Cuyahoga Falls City Council will consider on Feb. 13 legislation to grant a local motorcycle dealer a 75 percent tax exemption for 10 years on the increase in the assessed value of his property resulting from a potential $2.5 million expansion project.
State 8 Motorcycles, located at 100 Cuyahoga Falls Parkway and 4193 State Road, has been in the community since 1995, Diane Sheridan, the city's director of community development, told City Council on Feb. 6. Sheridan said she and Mayor Don Walters toured State 8 last August and learned the owner, Richard "Kirk" Compton, needs more space and was considering expanding his Cuyahoga Falls business or relocating to Medina where he has a second location.
The proposed expansion project at 95 Cuyahoga Falls Industrial Parkway calls for an increase in space by 18,000 square feet, Sheridan said, at a cost of $1.1 million. The total new investment will be more than $2.4 million, she added.
State 8 currently has 39 full-time and five part-time employees with an annual payroll of $1.92 million. "If the abatement is granted," Sheridan said, "State 8 will hire five full-time and four part-time employees resulting in an increase in annual payroll of $310,000."
Sheridan further said the Woodridge Local School District's Board of Education recommended the 75 percent, 10-year abatement through a resolution. State 8 has offered Woodridge an annual scholarship of $1,000 spanning the 10-year abatement period, she said.
"While expanding in Medina would be less expensive, they have a higher traffic count and residents have a higher median income resulting in more disposable income, State 8 would like to remain in the Falls and assist in the revitalization of the State Road Corridor," said Sheridan. "To offset the expense of staying in the city, an abatement has been requested."
Sheridan said according to Summit County's 2016 Full Tax Distribution Details, State 8's 100 Cuyahoga Falls Industrial Parkway (the non-abated parcel) location's estimated market value is just under $1 million. More than $16,000 annually is currently being paid to Woodridge and just under $4,000 is being directed to the city.
"Including what is already being paid in property taxes plus the new potential addition, and assuming Council approves the abatement, approximately $26,500 will be paid annually to Woodridge (plus the annual $1,000 gift) and about $6,000 will be paid to the city in the annual taxes," she said. "That is an increase of over $11,200 to Woodridge and an increase of over $2,300 to the city in property taxes."
"We've enjoyed being in Cuyahoga Falls," said Compton. "We've been here for quite a long time." Compton said he originally started his business across from the "old Spitzer building" on State Road, Schwebel's Thrift Store. In 2002, he built the current building next to where the new Audi dealership stands today.
"It's been a good run for us," said Compton, "and we hope to keep that going. We have a store in Medina that is also growing on a 5-acre lot on Route 18 where there is a building available next to it up for sale."
Compton said State 8 uses the building on the State Road property as a storage warehouse. This is the site of the former Boot Scoot'n Saloon, which closed in 2004 after a Summit County Common Pleas Court judge issued a temporary restraining order in response to a suit filed by the city following a teen night event at the nightclub that resulted in multiple arrests. Shortly after the order was issued, management decided against re-opening at the site.
Compton said he purchased the property in 2004. A couple of years ago he sold it to Cascade Auto Group which has been leasing it back to him for storage purposes.
The expansion planned at 95 Cuyahoga Falls Industrial Parkway will replace the State Road storage site, according to the proposed abatement agreement.
The abatement is important to Compton and his business, he said, because of the nature of his business.
"We are making our money five months out of the year," he said. "Two months of the year we're hoping to break even and the other five months we're trying not to give it back. It's not like a lot of industries." Compton said only 1 to 2 percent of the population purchase motorcycles and ATVs.
"We have very narrow windows and we're very subject to the economy and we really hope you'll support us with this tax deferment."
"I want to thank you for your commitment to the community with your expansion," said Councilman Adam Miller (R-6). "Hopefully you spend another 20-plus years in the city." Miller also thanked Compton for his support of Woodridge Local Schools through the proposed annual scholarship.
"You have a niche in this area," said Councilman Vic Pallotta (R-3). "You are the motorcycle dealer."
"We'd like to think so, but there's a lot of competition around It's challenging," Compton said.