A brand-new 700,000-square-foot headquarters and 3,000 jobs, plus $100 million in spin-off development equal very good things for Westlake, Avon and Avon Lake.
Following American Greetings announcement that the company will be relocating to Crocker Park in 2014 (and bringing money, development and jobs with it) real estate agents and politicians alike have eagerly discussed how their respective cities and the region at-large can leverage the many opportunities that the greeting card giant will bring.
“It’s making a significant impact,” said Westlake realtor and broker Tony Kazanas. “I have a lot of customers that work at American Greetings, and their continued and growing presence makes a big difference.
“I know the impact it’s already had with people that are either moving to the area or considering staying in the area. And not just those working at American Greetings, but the impact it makes on the surrounding services because all these people obviously use other services in the area whether it be restaurants, healthcare, retail and so on.”
Dick Sweda, an Avon Realtor who owns The Sweda Group, has been assessing the logistics of the move, and is projecting a high spike in home sales.
“I’ve been in the Avon market as a builder and as a realtor going back over 20 years,” Sweda said. “And what I’ve always noticed is when there’s a job cycle with either industrial or commercial development – as soon as that arrives – there’s a direct proportion to new construction and new home building.
“With that in mind, I predict we’re going to see a 20- to 25-percent spike in existing and new home sales within the next three years.”
Avon Lake Mayor KC Zuber said the relocation presents a “mutually beneficial scenario” for the far west side suburbs regarding real estate in Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties and Avon Mayor Jim Smith elaborated on Zuber’s assessment and discussed several potentially positive outcomes.
Since several American Greetings employees live in Avon, the move to Westlake versus an out-of-state relocation means the city will retain its present AG residents as well as bring in new ones who will want to live closer to the Crocker Park headquarters.
“Anytime you have an influx of people coming into the area and purchasing existing houses or buying new houses it keeps the prices up,” Smith said.
“And given that a nationally and internationally recognized company is moving to Westlake further legitimizes the region in regard to big business and the $100 million in spin-off retail development at Crocker Park is just the beginning. I think this move will continue to attract new business opportunities both locally and regionally."
Realtor Jean Kochan, who co-owns Preferred Properties Realty in Avon Lake, said it was unfortunate that Brooklyn would be losing millions of dollars in annual revenue, but was glad that American Greetings many employees would be staying in the area.
Like most in Lorain and Cuyahoga County, she predicts a “boom” in business and home sales and think it’s a step in the right direction to jump start the state’s sluggish economy.