Ohio wins magazine’s top development awardWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo and Northwest Ohio helped the state of Ohio reclaim the Governor’s Cup for new and expanded facilities in 2006 awarded annually by Site Selection magazine. The award marked the end of a two-year run with Texas winning it in 2004 and 2005.
Toledo and 11 counties in Northwest Ohio that comprise Region 2 contributed 50 projects to Ohio’s winning total of 431. Toledo had 10 of those 50 projects with the suburbs of Holland, Northwood, Perrysburg, Rossford and Sylvania contributing another eight.
The local projects included eight new developments, nine expansions and one relocation in Toledo and those suburbs. However, Toledo did not crack the top 10 metro markets in the country.
Dayton tied for ninth with 21 projects among metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 to 1 million. It tied with Fort Wayne, Ind., and the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area in New York.
“Diversifying the region’s economy is important today. Toledo is changing and needs to create more of a knowledge-based economy,” said Steven Weathers, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership of Northwest Ohio.
The RGP works with local economic development sources in Toledo and 14 counties to help companies grow, create more jobs and circulate more money, Weathers said.
“New development is good, but we also like to see a lot of expansion,” he said. “We had some good projects in both the blue- and white-collar categories in 2006.”
Toledo’s largest project was the expansion of the GM Powertrain Division plant by 400,000 square feet, costing $505 million and helping to retain 2,500 manufacturing jobs. That GM division also relocated production of engine blocks from Saginaw, Mich., to its Defiance plant with a $109 million investment that retained 2,100 jobs.
Two new development projects involved the opening of ProMedica Health System’s new administrative headquarters with 41,000 square feet at a cost of $9.3 million and a $9 million auto distribution facility opened by Ann Arbor Acquisition Corp.
Fenner Dunlop LLC invested $3.1 million to expand its Toledo conveyor belt manufacturing plant, creating five new jobs and retaining 40. The relocation of Ironhead Fabricating’s facilities created 50 new jobs with an investment of $700,000.
Three health care expansion projects included the St. Anne’s Mercy Cancer Center in Sylvania at a cost of $15 million and the UT Medical College’s $5 million expansion.
Heartland Healthcare Services expanded its institutional pharmacy operations, creating 75 new jobs and retaining 187 existing employees at a cost of $135,000.
Two local engineering firms expanded their local facilities in 2006.
Dmytryka Jacobs Engineers Inc. invested $2.3 million in a new 22,000-square-foot building in Toledo. The firm is moving its 17 employees from two locations into 11,200 square feet of that space, completing the transition by mid-April. It plans to lease the other half of the building, said Dave Dmytryka, a founding partner.
SSOE Inc. expanded its headquarters in Downtown Toledo with an investment of $1.5 million, creating 120 new jobs and retaining 300 existing jobs. The architectural, engineering and planning firm modified its existing facility and is leasing 13,750 square feet of additional space for engineering and process design work.
The firm has operated in Toledo since 1948 and has 750 employees at 16 offices in the United States, China and Puerto Rico. SSOE opened a new office in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park on March 6 and another in Phoenix last year.
Xerox Global Services expanded its Toledo operation at a cost of $2.5 million, creating five new jobs.
Another significant development in Region 2 included the expansion of the manufacturing facilities in Clyde and Marion by Whirlpool, following its acquisition of Maytag. Moving Maytag’s production from plants in Illinois, Iowa and Arkansas resulted in 1,100 new jobs in Ohio.
The Clyde facility involved an investment of $29.5 million that created 553 new jobs and retained 3,300 existing employees.
“The improved business climate, including last year’s tax reform, has made Ohio a more attractive place to do business,” said David Swift, president of Whirlpool North America.
Three new development projects in Northwood created more than 200 new jobs.
Oakley Industries spent $9.4 million on a new automotive wheel and tire plant with 55 new jobs. Edge Seal Technologies created 80 new jobs by investing $2.8 million in a 101,000-square-foot plant, while ThyssenKrupp USA Inc. invested $1.2 million in a new distribution center, adding 75 jobs.
Turbine Standard in Holland expanded its manufacturing plant by 13,000 square feet at a cost of $1.1 million.
Bass Pro Shops is investing $50 million in a new retail outlet under construction in Rossford that will employ 250 persons.
In order to qualify for the Governor’s Cup award from Site Selection, projects must involve $1 million or more in capital investment, create 50 or more new jobs or include at least 20,000 square feet of space.
“There were a lot of economic development projects in Northwest Ohio that didn’t meet the criteria established by Site Selection, but were still great projects for the local communities,” said Mark Litten, director of the Greater Erie Marketing Group.
Litten also serves as president of the Northwest Ohio Regional Economic Development Association known as NORED. It will hold its annual meeting March 29 at The Pinnacle in Maumee where the keynote speaker will be Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.