Hudson City Council backs $1.1 million land sale

Developer plans to build 43,000-square-foot office building, bringing 177 jobs to city

PHIL KEREN Reporter
This proposed site plan, part of the city's purchase agreement with Fleet HQ Partners LLC, shows three building sites on the 45-acre property north of Boston Mills Road. City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved selling the land to Fleet HQ for $1.1 million.

HUDSON — The city is moving forward on a deal to sell a 45-acre parcel on Boston Mills Road for $1.1 million to a developer that is planning to construct an office building on the site.

City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a purchase and sale agreement with Fleet HQ Partners, LLC for the property located at West Executive Parkway and Boston Mills Road.

The property, just east of Route 8 and opposite the River Oaks subdivision, was purchased by the city through the Summit County Land Bank in 2018 for $70,800.

According to a proposed site plan that is part of the city’s agreement with Fleet HQ Partners LLC, three buildings would be constructed on the 45-acre property, starting with a 43,000-square-foot office building for Fleet Response.

Fleet Response is an Independence-based firm that provides claims management, accident management, driver safety training, subrogation and other services to companies that self-insure physical damage to truck and automotive fleets, specialty insurers seeking outsourced support, and delivery contract services.

The company would bring 177 jobs to town initially, with occupancy planned for August, 2021. Its building could be expanded to more than 80,000 square feet at some future time.

The site plan shows two other building sites, an 80,000-square-foot building with 320 parking spaces and a 7,200-square-foot building with 38 parking spaces.

One resident emailed comments to council stating his objection to the land sale and the envisioned project. Ed Carroll wrote that Mayor Craig Shubert and some new members of council were elected as a “rebuttal” to the planned Downtown Phase II project and its “ensuing traffic congestion.” Carroll wrote he felt Fleet HQ’s project planned on Boston Mills Road would also increase traffic congestion and noted he believed the development of the property’s forested area adjacent to wetlands “would seem to be counter to the ethos of Hudson, a ‘tree city.’”

“Development of this parcel would seem to be one more step down the slippery slope to Hudson becoming yet another congested, over-developed suburban community,” wrote Carroll in remarks that were read into the record by council clerk Elizabeth Slagle.

Council members Chris Foster (Ward 2) and Skylar Sutton (Ward 3), who were both elected last fall, spoke in support of the purchase and the expected project.

“It was intended to be used as commercial property,” said Foster. “This was one piece that makes really, really good sense for the city of Hudson.”

Foster pointed out that Phase II was supposed to include 120,000 square feet of office space and 102 residential units. The Fleet project is planned on the outskirts of town by Route 8 and noted its traffic impact would not be comparable to Phase II plans.

Sutton said that only a portion of the land is slated for development, but acknowledged that once Fleet HQ owns the property, they could develop “the whole thing if they wanted to develop the whole thing.” He added he had been concerned about Phase II because it was going to be built in an “already problematic area for traffic.”

With the Fleet project, Sutton stated, “I’m guessing most of what we’re going to see from this development is going to be … sort of to and from the highway … I don’t see this as negatively impacting some of our most severe traffic problems.”

Sutton said he felt Phase II was envisioned as building a development and then hoping the jobs would come to town. In contrast, the Fleet project is guaranteed to bring jobs to the city.

Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large) observed the project will bring “a lot of very good tax dollars” into the city.

The city had in January reached an agreement to sell the property to Premier Commercial Realty Inc., which in turn was planning to sell part of the property to Fleet HQ for an office building, but Premier backed out of the deal over concerns about the large proportion of the land that was unbuildable due to wetlands, according to city spokesperson Jody Roberts.

Roberts said city officials then approached Fleet HQ about purchasing the land directly from the city.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.