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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

VW VW independent/submitted information

Redevelopment of a 20-acre site across from Vision Park is now underway following a groundbreaking ceremony held Monday at the site.

Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur and project stakeholders break ground on a new 100,000-square-foot speculative building next to the former Chrysler Amplex plant site on Monday. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

A 100,000-square-foot speculative building is being erected on the western portion of the property that formerly housed the Chrysler Amplex building on Bonnewitz Road. As the abandoned structure is demolished, a steel building featuring a 32-foot ceiling and at least six dock doors will be built. Robinson Investments owns the property and is leading the project.

Local and state economic development representatives are optimistic that, once the new spec building is completed in early 2018, a manufacturer will occupy it.

The project is a joint venture between the Van Wert Business Development Corporation (BDC), JobsOhio, and Jerry Robinson, who utilized a $1.225 million Revitalization Grant and $1.775 million loan from JobsOhio for the project. Additional funding assistance was provided by the BDC.

“The Business Development Corporation is proud to be a part of the collaboration required to advance this project,” said Tim Purmort, president of the BDC. “It was almost two years ago when we convened a meeting with the owners of the property, the Regional Growth Partnership, and the local economic development office to start work on the grant application through JobsOhio. For all of us involved, it is very rewarding to see the construction in process today.”

JobsOhio’s Revitalization Program is designed to assist communities in redeveloping sites to make them competitive in the current marketplace. Projects are expected to retain or create at least 20 jobs.

“Companies increasingly need to get to market quickly, and this speculative building in Van Wert offers those job creators a fast access advantage while reducing risk,” said JobsOhio Executive Director for Operations Kristi Clouse. “We appreciate the partnership with Van Wert Business Development Corporation and other local economic development officials who put forth an exceptional effort to be a job-ready community by investing in infrastructure, adding key sites to their inventory, and adding a new spec building to their arsenal of product.”

The Van Wert spec building project is among nearly a dozen similar projects throughout northwest Ohio, according to Regional Growth Partnership’s 2016 annual report. RGP is the regional arm of JobsOhio that assists Van Wert County with economic development. The northwest Ohio region’s depleted inventory of existing and available buildings able to meet the demands of modern manufacturing was identified as a barrier for development a couple years ago. Projects such as the one in Van Wert are expected to get the attention of businesses considering a move to the region.

“Through this Site Redevelopment program, the Regional Growth Partnership prioritized for northwest Ohio getting new product — building inventory — onto the market,” said Dean Monske, president and CEO of the organization. “And we have worked with our local economic development partners to aggressively pursue opportunities under this program to make our communities more competitive.”

The spec building is just one option for a company looking to locate in the county. Land is available in Vision Industrial Park, at the 59-acre site certified by the Austin Group and at a 150-acre parcel adjacent to the South Industrial Park. Additionally, some manufacturing facilities for sale or lease and building lots are also available throughout the county.

“This project is a perfect example of a collaborative project positioning the community for growth,” said Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation. “The Business Development Corporation had the vision for the project and awareness of the demand for a move-in ready facility of this size, Jerry Robinson had the willingness to continue to invest in Van Wert as the developer, the Regional Growth Partnership provided the guidance to available incentives to aid in the support of the project, and Citizens National Bank, First Federal of Van Wert, and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank became involved in the funding.

“Pat Ryan, specifically, a member of the BDC and Citizens National, had incredible perseverance to overcome many challenges with the project all along the way and never gave up,” Adam added. “The result is the Economic Development office will be marketing a newly constructed, 100,000 square-foot building available to attract new business to Van Wert in 2018.”

This photo includes more stakeholders in the 100,000-square-foot speculative building being constructed west of the former Chrysler Amplex plant complex on Kear Road. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

POSTED: 10/31/17 at 8:09 am. FILED UNDER: News