ELYRIA — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, Elyria’s second-largest employer, informed city officials Tuesday that the company plans to move its headquarters and hundreds of jobs to Avon by the end of 2021.
The move, which has been anticipated for more than four years, comes after years of Bendix remaining tight-lipped about the progress of those plans.
Brinda said a Bendix representative called her Tuesday to let the city know it informed its employees on Tuesday. She said she asked if there was anything the city could do to keep the company in her city, and she was told no, she said.
In the four years since it announced it was moving, the company has remained quiet about a timetable or final plans for leaving Elyria. A message seeking comment on the decision was left for a Bendix spokesperson.
Headquartered on Cleveland Street, Bendix has been in Elyria since 1941. It was purchased by the German firm Knorr-Bremse AG in 2002 after being owned by Honeywell.
The city could take a major financial hit when the company leaves. Brinda said records show the city has 711 employees with a payroll of $61,508,000, giving the average employee a salary of $86,500.
In 2018, the city collected $1,495,515 in income taxes from Bendix employees, Brinda said. The previous year, it collected $1,383,929, she said.
“Obviously it is a very significant hit to the city of Elyria,” she said. “It’s enough to take a mayor’s breath away.”
Brinda said the city, in coordination with JobsOhio, Team NEO and Lorain County officials, offered Bendix a $13 million tax incentive package to remain in Elyria in November 2014 after “many months of negotiations” but was turned down. The city also moved up the timetable for improvements to Cleveland Street to accommodate the company and traffic in the area, she said.
The incentive remained on the table and while the city “reinforced” that it would work with Bendix, Brinda said there is “nothing the city of Elyria can do” to keep the company in town.
“We’ve been hoping for the best but planning for the worst,” she said.
In February 2015, Bendix announced it would leave Elyria. Five months later, Avon was chosen as its new hometown, and the company closed on a $4.5 million property deal in March 2017, according to The Chronicle-Telegram archives. Estimates for construction of a new facility in Avon were a reported $60 million.
In July 2015, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 50 percent, eight-year tax credit for Bendix as long as it created 45 full-time positions and added $3.6 million in annual payroll by December, according to The Chronicle archives.
That move helped keep Bendix in Ohio after the company announced it was considering moving its headquarters to the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois.
Brinda said her administration has been working with other employers such as Ridge Tool, Multilink, Duraline, Stanley and Nelson Stud on upgrades to facilities, utilities improvements and incentive packages to keep their manufacturing businesses here or expand.
Existing property has been repurposed to entice more industrial employers, she said, and existing manufacturing space is nearly at capacity with inquiries from other manufacturers and businesses coming in daily.
Brinda said the city will continue to work hard to replace any jobs lost when Bendix moves.
“Unfortunately Bendix has chosen to leave at a time when Elyria is experiencing a resurgence,” she said.
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