Martin Wheel plans to expand facility on West Avenue

Planning and Zoning Commission recommends city vacate Sunrise Street and deed neighboring property to company.

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- Within the next one to three years, Martin Wheel Co. could expand its facility on West Avenue and hire more workers.

President Thomas Hartmann said the company bought the property to its west at 360 West Ave. in October with that expansion in mind.

According to city officials, a vacant building, which was used as a warehouse by the former Tallmadge Beverage company until it went out of business a few years ago, is the only structure on the property. The building is in poor condition and serves no purpose to the company, they said.

"We're basically going to level the building that's there and add an addition onto our current building," Hartmann said.

Plant Manager Jim Williams said the project would add about 80,000 to 100,000-square-feet of warehouse space to the estimated 135,000-square-foot facility, which would allow the company to save money by closing its two rented warehouses in Akron and consolidating them into the building.

Williams wasn't able to estimate how much the building addition would cost.

The city needs to rezone the property from commercial to industrial before construction can start, but even before a request can be submitted, the city must vacate Sunrise Street, the short, no-outlet access road that runs in between the two properties and intersects with West Avenue, to make room for the expansion.

During its Jan. 2 meeting, the Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend to City Council that it approve the company's request for the street vacation. The request also includes the city deeding the property on which the street sits to the company.

"I'm in favor of vacating Sunrise ... It really makes good sense for economic development and eliminating that building to the west and allowing that building to expand over Sunrise," Mayor Dave Kline said.

City Council has the ultimate say whether the city vacates the street.

Martin Wheel, a division of Americana Development, employs about 100 workers at its facility at 342 West Ave. Hiring more workers for its staff is possible, too, but the number is unknown at this time, Hartmann said.

"That depends on future business. We're looking for growth, and as we grow we're going to be needing additional space. And when you grow you're probably going to be needing some more people," he said.

If the company obtains Council's approval for the vacation of Sunrise Street and change in zoning of the property, Williams said construction for the addition could begin sometime in 2015 and last for seven to 10 months.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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