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Tallmadge -- Martin Wheel is rolling closer to the planned expansion of its West Avenue business.
The Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission voted May 1 to recommend City Council approve the company's request for the reclassification of its most recently acquired property at 360 West Ave. from commercial to industrial.
In January, Martin Wheel President Thomas Hartmann said the company bought the approximately 2 acre property to its west last 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 several 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.
At the May 1 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Darrell Ruthrauff, vice president and general manager of Kenda Tire & Wheel, a Martin Wheel division, said the company's manufacturing would remain in the existing building, while the new West Avenue property would be used for parking and the expanded building would be used for storage.
Plant Manager Jim Williams has 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.
City Economic Developer Dennis Loughry called Martin Wheel's plans "a piece of the revitalization of West Avenue."
Martin Wheel produces tires, tubes and wheels for, among others, lawn mowers, campers, golf carts and tractors.
Earlier this year, City Council approved vacating 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. The request also included the city deeding the property on which the street sits to the company.
Martin Wheel, a division of Americana Development, employs about 100 workers at its West Avenue facility. Hiring more workers for its staff is possible, too, but the number is unknown at this time, Hartmann said.
Williams has said construction for the addition could begin sometime in 2015 and last for seven to 10 months.
A public hearing has been scheduled during City Council's May 22 meeting.
Tallmadge Express Reporter Holly Schoenstein contributed to this story.
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