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TOLEDO, OH-The Lucas County Improvement Corp. has made its $8 million payment for the assemblage of downtown properties for a new, $85 million arena, which will connect to the SeaGate Convention Center. The corporation, an arm of the county, plans to build an up-to-10,000-seat arena on Superior Street, bordered by Jefferson and Madison avenues, and Huron Street. The county hopes to move its current International Hockey Team, the Toledo Storm, to the new facility, which could also host an arena football league, concerts and events.

The current IHL stadium is too old for more use, says Shawn Ferguson, CEO of the corporation. The stadium would be torn down in a plan by developer Larry Dillin to build a $60 million mixed-use project, as well as a new park and riverside road, in the Marina District. Dillin is reportedly talking to tenants for condominium, retail and hotels for the project. He could not be reached for comment.

Peter Shawaker with Michael Realty Co. represented the corporation in its purchase of the 4 acres for the new arena. He said in a statement that the assemblage was difficult, because many owners hadn’t wanted to sell. “We negotiated from a position of accommodating some existing businesses to relocate and replace their existing facilities,” Shawaker said in the statement.

The new arena is slated to be complete by 2009. The site is just a block away from the Toledo Mudhens stadium. According to the county’s “Arena Action Plan,” the hope is that the new facility will add to the current convention center and stadium to lead to “related development of restaurants, specialty retail and innovative housing options in the Warehouse District and the area north and west of the convention center.” Funding for the project can be attained by extending the hotel-motel tax, the early retirement of debt on the convention center, state and federal grants, and the sale of naming rights for the entire complex, according to the action plan.

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