Streetsboro-based Geis Co. plans to develop about 470 acres just north of the Ohio Turnpike on the west side of Route 44. The project would transform the farmland, which is bisected by Beck Road, into a major hub in the area.
“This Shalersville piece is really the last mega-site in Northeast Ohio that can accommodate easily up to 8 million square feet of industrial, and right now the industrial market is very hot,” said Conrad Geis, a managing partner and director at Geis Co. “We don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.”
For the sake of comparison, Geis said the company has developed about 5.5 million square feet in Streetsboro, which has become one of the county’s largest industrial bases over the past several decades.
“We’ve been there since 1996,” Geis said of Streetsboro. “Really, the land that is out there is pretty much diminishing with Geis holding the last few sites for industrial there. We still have some sporadic sites, but nothing that could get that density. If you’re talking a million square foot building, there’s really nothing you can put that on in that area.”
Shalersville Township Trustee Ron Kotkowski said the township has been waiting for years for industrial development on the property.
“It’s been zoned either industrial or light industrial since 1959,” he said. “It was owned by Swagelok for a long time. We’ve been kind of waiting for years with Swagelok. There was another company that came to us and wanted to put a big warehouse there, but, at the last minute, they changed their minds and went somewhere else.”
With Geis Co., he said he’s hopeful development will come soon.
“I’m happy a local company has bought it because I think it’s much more likely to be developed,” he said.
Geis said the user sizes are getting larger in the area.
The buildings planned for Shalersville, which could range from 250,000 square feet to 1.2 million square feet in size could dwarf most of the buildings currently in the market, the largest of which is Geis Co.’s 434,000-square-foot building on Route 43 in Streetsboro, according to Geis.
“We built the largest spec building in the market in northeast Ohio, which was the 434,000-square-foot building,” said Geis. “And so we think that the user size is definitely getting larger. And there are more talks of larger units or tenants coming to the market.”
The location in Shalersville has relatively quick access to a lot of roads, he added.
“Obviously, right on the turnpike, it’s perfect access to either downtown Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Pa. — you know it’s about an hour to Pittsburgh, hour to Pittsburgh airport, downtown Akron is 30 minutes, Cleveland’s 30 minutes, Cleveland airport is 40 minutes.”
Although he couldn’t speak about specific discussions Geis has had with companies looking to build, he said the market for industrial space is in uncharted territory.
“In theory, it’s never been like it is today, and, you know, we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon,” he said. “We’re seeing new users pop up that haven’t been in this market — from that to homegrown users that have just been expanding on all fronts from manufacturing to distribution.”