Mayor Bell discusses foreign investment, Forbes article on Toled - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Mayor Bell discusses foreign investment, Forbes article on Toledo

Mayor Bell in India Mayor Bell in India
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The City of Toledo is getting worldwide attention thanks to a global interest in spending money on the Glass City.

There's a feature in the most recent edition of Forbes magazine about Toledo and some of the surrounding cities where foreign investment has been hot in recent years.

Walking along land by the Maumee River that has been purchased by Chinese investors, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell recalled what sparked him to address Toledo's financial problems on a broader scale.

"When I started as mayor, we were into some pretty hard times," Bell said. "Doing things the traditional way wasn't going to pull us out."

He says he soon found himself marketing the Glass City's assets in building businesses to people across the globe.

"If we can reach out to cities across the world that are thinking about putting their businesses in the United States – why not Toledo?" he asked. "These businesses that we're out recruiting, if they weren't coming to Toledo, they would be going somewhere else in the United States."

That philosophy caught the attention of Forbes, where Bell and the Regional Growth Partnership are spotlighted in a 3-page article, explaining how they're attracting international investors. It breaks down foreign direct investment by year in the billions, by each country, and by industry.

There have been some critics, however, to courting foreign investors at a time when outsourcing has been linked to a downfall in American jobs. What does Mayor Bell say to those concerned by money from China buying Toledo land?

"The idea that we can get companies here that can hire our citizens and be able to build their product - that they're still going to sell here, but now you're using Americans to do it - I think, is a really, really good thing," he said.

What about questions concerning no outward development by the Chinese on the very land they purchased around the marina district three years ago?

"You want to make sure that you're not just putting up an empty building there, that you're going to be able to put something up that's going to be good for the community," he said. "So they're just doing what normal business people do."

Bell says he has investors from China, Germany, Lebanon, Italy, and Spain all seemingly interested in what he has to say.

"Now we got people coming here, where before, Toledo wasn't even on their radar screen," he said. "We're just trying to take this city and turn it around."

And one thing the mayor says will help in that turnaround is the global advertisement the Forbes article gives the city.

Toledo has been featured recently in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, too.

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Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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