ELYRIA — Nearly two years after announcing plans to build a new headquarters 8 miles up the road in Avon, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems remains headquartered where it has been for more than 75 years: in a massive facility on Cleveland Street in Elyria.
For more than three years now, the company’s announced plans have been to move 550 employees into a multimillion-dollar facility on Chester Road in Avon.
That still has not happened. Meanwhile, Elyria city leaders know what they would rather see happen: Bendix remain one of Elyria’s top employers.
“The city is certainly willing to work with Bendix in any way possible to see their business grow” — including offering incentives for the company and its hundreds of workers, many in high-paying engineering positions, to stay, Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda said.
Messages seeking comment on Bendix’s future plans were left for a company spokesperson.
Elyria is in the process of upgrading and improving Cleveland Street outside the plant with a goal of “accommodating the current facility,” Brinda said.
Bendix’s Elyria facility employs approximately 180 materials, electrical and other engineers, many making high five-figure to mid-six-figure salaries, she said. Several hundred other employees also contribute to an estimated $850,000 in annual income tax receipts to Elyria.
In February 2015, Bendix announced it would leave Elyria. In July 2015, Avon was chosen as its new hometown, where the company closed on a $4.5 million property deal in March 2017, according to The Chronicle-Telegram archives.
The 60-acre property in Avon was to be the workplace of more than 550 employees. Cost estimates for construction of the new facility were reported at $60 million.
And that’s where things stand as of Tuesday.
Like Brinda, Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said his city hasn’t heard much from Bendix, but he said the company hasn’t given him reason to believe those plans have changed
“They’re really a private company. They don’t reach out to us often, but I have no reason to believe that they’re not” planning to relocate, he said. “We’re always hopeful. It’s a perfect piece of property over there, and someday hopefully it’ll be their American HQ. So we’re going to be prepared and when they’re ready, we’ll be ready to work with them.”
Bendix has been in Elyria since 1941, and remains one of the city’s largest employers. It was purchased by the German firm Knorr-Bremse AG in 2002 after being owned by Honeywell.
In July 2015, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 50 percent, eight-year tax credit based on Bendix creating 45 full-time positions and $3.6 million in annual payroll by December 2018, according to Chronicle archives.
That helped keep Bendix in Ohio, where it remained after considering the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, as a possible headquarters location.