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Avon's commercial development surge

  • Cabela's outdoor superstore is latest in Avon's commercial development surge

  • 8-27-15 Avon to spend $17.1 million for more infrastructure


    Cabela's to open new store in Avon

    By Staff report, The Morning Journal

    Posted: 04/23/15

    A new Cabela's store is coming to Avon.

    Cabela's Incorporated executives announced April 23 [2015] that they will construct an 81,000-square-foot store.

    The store will be located on the south side of Chester Road just east of the Wickens Herzer Panza Cook & Batista Legal Offices, according to Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen.

    Construction on the store, which sells hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is expected to begin later this year [2015]. Project officials anticipate that the store will open to the public by fall 2016.

    "On behalf of the city of Avon, we are extremely grateful that Cabela's has chosen our city as home to their newest store," Jensen said in a statement. "Avon residents, as well as residents from our surrounding communities, will be equally excited about this news."

    The store's layout will feature a mountain replica, aquarium, log construction, vintage outdoor photos, wildlife displays and more to give customers a complete outdoor experience indoors.

    The store also will have its own café, boat shop, fudge shop, Gun Library and Bargain Cave.

    "Cabela's has been interested in Northern Ohio and the greater Cleveland area for some time now, and we're absolutely thrilled to announce this location in Avon," said Tommy Milner, Cabela's CEO said in a news release. "Ohio has proven to be a state full of outdoor enthusiasts and full of loyal Cabela's customers.

    "Now, Cabela's will have a fourth conveniently located store to serve Ohioans and help them enjoy their time outdoors."

    Company officials estimate that at least 225 full time, part-time and seasonal employees will be hired to manage and oversee the new store, a majority of them expected to be residents of Avon and surrounding communities.

    The store will mark the fourth Cabela's in the state. The other stores are located in Columbus and two others expected to open in West Chester and Centerville.

    "There has been talk for the last year about Cabela's coming to Avon and it is finally here," Jensen said. "We are very excited about this announcement. We are fortunate to have quality businesses that want to locate here and we welcome Cabela's as part of our growing community."

    Reach the author at news@morningjournal.com .



    AVON -- ... Nebraska-based Cabela's, a hunting, fishing and outdoor gear retailer, announced today it intends to bring an 81,000-square-foot store to 13 acres of land along Chester Road owned by the Jacobs Group.

    Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen said the store will employ around 225 employees in full- and part-time positions and Cabela's intends to bring plans before the Planning Commission in May [2015].

    "They're hoping to move pretty fast in getting the site work done this summer and they'll probably be under construction early next year," Jensen said. "They want to open by fall of next year."

    According to a press release issued by Cabela's, the Avon location will be built in a new form layout designed to offer customers an immersive outdoor experience with log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, aquarium, dozens of wildlife displays and taxidermy mounts, hand-painted murals, vintage outdoor photos and an indoor archery range.

    The store will also have a cafe, fudge shop, boat shop, gun library, bargain cave and thousands of outdoor products.

    Tommy Millner, Cabela's chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement that Cabela's has been interested in opening a store in the Greater Cleveland area for some time. The Avon store will be the fourth location to open in Ohio behind Columbus, West Chester and Centerville stores.

    "Ohio has proven to be a state full of outdoor enthusiasts, and full of loyal Cabela's customers," he said. "Now Cabela's will have a fourth conveniently located store to serve Ohioans and help them enjoy their time outdoors."

    Jensen said there are still a couple hundred acres of available land along Chester Road and the Cabela's will only occupy about 25 percent of it. Thursday's announcement comes on the heels of several other recent commercial development announcements planned for the same area.

    A 178,000-square-foot Menards is planned for 22 acres of land along Chester Road just east of Center Road, and a 75,000-square-foot Levin Furniture and 192,900-square-foot Meijer grocery store are both slated for construction near the Interstate 90 interchange on Nagel Road.

    Within a mile, residents can find a Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy and Wal-mart. Corporate box stores are popping up on land as fast as crops used to, the once legendary fertile soil of Avon quickly being covered with concrete.

    But one doesn't need to travel far to see largely abandoned shopping and strip malls in cities where retailers pack up and leave once the disposable incomes of the residents in the cities they inhabit dry up.

    Jensen said such scenarios are always in the backs of everyone's minds but he doesn't think allowing a multitude of corporate retailers to open up within miles of one another is a slippery slope.

    Citing how Crocker Park in nearby Westlake has developed, is still evolving and is still a popular place, Jensen said Avon envisions a similar atmosphere. He also said the Jacobs Group ... owns much of the land along Chester Road ...

    For two years, it was rumored Cabela's was coming to Avon, Jensen said, and he believes outdoor enthusiasts will travel to the store from all over Northeast Ohio to shop in Avon.

    "I think if the quality of business is good the fear (of stores opening and closing) is less," Jensen said. "I think Cabela's has some holding ability to stay there for a long time."

    Cabelas operates 67 stores in North America and has plans to open 19 more in the near future.

    Contact Jon Wysochanski at jwysochanski@chroniclet.com



    Cabela's outdoor retailer bringing 225 jobs to its first Northeast Ohio store in Avon

    The Plain Dealer By Janet H. Cho

    April 23, 2015

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Outdoor retailer Cabela's Inc. has announced plans to open its first Northeast Ohio store in Avon in the fall of 2016 -- and to hire 225 people to work there.

    Cabela's manager Mike Boldrick shows off a deer target designed for hunters at the Cabela's store in Connecticut in this AP file photo. Cabela's is opening a store in Avon next fall.Bob Child, Associated Press file

    The Avon store, like its Columbus location, will offer customers thousands of products for hunters, anglers, campers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as what Cabela's calls "an immersive outdoor experience with log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, aquarium, dozens of wildlife displays and taxidermy mounts, hand-painted murals, vintage outdoor photos and an indoor archery range."

    It will also include a cafe, fudge shop, boat shop, Gun Library, Bargain Cave, and Cabela's Wildlife and Land Management products.

    Cabela's said it expects to bring 225 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the area, most of which would be filled by local residents.

    "Cabela's has been interested in northern Ohio and the greater Cleveland area for some time now, and we're absolutely thrilled to announce this location in Avon." said Cabela's Chief Executive Tommy Millner, in a written announcement. "Ohio has proven to be a state full of outdoor enthusiasts, and full of loyal Cabela's customers. Now Cabela's will have a fourth conveniently located store to serve Ohioans and help them enjoy their time outdoors."

    Recreational boats parked on the floor of the Cabela's store in East Hartford, Connecticut. Cabelas is opening its first Northeast Ohio store in Avon next fall. Bob Child, Associated Press file

    The news follows L.L. Bean's announcement that it will open its first Ohio store in Legacy Village this November, and REI is considering a store in Orange.

    Cabela's opened its first Ohio store in Columbus, at 1650 Gemini Place, in 2013, and is planning two more in West Chester (opening fall 2015) and Centerville (opening spring 2016).

    Construction of its 81,000-square-foot Avon store, located off of Exit 153 of Interstate 90 near Chester Road ... is expected to begin later this year [2015].

    Cabela's, founded in 1961 and based in Sidney, Nebraska, has 67 stores in the United States and Canada and plans to expand by another 19.



    Cleveland area outdoor shops brace for fall arrival of Cabela's in Avon -- Outdoor Notes

    By D'Arcy Egan

    The Plain Dealer

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Local outdoor shops are going to be challenged this fall by the arrival of Cabela's Inc.

    The big box fishing and hunting retailer had ignored the Buckeye State as it expanded its empire to 67 stores over the last decade. That has changed. Since opening in Columbus in 2013, Cabela's Inc. has announced plans to open stores this fall in Avon and West Chester, north of Cincinnati. A store in Centerville, near Dayton, is to open early in 2016.

    "My wife, Melanie, and I have worked hard over the years to make Erie Outfitters one of the top fishing shops in the region," said Craig Lewis, in Sheffield Lake. "When Gander Mountain opened nearby, it didn't hurt our business.

    "Cabela's is a destination store, and I expect it will bring people to town. I hope many of the fishermen heading to Cabela's will also visit our shop, where they can find the specialty tackle that only I have. It's just the right gear they'll need to cast for steelhead trout in the local streams or troll for Lake Erie walleye."

    A good example is Lewis' new Reign Rod Company located in the Woodland, Washington hotbed of fishing rod manufacturers. The first fishing rod Lewis has created is for center pin reels, a niche market for steelhead trout fishermen. Next up, he said, will be the perfect fishing rod for catching Lake Erie yellow perch.

    "No one makes a fishing rod specifically for yellow perch," Lewis said. "Anglers are forced to buy over-sized panfish rods or under-sized bass rods. My new Reign Rod will be the standard for die-hard perch fishermen."

    Ray Halter and Frank Simoncic developed The Rodmakers Shop in Strongsville into one of the top angling shops in the area over the years by specializing in bass fishing tackle.

    "Behind the counter at The Rodmakers Shop you're going to find knowledgeable personnel, guys who fish all of the time and have the answers to just about any fishing or tackle question," said Halter. "We have the right gear at the right price and carry a lot of items even a big Cabela's store won't have." ...

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    New Cabela's outdoor superstore is latest in Avon's commercial development surge

    The Plain Dealer

    By Michael Sangiacomo,

    April 24, 2015

    When Duck Tape manufacturer Manco (now Shur-Tech) owner Jack Kahl christened the dusty part of Chester Road "Just Imagine Drive," he envisioned a commercial boom, which has now arrived. Michael Sangiacomo

    AVON, Ohio - Outdoor superstore Cabela's Inc. has been talking about coming to Avon for almost two years, city leaders say. And now that it appears to be happening, the move -- and the 225 jobs expected to come with it -- will be great for the community, leaders say.

    "We are thrilled to have them," Mayor Bryan Jensen said of Cabela's announcement Thursday to open the 81,000 square-foot store. "They are more than just a store. They are a destination that will attract people from all over."

    Cabela's is the latest in a commercial development surge in Avon, a city that just a decade ago was little more than farmland. Last year, city officials said more than a quarter-billion dollars in development was planned and that amount has increased substantially since then.

    Businesses like megastores Meijer and Menards, Residence Inn, senior living centers, restaurants, private schools and a major expansion of Cleveland Clinic's Richard Jacobs Health Center have chosen to make East Avon a mecca for development.

    Jensen noted that the businesses chose to move to Avon on their own, without the inducement of tax abatements. Much of the commercial boom is along Chester Road where Cabela's is expected to go in. Part of that area was named Just Imagine Drive when it was a gravel road and farmers' field.

    Jack Kahl, owner of the company that makes Duck Tape, insisted on the road's name when he opened his manufacturing plant there in 1995. Kahl had envisioned a time when the dusty road would someday be a commercial avenue.

    That day has come. In fact, proposals for commercial development in the area come in so often that Avon Planning Coordinator James Piazza calls Just Imagine Drive "Opportunity Boulevard."

    Cabela's groundbreaking in Avon is expected to begin later this year [2015] for the company that bills itself "the world's largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise." The Avon store will be on the south side of Chester Road bordering Interstate 90, between the Ohio 83 and Nagel Road exits.

    This will be Cabela's fourth store in Ohio, joining the Columbus location that opened in 2013. A new location in West Chester is scheduled to open this fall and a store in Centerville is expected to open in the spring of 2016. Cabela's currently operates 67 stores across North America with plans to open another 19.

    The company said in a statement that its Avon location will be built "in Cabela's new-format layout. It is designed to offer customers an immersive outdoor experience with log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, aquarium, dozens of wildlife displays and taxidermy mounts, hand-painted murals, vintage outdoor photos and an indoor archery range."

    The store will include a cafe, a fudge shop, a boat shop, a bargain cave and Cabela's Wildlife and Land Management product offerings, along with thousands of outdoor products. The 225 workers will be full and part time.

    Avon Mayor Jensen said the store will bring concerts, fishing tournaments and other activities to the area. Country music singer Luke Bryan performed a concert at a Cabela's.

    Jensen credits former Avon Mayor Jim Smith with setting "everything in motion to make Avon a place where commercial businesses are welcome. We are now realizing his dream." ...

    Jensen said as the weather warms, he expects even more announcements to come from the city about new commercial development.

    "The Residence Inn is getting ready to open next to the Clinic," he said. "The Cleveland Clinic expansion will be open next year, and the other new businesses like Menards, Meijer and Cabela's will open soon.

    "Once these anchor businesses open, much more commercial development will follow. There's an explosion of people wanting to open businesses here."

    "Housing is fine, but as Jim Smith said, new residents put a strain on our schools and infrastructure," Jensen said. "It's new commercial businesses that pay the bills."



    From fields and gravel roads to a desirable slice of real estate, [East] Avon is transforming

    By Michael Sangiacomo

    The Plain Dealer Sun News

    August 29, 2014

    AVON, Ohio -- More than a quarter of a billion dollars in new construction is going in at the eastern part of Avon, an area that was mostly farmers' fields less than a decade ago.

    The Cleveland Clinic is expanding in that area along Interstate 90 at the Nagel Road interchange and is partnering with a company to open a rehab center where patients can recuperate. Next to the clinic, a Residence Inn hotel and its good-sized conference center are being built to open in the spring.

    A second hotel, an early education center, up to five new restaurants and a convenience store also are being planned for that location.

    The recent announcement of a 175-unit senior living facility that will offer assisted living, memory care and independent living is the latest in a series of construction projects surrounding the Clinic's Richard E. Jacobs Health Center. The facility is the first part of a larger development that could include 76 townhouses, among other construction.

    There's little debate that Avon is one of the fastest-growing communities in Northeast Ohio, and the area in and around Nagel Road is expanding with it ...

    Jim Eppele, executive vice president at Jacobs Real Estate Services, said Jacobs bought about 220 acres in the Nagel Road area. Jacobs also purchased another 200 acres along Chester Road about a mile west of Nagel Road ... and the 36-acre tract on Chester Road at Ohio 83, which includes a shopping center with Lowe's, JC Penney and other stores ...

    Former Avon mayor given credit for area's growth

    Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen, as usual, credits the boom in that part of the city to the man he followed into office, former mayor Jim Smith.

    "As Jim used to say, 20 years ago you could not get anything in Avon. Today you can get everything," Jensen said. "I can't say enough about Jim's vision. He showed us all the path and we just kept following it."

    Twenty years ago, after Smith took over as mayor of Avon, vehicles went right past that area. Now they stop.

    "They were very hard times in 1994," said Smith, who is enjoying retirement. "Within seven months of my taking office we had to close Nagel Road because we did not have the $50,000 we needed to fix it. The other main road that went north into Avon Lake, Jaycox Road, was so bad we had to cut the speed limit to 15 miles per hour. We were so poor we were buying used school buses from Arkansas."

    Avon's current fortune can be traced back to several factors, but four stand out as the most significant.

    There's the decision by Jack Kahl to bring his company, Manco, (now Shur-Tech Brands), to Avon in 1996 as a place to manufacture Duck brand duct tape.

    Then in 1999, Avon Commons Shopping Center opened on Detroit Road at Ohio 83. It is a development that, according to Jensen, "made people aware that Avon had arrived."

    In December 2012, the Nagel Road interchange on Interstate 90 opened.

    Perhaps one of the most significant happenings is the opening of the [Clinic] health center, down the street from Shur-Tech, in late 2011.

    Smith said Manco's Kahl was the answer to his prayers. "Jack Kahl said he wanted to buy a couple hundred acres at the Westlake city line," Smith said. "He planned on moving his business there, which meant jobs, taxes and everything else the city needed. He had conditions. He said we would have to build 2.5 miles of road to him [his business] and install water and sewer lines. And we had to do it in six months."

    Smith, to the horror of his staff, immediately agreed.

    "What did I know? I was a barber," he recalled. "I wanted the business and would have agreed to anything. Out in the parking lot, Dave Conrad, who was the water superintendent at the time, said I was crazy ...

    The city gets tax money from all of this growth -- and lots of it.

    There is income tax on employees, and 80 percent of the the workers in the city come from outside Avon. Most of the real estate taxes go to support the schools.

    "People don't realize how much we need commercial development to keep the city and schools running," said Jensen. "All this development is the reason the residents' taxes are low."

    Jensen said the city is very business-friendly, but does not give tax breaks to lure new commercial development because "we don't have to. They want to come here."

    Bill Peacock, chief of operations at the Clinic, said there was no doubt the Avon health center would be a success.

    "There was no fear at the time," Peacock said. "What appealed to us was the ability to grow. We could build it and expand it as we needed to. Since then, we have had to expand the lot twice. We've exceeded our business plan in the number of patients treated."

    Within the health center's first year, doctors there treated more than 320,000 patients and performed more than 4,500 outpatient surgeries. The facilty averages more than 30,000 patients a month. A 24-hour emergency department opened September 5, 2012 ...

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    [Avon to spend $17.1 million for more infrastructure]

    Filed on August 26, 2015 by Jon Wysochanski

    AVON -- More than $17.1 million will be spent on infrastructure improvements over the next two years to accommodate more traffic expected from commercial growth.

    Mayor Bryan Jensen said improvements are slated for Chester and Nagel roads and state Route 83 as well as Schwartz Road Park and Veterans Memorial Park in 2016 and 2017.

    Chester and Nagel roads are expected to fill with traffic in the coming years once Menards, Cabela's, Meijer, Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital and Bendix open.

    Jensen said those projects alone are expected to bring an additional 2,000 jobs to Avon. Costs will be covered by the city, developers and grants, Jensen said, with developers covering half the cost of some road-widening projects in some instances.

    Jensen said developer agreements are also in place on all projects coming to the area, meaning developers will pay for certain utility and sewer improvements along Chester and Nagel roads.

    Projects for 2016 likely will be bid this fall in anticipation of the opening of the Cleveland Clinic, Menards, Cabela's and Meijer, Jensen said.

    In 2016, Chester Road will be widened from two lanes to five lanes east of Menard's proposed location to Jaycox Road. Storm sewers and utility work will also be performed for a total estimated cost of $5.8 million. Developers will pay about $4.8 million of those costs, Jensen said.

    The city will cover $1.1 million in costs associated with widening Chester Road to five lanes and making storm sewer and utility improvements from state Route 83 to the east property line of Wal-Mart.

    State Route 83 will also be repaved from Detroit Road in Avon to Lake Road in Avon Lake with a left-turn lane from the Avon Lake border to Lake Road and a right-turn lane to access Interstate 90 in Avon.

    That project will cost an estimated $3.1 million and is being covered jointly by Avon and Avon Lake, which both have received state grants.

    Jensen said with the increased number of jobs coming to Avon, the city expects more people to move to the area, which in turn means more people using the city's two main parks. The city will spend $1.6 million to add secondary access drives to both Schwartz Road Park and Veterans Memorial Park in anticipation.

    In 2017, Nagel Road will be widened to three lanes and the intersection of Detroit and Nagel roads will be widened as well for turning lanes, new curbs, sidewalks, catch basins and storm sewers. The city will cover all of the estimated $5.4 million in costs associated with the Nagel Road work.

    Another project slated for 2017 the city will pay for is widening Chester Road between Jaycox and Nagel roads to three lanes, installing new water mains, storm and sanitary sewers and catch basins for a little over $2 million.

    Jensen said the city intends to take out loans to pay for the estimated $12.8 million Avon will have to shell out to cover its share of the projects. He said the city will likely pay loans off in five years using revenue generated through increased income tax revenue the city will get with 2,000-plus new jobs.



    [Using the Village School]

    Filed on August 12, 2015 by Jon Wysochanski

    AVON -- A plan to move City Hall to the Avon Village School as part of a proposed partnership with Avon Local Schools has been put on hold.

    Mayor Bryan Jensen first proposed the idea to Superintendent Mike Laub in May [2015], and plans for the city to use the second and third floors of the 94-year-old building at 36600 Detroit Road were discussed.

    City Council was receptive to the plan, which called for spending about $2 million to create temporary space to house City Hall for four to five years until a new City Hall could be built, and afterward the building would have been repurposed for use as a community center.

    Jensen said it was decided during an executive session Monday night that Avon isn't in a position to spend $2 million on the project, although the plan may move forward in the next couple of years. Jensen said the city first will focus on infrastructure improvements along Chester Road to accommodate increased traffic flow once Cabela's, Menards and the Cleveland Clinic open in 2016.

    "Our focus with the explosive growth the city is experiencing right now is to be very aware of our financial situation and to be cautious," Jensen said.

    Jensen said when those businesses open, and when Bendix sets up shop in the near future, the city will likely be able to make the move and pay for renovations using increased income tax revenue. There's also the possibility that the current City Hall and the land it sits on at 36080 Chester Road will soon fall under the eye of a developer, Jensen said.

    The Lorain County auditor values the land at nearly $1.1 million, but Jensen has said previously that the city might be able to fetch more for it since commercial land in the area is a hot commodity.

    "No one has approached us at this point right now," Jensen said about selling City Hall. "But if that did happen it would speed up the process."

    Avon Schools will move forward with its plan to spend around $400,000 in permanent improvement funds to move its district offices to the first floor of the Avon Village School.

    Laub said the district intends to have the necessary renovations complete with the district offices moved by the end of this winter. The district will use the second and third floors of the school as storage space until the city decides it can move forward with shared use of the building, Laub said ...

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