As reported in Toledo Blade

Toledo, OhioUrban and rural blight refers to buildings that have been abandoned and left to decay. Studies dating as far back as the 1920s have in various ways linked blighted properties to marked increases in neighborhood crime and reduced economic activity. Most studies focus on abandoned residential properties, but nationwide real estate investor Phoenix Investors noticed a pattern between its large-scale industrial redevelopments and crime reduction.

Phoenix Investors’ core business is the revitalization of former manufacturing facilities throughout the United States; as such, the company has significant experience in urban and rural blight abatement. Phoenix Investors owns over 30 million square feet of industrial real estate space spanning 21 states. A recent national survey conducted by NREI ranked Phoenix Investors as having the 28th largest total industrial real estate portfolio.

“Over a decade ago, our core focus shifted to the renovation of large former industrial plants, and I began to see a correlation between our redevelopments and crime reduction,” said Frank P. Crivello, Chairman & Founder, Phoenix Investors. “This pattern became quite clear across all states and impacted urban and rural blight in a similar way.”

Within the last five years, Phoenix Investors began to focus on opportunities within Ohio. It has already completed acquisitions in Dayton and Delaware and has others across Ohio in its pipeline. Approximately three years ago, Phoenix Investors acquired its first properties in Toledo at 1313 – 1411 Campbell Street.

The Toledo building was originally built in the 1960s as a Heinz distribution center. Next to the Heinz facility was a WWII era tank factory that devolved into a blighted property. The area surrounding the former Heinz facility and former factory had fallen into severe decay; the blight had spread beyond the Heinz facility and former factory into the neighboring community, which was soon populated by vacant and blighted residential homes.

In partnership with the City of Toledo and public economic development juggernaut Jobs Ohio, Phoenix Investors obtained grants and pursued blight reduction and rail improvements at the location. The former Heinz facility was completely renovated and the factory site was demolished. Phoenix Investors succeeded in attracting Brenntag Corporation, a global leader in the chemical distribution sector. The new facility will become Brenntag’s largest chemical distribution site in North America. Some of the blighted homes in the area have also been demolished or are undergoing renovations.

“Most often when we complete a major industrial renovation, businesses and homes near our projects began to see investment and improvement,” said Frank P. Crivello. “Our renovations are a catalyst for investment and economic activity. We were pleased to see these changes begin in Toledo and grateful for the massive support we received from the City of Toledo and the State of Ohio.”

Phoenix Investors has redeveloped multiple properties in Flint, Michigan, bringing hundreds of jobs to the community. The real estate firm also worked closely with the City of Milwaukee to demolish the abandoned Interstate Forging Industries facility, after which Milwaukee Police Department data showed a notable reduction in criminal activity. Finding and rejuvenating these decaying buildings lowers crime, provides much needed jobs, improves surrounding property values, and ultimately elevates quality of life within the host neighborhoods.

About Phoenix Investors

Founded by Frank P. Crivello in 1994, Phoenix Investors and its affiliates (collectively “Phoenix”) are a leader in the acquisition, development, renovation, and repositioning of industrial facilities throughout the United States. Utilizing a disciplined investment approach and successful partnerships with institutional capital sources, corporations, and public stakeholders, Phoenix has developed a proven track record of generating superior risk-adjusted returns, while providing cost-efficient lease rates for its growing portfolio of national tenants. Its efforts inspire and drive the transformation and reinvigoration of the economic engines in the communities it serves, currently encompassing over 30 million square feet.  Phoenix continues to be defined by thoughtful relationships, sophisticated investment tools, cost-efficient solutions, and a reputation for success.