Unlike newer suburbs with acres of vacant land available for development, the City of Bedford needs to think outside of the box regarding its economic development efforts. “A lot of people talk about development,” says Mike Mallis, City Manager for the City of Bedford. “Because there are not a lot of empty parcels for new construction in the city, we have to look at parcels and find creative paths toward redevelopment.”
One such redevelopment opportunity in the small first-ring eastern suburb recently came in the way of Tinkers Creek Commerce Park, the site of the old Brush-Wellman factory on Egbert Road.
Vacant for years, the property was acquired by Hemisphere Redevelopment, which subsequently demolished the factory and remediated the remaining brownfield. In 2006, the Taylor Chair Company, a manufacturer of office furniture, purchased approximately six acres of land and constructed a manufacturing plant on the site, but the company closed in 2012. In 2013, Art of Beauty, a manufacturer of cosmetics most well-known for its Zoya brand of nail polishes and nail care products, purchased the property and moved its operations to the location.
With an anchor tenant in place, the City of Bedford looked at development opportunities for the remaining 30 acres of undeveloped land in the industrial park. After sitting for sale for over 15 years with little interest from the development community, the City of Bedford took ownership of the property, transferring it to the Cuyahoga Land Bank to hold the parcels while the city worked to find new potential users.
Anticipating future growth and expansion, Art of Beauty purchased five acres abutting its current property in 2021.
Working with Liberty Development Co., a real estate development, management and construction company located in Cleveland, the city recently approved a proposal to divide the remaining 25 acres into six developable parcels.
There are now plans in place for an existing Bedford-based business to relocate to one of the parcels in the park and construct a new manufacturing facility on seven acres. Lake Shore Electric, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in Bedford, will remain in Bedford, retaining nearly 50 jobs with the potential for future growth. A second Cuyahoga County business, Cleveland Tank & Supply, recently announced plans to build another manufacturing facility on five acres in the park, bringing an additional 50 new jobs to the city.
“Whether demolishing vacant properties or redeveloping existing properties, the City of Bedford has no better partner than the Cuyahoga Land Bank,” says Mallis. “The staff’s expertise is vital to many projects we tackle. The Land Bank is a tremendous partner, and we couldn’t be more appreciative.”