When Chrysler Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the ripple effect was felt in communities across the country, including Twinsburg, OH, where one of the company's plants was located. As a condition of the federal bankruptcy, the plant was closed, sold off in an auction, and 1,000 jobs were lost.
Having been part of the Twinsburg community for more than 50 years, the loss of the plant was significant for the Cleveland suburb. It accounted for approximately 13 percent of the city's income tax revenue. The shutdown meant a loss of $2.3 million annually, and many community leaders feared it would remain empty and unused – a community eyesore – for at least 5 to 10 years.
In fact, most believed the facility and land – 2.3 million square feet on 167 acres – would be a difficult real estate sale. But Scannell Properties and DiGeronimo Companies realized the property had much to offer – not only in terms of the land and building, but also through the scrap metal, recycled concrete, natural gas, mineral rights and more.
Their vision extended beyond selling off its pieces and parts. Scannell and DiGeronimo believed it could become the cornerstone of the community, which, before Chrysler's departure, had been ranked the #1 Cleveland suburb for its services, schools and low taxes. Together, Scannell and DiGeronimo purchased the former Chrysler Stamp Plant and began working with county, city and state government leaders to turn their vision into a reality.
Chief among Scannell and DiGeronimo's goals is to make the property productive again, bringing back businesses and jobs. To do that, they needed to undergo a series of environmental changes and to update and modernize the facility – now more than 60 years old – to make it attractive as both an industrial and office park.
The first step in bringing their vision forward was rebranding the area as CornerStone Business Park. As a modern business park, CornerStone will include both industrial and office space and offer built-to-suit opportunities on the 167 acres of land.
To update the building and get it move-in ready, Scannell and DiGeronimo demolished approximately 1.5 million square feet, leaving approximately 800,000 square feet of modern manufacturing space. In order to accomplish the reuse, the team reworked utility services, performed necessary environmental remediation and began to actively seek out companies and site selectors to promote CornerStone as an ideal location for both growing businesses needing more space.
Scannell and DiGeronimo have formed a strong partnership with the Mayor's Office and the Economic Development Board. Together, they set a vision for the property and have been in active pursuit of businesses that want to be part of CornerStone. The first success came from a long-time Twinsburg business: Vistar, a wholesale candy, snack and beverage supplier whose parent company is Performance Food Group.
Scannell is building Vistar a 137,000-square-foot warehouse that is 50 percent larger than Vistar's current facility, giving the company the capacity to hold more inventory and move more product. Twinsburg sweetened the deal by providing a property tax abatement that will begin at 75 percent and slide to 25 percent before ending in 10 years.
Vistar's agreement to lease at CornerStone has shown the community and other businesses that there's a lot of validity and potential for the former Chrysler Stamp Plant. In fact, it is estimated that the industrial business park has the potential to provide a $203 million market value, $4 million in property tax and 3,200 jobs—making it the new cornerstone of Twinsburg, OH.