American Greetings just put Westlake on the map.
Following today’s announcement that the greeting card giant will move from Brooklyn to the far-west suburbs in 2014, new details have emerged that reveal the wide scope and vision of the project.
American Greetings plans to build a 700,000-square-foot world headquarters next to Crocker Park. And to capitalize on the move, the city of Westlake and Stark Enterprises plan to expand the mixed-use, outdoor mall through a $100 million retail development that would include a hotel, parking garage and other civic spaces and public improvements, media communications manager Patrice Sadd said.
Project officials say the spin-off development will create more than 3,000 jobs. About 750 of those jobs will be permanent; the other 2,500 will be in construction, Sadd said.
Stark Enterprises, the developer of Crocker Park, will be responsible for the hotel and the planned 250,000 square feet of new retail offerings.
The American Greetings headquarters, which will be located on a 13-acre site off Main Street, will cost tens of millions of dollars with the majority of the funding coming from private financing that will be secured by the company.
“We are confident that moving to Westlake is the right business decision for our consumers, our retailers, our associates, shareholders and American Greetings – both now and in the future,” CEO Zev Weiss said in a prepared statement. “And we are pleased that we are maintaining our commitment to Cuyahoga County and northeast Ohio by staying in the area.
"Crocker Park is a vibrant retail center, with a variety of stores in step with the latest trends and appealing to a wide range of consumers. This will create an energy and synergy that will inspire our ability to create products that meet the needs of our consumers and retailers.”
The plan will hinge on approval of a 30-year tax increment financing to pay for about $41 million in infrastructure improvements, along with a previously awarded state grant and funding from American Greetings.
Westlake City Council and the school board will review the deal and each will have to approve the tax increment financing.