to move very quickly," he added.
The entertainment district is part of the overall Town Square project with the next phase being retail, said Mr. Dillin.
The developer also added that at least two, maybe three more projects will break ground this year. The next project will be more residential in orientation.