Issue: June 2008 Issue
Solon Businesses Soar
Several plans for future retail, residential and office space will keep Solon on the fast track for growth.
In his State of the City address, Solon Mayor Kevin Patton reported that 61 new businesses opened in 2007, and another 13 relocated or expanded. Planned renovations of existing retail and industrial space, as well as the addition of new retail and residential areas, will further strengthen the city’s appeal.
“The city has a long history of economic development geared toward assisting businesses,” notes Peggy Weil Dorfman, Solon’s economic development manager. “And the Solon Chamber of Commerce is one of the most active in the area.”
Already home to 900 companies, Solon has recently added new businesses at the Shoppes of Solon North, a 110,000-square-foot retail and office complex at Miles and Brainard roads. Most space in three existing buildings is leased; two more buildings are planned. Salons, casual restaurants, a dry cleaner, bank, wine shop, ice cream parlor, math center, nanny school and cooking school are among the first tenants.
“This is a great example of a redevelopment project where older buildings were torn down to make way for new businesses,” Dorfman says. “It’s a great improvement to that area of the city.”
With such a variety of stores, there’s little shoppers can’t find in Solon, but the city is working hard to create more unique retail areas. Currently in the works is the Coral Co.’s proposed Central Park, an 89-acre development on S.O.M. Center Road. The lifestyle center would feature 800,000 square feet of retail space, 555 residential units and 1 million square feet of office, medical and academic space, and 11 acres of parkland.
Solon’s industrial area is also seeing growth and expansion. Nestle USA Inc., the city’s second largest employer, will soon open its 67,300-square-foot Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art product-development center for the company’s institutional customers — the only such Nestle facility in North America. “It will create about 70 new jobs to start, with the potential for more,” Dorfman says.
Solon is constantly developing and refining programs and incentives to attract and retain businesses. During the past few years, 20 companies have received job-creation grants from the city, which require businesses to create a minimum of 50 new jobs or $1 million in new payroll.
The Growth & Revitalization Incentive Program, a one-time grant given to property owners for fixing up or demolishing vacant buildings that need rehabilitation, has proven valuable to companies such as AMRESCO Inc. The program allowed the biochemical and reagent manufacturer — and thus more than 100 jobs — to remain and expand in Solon.
As more business is conducted internationally, the city and chamber of commerce are also striving to advance Solon’s position in the global marketplace by offering Solon International Roundtable seminars to members. In addition, to attract foreign businesses, the city participates in local trade missions and fosters contacts throughout the world. Representatives also attended Hannover Messe 2007 in Germany, the leading international trade fair for industrial technologies, materials and product ideas.
All of this activity is reinforced by the city’s own Center of Town redevelopment project. With a new fire station, war veterans memorial park, fountain and gazebo, Solon’s renovated municipal facilities will be at the center of this growing city.
City of Solon
34200 Bainbridge Road
Solon, OH 44139
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