Independence company plans to relocate to Hudson in 2021

Fleet Response will bring more than 200 jobs to city during next few years; council approves grant deal with firm

PHIL KEREN Reporter
The area outlined in red at Executive Parkway and Boston Mills Road shows the place where Fleet Response is planning to set up its headquarters in Hudson in late summer of 2021. City Council on Aug. 18 approved a job creation grant deal in conjunction with Fleet Response's plan to move from Independence to Hudson.

HUDSON — The city has entered a job creation grant agreement with a company that is moving its operations into Hudson next year and is planning to bring more than 200 jobs to the municipality during the next few years.

City Council on Aug. 18 approved the job creation grant deal with FleetHQ Partners LLC, which is slated to relocate its Fleet Response headquarters from Independence to Hudson in late summer of 2021. The plan calls for construction of a two-story, 43,000 square-foot office building on a 45-acre parcel at Boston Mills Road and West Executive Parkway. Council on Aug. 4 voted to sell the land for $1.1 million to FleetHQ.

Under the job creation grant deal, Fleet Response will receive a 50% income tax credit each year for 10 years as long as it meets certain job number and payroll figures.

Fleet Response’s planned relocation is expected to bring approximately 185 existing jobs with an annual payroll of about $15 million to Hudson, according to the legislation passed by council. The relocation is also slated to bring 40 more employees carrying a payroll of approximately $5 million to Hudson during the next four years.

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.

Allison Lanzilotta, executive vice president of Fleet Response, said her company is growing and has been seeking land to meet its building needs and to provide outside green space for its employees. They found what they needed with the parcel in Hudson.

“Hudson had both the land size and proximity to highways we were looking for,” said Lanzilotta. “Hudson also agreed to provide some consideration for job growth which provides value to Fleet Response.”

Lanzillota added that the company’s CEO and president, Scott Mawaka, is a member of the Hudson community, and “is happy to be able to support and provide job growth in the city he resides.”

The city of Hudson’s economic point-man said he is looking forward to welcoming Fleet to the municipality.

“The city of Hudson is excited by the news that Fleet Response will soon construct its corporate headquarters in Hudson,” said Jim Stifler, the city’s economic development director. “Fleet Response is an industry leader and innovator in a forward facing market, and they were also just recognized as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces.”

How the grant deal works

The income tax credit would take the form of a grant reimbursement.

If the company meets certain employment and payroll levels, it will receive a grant from the city each year for 10 years worth 50% of the maximum amount of payroll tax money that Hudson is eligible to receive.

Stifler said Fleet Response would pay the full amount in income taxes in each of the 10 years, and then receive a 50% reimbursement for each year that it meets the employment and payroll level requirements.

Fleet officials are estimating their employees will spend 40% of their time working outside of Hudson. This means that 60% of the yearly income tax money generated by Fleet will be paid to the city. That maximum amount — based on 125% of the income taxes at the maximum employment level — is $15.15 million. In other words, if the company meets its job level and payroll requirements, it would be reimbursed for 50% of its $15.15 million payroll.

The job creation time frame starts Jan. 1, 2021 and ends Dec. 31, 2024, according to the agreement. The company is then committing to have 195 employees by Dec. 31, 2021, 205 workers by Dec. 31, 2022, 215 by Dec. 31, 2023, and 225 by Dec. 31, 2024.

To receive the 50% grant each year, FleetHQ must meet at least 75% of the agreed-upon employment level and 90% of the agreed-upon payroll amount.

If FleetHQ does not meet the 90% benchmark on payroll, it will receive a reduced grant amount (anywhere from 35% to 45%) as long as it meets at least 75% of its projected payroll. If there is a year where FleetHQ does not meet 75% of its payroll benchmark or does not meet 75% of its projected employment level, the company will not receive a grant for that year.

Land sale approved earlier in August

The approval of this grant deal follows council’s backing of a purchase and sale agreement with FleetHQ for the property located at West Executive Parkway and Boston Mills Road on Aug. 4. The city purchased the land for $70,800 through the Summit County Land Bank in 2018 and is now selling the property to FleetHQ for $1.1 million.

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 FleetHQ 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.