Only two bids received; New Hope Industries was one of them
Bids for New Hope Industries property will not be disclosed August 16 2019
New Hope Industries land bank sale vote July 18 2019
New Hope Industries asks for more time July 12, 2019
New Hope given 5 months to vacate July 10, 2019
MOUNT VERNON — Following a 20-minute executive session Wednesday, The Knox County Land Bank Board of Directors selected the application and purchase offer of AMG Industries to buy the 35,000 square-foot building at 1375 Newark Road.
The purchase price was $1.05 million and the contract has been signed, with the closing to occur by December, Land Bank President Jeff Gottke said following the unanimous board vote. The land bank will earn $105,000, or 10 percent of the purchase price in selling the building, which was owned by Knox County government before it was turned over to the Land Bank in July to sell.
The rest of the funds will go to the Knox County Board of DD.
Only two bids were received, the other being from New Hope Industries, Inc., which had previously been notified in June it had five months, or until December, to vacate the property. County commissioners later extended that relocation deadline to April 15 of next year.
Angie Wise, NHI assistant CEO and business manager, said NHI, which provides day habilitation and employment services to adults with developmental disabilities, is preparing to move on and find a new location in the area. She is set to become NHI’s new CEO when Dennis Eggerton retires at the end of the year and will lead NHI employees and staff into their new home by next spring.
“My only statement I would like to make at this time is we are very disappointed we were not selected as the successful bidder,” Wise said following the meeting. “But the people we serve continue to be our main priority. We are diligently seeking a place we can relocate to and call home. I am confident we will be able to work with the new buyer and make this transition smooth.”
NHI has occupied the building since 1981 and was under a sublease with the county Developmental Disabilities board since 2007. The DD board, which could not own property at the time under state rules, turned the property over to the county while leasing the building, with NHI as its sub-lessor at $1 per year. The DD board recently voted to give $250,000 of the building’s sale price to NHI, to assist with moving costs and related expenses.
Gottke said that AMG Industries, which originated as a Mount Vernon-based company in 1966, is committed to helping NHI with financial support as NHI transitions to a new location. He did not specify the monetary amount of that commitment. AMG is one of about a dozen Mount Vernon Industrial Park businesses that has helped employ about 50 NHI clients with developmental disabilities, by giving them assembly and packaging work to perform on the manufacturing room floor.
AMG makes metallic shims, gaskets, and precision stamped and welded products for the automotive and energy industries, Gottke said. The company will invest a total of $2.4 million in fixed asset investments to its present industrial park location at 200 Commerce Drive, a total which includes its $1.05 million purchase of the NHI building and its 6 acres.
“The purchase of this property allows AMG Industries to expand its operations in Mount Vernon,” Gottke said. “As part of the purchase, AMG Industries plans to add 24 net new jobs at the Mount Vernon facilities, resulting in $1.3 million in additional annual payroll, as well as retain the company’s 118 existing local jobs,” he said. The expansion will allow AMG to add new products and grow its manufacturing processes while entering new markets, he added, while noting AMG employees earn an average of $55,000 per year.
“AMG also considered Pennsylvania and South Carolina as the site of this expansion project, which would have resulted in a loss of jobs and payroll in Knox County,” Gottke said. “The availability of the property on Newark Road was key driver to keep this project in Mount Vernon.”
Land bank board Chair Teresa Bemiller said that while the land bank board was in executive session, its members each expressed concern for NHI and asked questions about their relocation prospects. The fact that AMG Industries wants to help NHI with financial assistance was “a big plus” to board members, she offered.
As worded in a press release Gottke distributed to the media, “Although not directly involved in the displacement of Knox New Hope Industries, Inc., AMG Industries is willing to offer its own commitment of resources, in partnership with other community organizations to assist those individuals who are most vulnerable in our community with a successful relocation.”
Bemiller, who is from Fredericktown, said she knew and went to school with members of the McElroy family, who created AMG Industries, including Jim McElroy, who started the business. Bemiller went to school with his son, Dave McElroy. Recently, Gottke said, the company was acquired by an Akron-based hedge fund.
Although five interested parties toured the NHI grounds in the past few weeks during four open houses, only AMG Industries and NHI emerged as the two applicants. Gottke said it was his belief that the negative reaction from community members involving NHI’s required relocation that made some of those potential buyers lose interest.
“They were concerned about the backlash that would happen if they bought the building,” he said. He added that well before NHI was informed it would need to relocate, which was in late June, the Area Development Foundation — of which Gottke is vice president and runs land bank daily operations — had been working with AMG since February of this year to find a potential new site for expansion. Its current site on Commercial Drive has simply run out of space, he said.
Gottke announced in the press release that AMG has been awarded a JobsOhio grant of $150,000 to purchase new manufacturing machinery and equipment to expand its Mount Vernon operations. The grant fund will specifically be used to purchase an annealing oven and test equipment for manufacturing metallic gaskets.
“The Area Development Foundation has been working with regional banking partners, including the State of Ohio’s Rural Business Growth Fund and the Knox County Revolving Loan Fund, to assist AMG Industries in financing the $2.4 million cost of this expansion project,” Gottke wrote in his release distributed immediately to media after the land bank board came out of executive session.
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