A number of business developments have unfolded this year, or are doing so, in Defiance County.
Perhaps biggest, so far, is the opening of the new Credit Adjustments headquarters on Defiance’s Latchaw Drive (see related story). But some other significant projects are happening as well.
One on the drawing board for a few years is the Harmon Business Park near Johns Manville’s Carpenter Road plant on Defiance’s northside.
The park moved closer to attracting its first business Monday when Defiance’s city planning commission approved a site plan for a new speculative building there. The 80,000-square-foot building would provide a shell for an industry that can finish the structure to its needs.
Harmon Group will pay for the building’s cost, utility infrastructure and the development of Commerce Drive to connect to Domersville Road (Ohio 281). Defiance County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) Executive Director Jerry Hayes said the company is seeking grant funds through the state to help offset the cost, and should know by Friday whether it will receive funding.
In recent years, Hayes and other local officials have emphasized the need for existing buildings to attract industry in the competitive economic development field.
The CIC and the city of Defiance have taken an active role in developing the park. City council approved the plans of Mayor Mike McCann’s administration to provide the necessary land, resulting in a $2 million investment by the city.
Other larger business developments ongoing or planned this year in Defiance County, include:
• A $50 million investment at JM’s Carpenter Road plant will add 24 good-paying jobs when completed, according to Hayes. But the coronavirus situation is causing a holdup due to foreign travel restrictions on technicians needed to help get the equipment up and running.
The project began more than one year ago, and will help JM increase capacity for a pipe insulation line to meet additional demand, Hayes noted.
The expansion could make JM Defiance County’s largest employer, Hayes indicated. The company’s two Defiance plants employed 530 people at the end of 2019, he said, while General Motors — just east of Defiance — employs “not more than 550.”
• The giant egg farm located east of Hicksville north of the Ohio 18/Rosedale intersection is planning a $19.1 million investment to build three new units for additional laying hens, according to Hayes. This will give the site 16 egg production houses and create 14 additional jobs, bringing the facility’s total employment to 140, he explained.
The company is working on an enterprise zone agreement with county commissioners to receive some tax relief on its investment.
Hayes said many of the company’s eggs are distributed to restaurants and supermarkets in cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus and Detroit.
• The store opened on Ottawa Avenue in recent weeks, only a few months after construction began. It represents Defiance’s fourth Dollar General with other locations on South Clinton Street, East Second Street and North Clinton Street.
• A site plan was approved Monday by the city’s planning commission for this proposed restaurant at 1796 N. Clinton St., where a used car dealership (Northtowne Motors) has been located in recent years.
The restaurant developers plan to demolish the building there and replace it with a new structure.
O’Reilly Auto Parts
• This project on Defiance’s East Second Street, next to the Wendy’s restaurant, is proceeding quickly, with buildings walls going up in recent weeks. The store is expected to open later this year.
The former Dolce Vita restaurant on the site was recently demolished to make room for the development.
Defiance Area Chamber of Commerce
• At present, the chamber’s office is located at 325 Clinton St., next to the Defiance Development and Visitors bureau in downtown Defiance. But it plans to move into the Blue Jay Financial building at the southwest corner of Clinton and Third streets.
Renovation is ongoing on Blue Jay’s new location at 509 Fourth St., where Strait Realty once operated.