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Elyria Council OKs enterprise zones

  • http-chronicle-northcoastnow-com-wp-content-uploads-2016-03-Riddell-WEB

    Amware Distribution is seeking the use of the former Riddell facility as a warehouse.

    CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — Amware Distribution Warehouses is growing fast.

The company broke ground earlier this year on a new facility in Sheffield at French Creek Business Park. Now, Amware, which is a logistic company that warehouses and distributes products across the country at the request of its clients, wants to buy and expand into not one, but two Elyria buildings.

This time they want the old Riddell facility at 669 Sugar Lane and the former 3M building at 1301 Lowell St.

Brad Mullins, the Amware’s chief operation officer, said Monday that the business is in a wonderful cycle of gaining new customers and needing more space to accommodate the inventory. As its inventory grows, so does the need for warehousing space.

The Elyria and Sheffield locations are in addition to warehouses in Brook Park and Westlake.

City Council’s Finance and Community Developments committees heard the details of two proposed enterprise zone agreements Monday that Mullins said are needed to move the projects along. Amware is leasing both Elyria buildings and will only buy them with the incentives — both amounting to 10-year, 75-percent tax abatements with employment requirements.

Council members voted on the tax agreement related to the former Riddell building during Monday’s meeting and will vote on the similar agreement related to the old 3M building later this month.

“They are investing heavily in the community largely because of our location,” said Mayor Holly Brinda.

Mullings said Amware drivers can get to nearly 80 percent of the country’s population within a day’s drive of Elyria making it an ideal location for a logistics company.

“From a logistics standpoint, transportation from here is very convenient. You have the Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 90, Route 2 and Interstates 71 and 480 all within reach,” Mullings said. “We ship in and ship out freight so we need easy access to buildings.”

The availability of the buildings also made Elyria a good place to expand, he said.

“There is not a lot of industrial space available anywhere, so we went in with the idea of leasing them short-term and then buying them if we could get abatements,” he said. “If this all goes through, we will act on purchasing both buildings.”

Both locations will start with five full-time and 20 part-time positions each within a year.

Monday night also saw Council members vote on two other enterprise zone agreements. Multilink requested an amendment to a previous enterprise zone agreement, asking for an additional year for an expansion project on Broad Street. Multilink also wants to buy the old Big Lots building and will request another enterprise zone agreement later this month.

The Shops on 57 is a developer that is eyeing a pizza and sandwich shop for a vacant building at 615 Griswold Road. The building has been vacant for more than three years, and the developer is planning a complete exterior and interior renovation with a budget of $450,000.

During the meeting, Council voted to enter into a 10-year, 75-percent enterprise zone agreement with The Shops on 57. The project is aiming for an October completion date and will bring in eight full-time and 25 part-time jobs within a year.

Two national franchises will come to the area. The names were not disclosed Monday.

“For competition purposes, they want to wait until the final agreement but will co-sign the enterprise zone agreement,” Brinda said.

Brinda said even more news is coming as none of the projects are related to the five parcels of land the city is negotiating a sale of near Griswold Road and Leona Street, or the more than 35 acres recently annexed from Eaton Township.

In other news, City Council Finance Committee members quickly voted to move ahead with reductions that will save the Elyria Schools thousands of dollars as it looks to build new schools.

Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large, was the one Monday night to make a motion to give the district a 50-percent cut to building permit fees, 50-percent cut to plan review fees and just charging costs on any resubmitted plans. The request also included a measure to waive all re-inspection fees.

This formula falls in line with what school officials hoped the city would offer as they are struggling to keep the project within budget. While conversations held two weeks ago erupted in shouting from Council members, Monday was smooth sailing as everyone appeared to be on board with the plan.

“I thank everyone for coming together on this,” Baird said. “The mayor put it out initially and we tweaked it a bit. But all involved know this will be a good thing for our city.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT and like her on Facebook.



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