Davey Tree eyes

golf course land

The Davey Tree Expert Co. is looking to expand and has its sights set on the eastern portion of Oak Knolls Golf Club on Route 43 at the northern edge of Kent.

Davey Tree officials discussed preliminary plans with the Franklin Township Zoning Commission on Jan. 12. The idea is to rezone the golf course's 168 to 175 acres on the east side of Route 43 to I-1 industrial research and office district.

"We are currently in the due diligence phase of the process," said Molly Senter, property manager of Davey Tree. "The due diligence is a thorough analysis of the property, consisting of a title search, property survey, environmental assessments, research into availability of public services and zoning.

"At this time, we do not have a confirmed plan for the future use of the property. We anticipate it will be in line with our strategic plan and will be consistent with our other uses of property in Portage County."

Marjorie Conner, corporate counsel assistant secretary of Davey Tree, said that the reason for purchasing all of the acreage is because there are no exact plans yet for the property itself.

No decision was reached by the zoning commission. The next step is to have the Portage County Regional Planning Commission look over the amendment on Feb. 8. The next zoning meeting is scheduled for Feb. 16.

-- Andrew Bugel, Record-Courier

ForTech planning

a move to Hudson

ForTec Entities is moving from Streetsboro to Hudson, taking 70 full-time jobs, 13 part-time employees and an annual payroll of $8.5 million.

A 15 year/100 percent tax abatement is in the works between the company and Hudson. The Hudson Board of Education approved a Community Reinvestment Area and tax sharing agreement at its Jan. 5 organizational meeting. City Council must still approve the agreement.

As part of the agreement, ForTec also will create 50 new jobs, or 10 per year, within its first 60 months in Hudson ,which will increase the annual payroll by $835,000. ForTec will move from its Streetsboro location at 10125 Wellman Road to a yet-to-be constructed 70,000 square foot building on parcel No. 3 at Hudson Crossing Parkway. The company plans to invest $4.5 million in the project, according to the city.

According to the company's website, ForTec "mobilizes surgical technologies -- including the broadest array of lasers -- to hospitals, surgery centers, and physician offices on an as-needed basis."

New vehicle sales

fall overall in '16

Franchised new vehicle dealers across Northern Ohio sold 8,386 new trucks and SUVs in December, an increase of almost 13 percent for the month, ending 2016 with a sales trend seen across the entire year.

While truck and SUV sales grew by almost 8 percent in 2016, cars were off 7.77 percent. In total, combined sales of all trucks, SUVs and cars were off 2.45 percent.

for the year, according to figures released by the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers' Association.

"Although sales were off less than three percent from last year, we are still moving a considerable amount of new and used vehicles in our market, especially when you compare the figures to pre-recession levels," says Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the GCADA.

Franchised new vehicle dealers sold 19,985 new vehicles in December of 2016 compared to 20,465 in the same month a year prior. For the year, dealers sold 245,474 new vehicles compared with 251,651 in 2015.

Ford kept its crown as Northern Ohio's best-selling brand, selling 38,743 vehicles. Chevrolet was close behind with 36,940 vehicles sold, followed by Honda at 21,043 and Toyota at 20,724.

Big winners for 2016 included Buick, Fiat, Jeep, Lincoln and Volvo, with each brand ringing up strong double-digit growth when comparing 2016 with 2015.