Ohio’s Glass City is primed for a major comeback
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It’s no secret that Toledo has encountered plenty of challenges over the past few decades. The so-called Glass City—named for its historic glass manufacturing industry—has been one of the hardest hit cities in the Midwest due to many of its plants closing or laying off workers. However, Toledo is making a big comeback, and things are finally starting to turn around thanks to massive investment in the Downtown area from both private and public entities. For real estate investors on the hunt for a market that is undervalued and has lots of potential, Toledo fits the bill.
Culture, History, and Business
The Toledo area has been inhabited for thousands of years, but the modern city was only founded in the aftermath of the construction of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1824 and the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1833, both of which connected the Ohio River to Lake Erie. As the 19th century wore on, the canals were replaced by railroads, which soon helped Toledo become a major industrial center, especially for glass, furniture, and breweries. In the 20th century, Toledo became a major automotive manufacturing center. In the latter half of the century, however, the city encountered a massive loss of jobs due to industries shutting down or moving overseas, while the new Interstate system led to an exodus of people from the city to the suburbs.
Fortunately, in the past few years Toledo has shown signs of a resurgence. The Downtown area in particular has witnessed a significant turnaround. While glass and automobile manufacturing are still important sectors of the economy, new industries are gaining a foothold, including healthcare and green technologies, and bringing with them good paying jobs.
Real Estate Appeal
Toledo doesn’t usually come up in discussions of real estate investment opportunities, but that looks set to change. The city’s worst challenges seem to be behind it, and its central neighborhoods are once again receiving the attention from developers that they deserve.
For investors, the biggest draw of Toledo is its affordability. Homes in the city center can easily be found for less than $50,000, making them a great opportunity either for renovating and flipping or as rental income properties. A number of neighborhoods have experienced rapid home price appreciation, while others have extremely high rental yields. The result is a city that has a low bar of entry for investors and many of the ingredients to become a success story in the years to come.
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