LayerZero’s tax abatement could result in 30 to 40 new jobs

Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Aurora, Ohio

AURORA — A tax abatement being considered by City Council could result in 30 to 40 new full-time jobs coming to LayerZero Power Systems’ site at 1500 Danner Drive in the southern industrial zone.

A Community Redevelopment Area 1 tax abatement agreement with BG Equity Holdings LLC for the Danner Drive property was introduced at Council’s Jan. 25 meeting. The abatement, which will be on second reading at Council’s Feb. 8 meeting, would be 100 percent for 15 years.

Founded in 2001, LayerZero Power Systems designs high-reliability power distribution and power quality monitoring products for the information technology, communications and financial sectors. Owners are Milind M. Bhanno and James J. Galm.

The firm plans to add 44,000 to 48,000 square feet of manufacturing space beside its current building by Jan. 31, 2022, resulting in an abatement-eligible investment of $2.8 million and $1.8 million worth of equipment.

The 30 to 40 new employees would be added by the end of 2024, and would result in $1.32 million more in annual payroll added to the current $1.02 million. The firm now employs 69 permanent full-timers, eight temporary full-timers and one temporary part-timer.

Meanwhile, council postponed action on a rezoning issue proposed by Heritage Capital Corp. after a public hearing took place at which nobody spoke. Council called a special meeting Feb. 1 to further consider the matter.

If the resolution is approved, the issue likely would appear on the May 4 primary election ballot to rezone 16.4 acres from I-1 industrial to M-1 mixed-use and allow the company to convert about 70 to 75 rooms at the Bertram Inn to condominiums.

The nearly 20-year-old, 25,000-square-foot inn operates under a conditional zoning certificate as a hotel complex, with 224 rooms, a conference center, banquet and meeting facilities, outdoor pool and two restaurants. The land surrounding the parcel is zoned PD planned development.

Heritage Capital spokesman Rob Benjamin has said the firm wants to transform some of the rooms into about 35 for-sale condo units. About 150 rooms would remain for overnight guests, and the other amenities would stay in place.

“A lot of things have changed since the Bertram was built,” said Heritage Capital spokesman George Kimson at a planning commission meeting in November. “We are looking for a new business model that makes sense.”

OTHER BUSINESS

• Council OK’d Everstream’s proposal to upgrade the city’s internet connection, which is currently with Spectrum, for a three-year period starting in July. The cost is $1,500 per month, a $1 per month increase, for 1.25 gbps. A $500 setup fee will be waived. The city received five quotes.

• Jeff Clark’s reappointment and Brad Duguay’s appointment to the landmark commission were confirmed. Duguay replaces Tom Shrout, with both terms running through Dec. 31, 2023.

• Moving on to second reading was an agreement to purchase a 2021 Chevrolet Traverse from Ganley Chevrolet for the fire department at a cost of $28,825, minus $2,500 for trade-in of a 2010 Chevy Impala.

• Council had no objections to a new liquor permit for 30 Shawnee Trail F & B LLC (doing business as the Aurora Inn). Law Director DePiero explained the inn’s main creditor has purchased the property, which was in receivership, and a new license is necessary to continue selling alcohol.

• Police Chief Brian Byard presented annual police department awards to the following: Sgt. Pat Domos, officer of the year; dispatcher Kaitlin Orosz, employee of the year; and forensic accountant Jennifer Schonauer, citizen recognition for helping to solve the Aurora VFW Post 2629 money theft case.

• Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin announced that former Finance Director Bob Paul, who served the city for 27 years, recently died. Several council members expressed their condolences.

“I worked with him almost all of the years he was with the city, and he kept us afloat,” said Councilman Jim Vaca. “Bob left the city in great shape financially for [current Finance Director] Tim Clymer to take over,” added Councilman John Kudley, while Councilman George Horvat said, “He will be sorely missed.”

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