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Twinsburg -- The newest building at Cornerstone Business Park was recently purchased by a real estate investment company for just over $10 million -- a sign that interest remains high at the site of the former Chrysler Stamping Plant, according to city officials.
Brian McMackin, a managing principal with Houston-based Pinchal & Co., confirmed that PFP Twinsburg LLC (Pinchal's limited liability company) paid $10 million Dec. 21 for the 137,000-square-foot facility that houses Vistar, a food distribution business with 63 employees that opened last fall at 8745 Chamberlin Road.
"When we really dug in and looked, we thought this was a fabulous, irreplaceable location," McMackin said Jan. 25. "The business-friendly environment in Twinsburg ... was just another box on our list of criteria that we could check off. And we worked with fantastic developers and owners."
The property owners and developers of the 165-acre expanse at Chamberlin and East Aurora roads who sold the facility -- Scannell Properties, of Indianapolis, and DiGeronimo Cos., of Independence -- remain active in marketing the 159 undeveloped acres to prospective businesses, according to Scannell's Tim Elam.
"We have two companies actively looking at the property," Elam said Jan. 25. "But no commitments at this point."
Vistar, which stocks snacks, drinks and candy for vending machines, theaters and grocery stores, has a 10-year lease on the facility and will now lease the building from Pinchal & Co. rather than from Scannell and DiGeronimo, according to Elam.
Though the recent sale of the Vistar building is not financially significant to Twinsburg, planning and development Director Larry Finch says it indicates an interest in the industrial park.
"We retained Vistar, and they have a building that they're satisfied with," Finch said. "That's what a real estate investment company does ... they look at good prospects and make choices. The sale should not change the operations at [Vistar]."
City officials, including Finch, Law Director David Maistros, Engineer Amy Mohr and Mayor Katherine Procop, representatives from Scannell and DiGeronimo, and environmental and cleanup consultants, will meet Feb. 14 at Government Center to review the progress at Cornerstone, discuss goals for the property and lay out guidelines and obligations for both the city and property owners as more businesses show interest in the land, Finch said.
The meeting is not open to the public.
"It will be planning, prospecting," Elam said. "It is a huge conceptual design process for 165 acres."
"We will look at the administrative responsibilities of the grants," Finch said of the upcoming meeting.
When the weather warms, the landscape at Cornerstone Business Park will change once again as the two-story office portion of the former Chrysler Stamping Plant is demolished this spring.
Cleanup at the site will continue in 2013, using funds from a $3 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant received last year. Asbestos will be removed from the former Chrysler office building, and the basement will be filled in. Soil tests will be done this year as well, Finch added.
Another $2.2 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development's Jobs Ready Sites Program, also obtained in 2012, helped build a portion of the Vistar facility, provided funds for Cornerstone Boulevard (which leads to Vistar) and will continue to provide funds for water and sewer line infrastructure at the industrial site.
More than 2 million square feet of industrial land remains, Finch said. The city offers a 50 percent income tax abatement to any new business at Cornerstone.
"We sure are interested in the vacant land," Pinchal's McMackin said. "We need the developers to build more buildings ... we'd like to invest in the [greater Cleveland] area. We feel that [the Vistar facility] is a fantastic investment opportunity."
The Chrysler Stamping Plant, which had made up about 13 percent of Twinsburg's income tax revenue before its closure in 2010, was purchased by a Canadian liquidation company that same year for $45.5 million.
Scannell and DiGeronimo purchased the site from the liquidation company in July 2011.