The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Plans for the construction of a $800 million energy generation facility continued unabated last year in Oregon.

“We’re looking at a groundbreaking this summer,” Oregon Administrator Mike Beazley said last week.

Oregon Clean Energy plans to build an 800 megawatt energy generation facility on a 30 acre parcel of land at 816 North Lallendorf Road, located within the enterprise zone. The facility will convert clean natural gas to electricity. There will be enough new electricity for 500,000 homes.

Council last year approved an enterprise zone agreement with Oregon Clean Energy LLC. for a tax exemption of 100 percent for 15 years on the increase in assessed value of real and tangible property.

dunnShowroom1a
In January of 2013, Greg Dunn, Jay Dunn and Andrea Musselman
posed in the newly renovated Dunn Chevy Buick showroom. GM
dealers throughout the country performed a voluntary renovation
of their showrooms. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)

The Enterprise Zone Act allows communities to execute agreements for the purpose of establishing, expanding, renovating or occupying facilities and hiring new employees and/or preserving jobs within the zone in exchange for tax incentives.

The project is expected to create about 450 construction jobs over three years, and 26 new full-time, permanent jobs once the facility begins operations, with a total annual payroll of about $3.2 million.

The city approved an agreement with Clean Energy for the plant’s use of the raw water intake system that will generate about $1 million per year, which will help keep the water and sewer rates low.

The Oregon school board also approved a tax incentive donation agreement with Clean Energy, which will annually contribute funds to the district for 15 years. At the end of the agreement, the district will have received payments totaling $17.5 million.

When Beazley and Mayor Mike Seferian first considered bringing the project to Oregon, “we had to think about whether this would be a great fit for the city,” Seferian said.  “We didn’t have to think that long.”

William Martin and Bill Siderewicz, managing partners of Oregon Clean Energy LLC, said last year they had been coming to Oregon for three years to discuss the project. Plans call for the plant to begin operations in 2017.

“About three and a half years ago, we had our first contact with William Martin and Bill Siderewicz, and they were looking for locations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana,” recalled Beazley. “We had a series of meetings with them and I think they had reached the conclusion that this is the best place to move because of what Oregon has to offer.”

Beazley said company officials are reviewing proposals from construction and engineering firms to build the project, and will likely make a selection in April.
   

Retail development
The city also saw considerable retail development last year, particularly construction and renovation of commercial buildings on Navarre Avenue.

Biggby Coffee, Penn Station East Coast Subs, and Happy’s Pizza last year started in a small strip mall on Navarre.

Tireman, which operated for years at the Woodville Mall in Northwood, moved to Oregon at the site where the Bartz Viviano Flowers and Gifts shop was located on Navarre. Bartz Viviano moved to another site on Navarre, said Beazley.

The former Bay Center Recreation Bowling Alley building was renovated into a five bay shopping center. The Dollar Tree is among the stores leasing space there.

The former Penske auto service shop just north of the Kmart store on Navarre was renovated for a Hercules Tire franchise, and a vacant building next door where Fifth Third Bank was once located is the site of a car rental company.

A building that used to house the Oregon Economic Development Foundation on Navarre will be developed into a gas station/carryout. “It’s still in progress,” said Beazley. A special use exception zoning designation was granted for the gas station. “They are still in a predevelopment phase,” said Beazley.


Business friendly
The city has made changes to become more “business friendly.”

The city used to have an image as a “hard place” for new businesses - that the building and zoning code was not as user friendly as businesses would like, according to Seferian. Last year, Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, facilitated the permit process to make businesses aware of what they will need to move forward. The city also refined its commercial sign code, made adjustments to bring it up to date, and made it easier to understand.  


Geothermal energy
Oregon City Council last year approved special assessments over a 15 year period to fund geothermal energy in the municipal office complex on Seaman Road that will reduce costs.

The city for years had been exploring options for increasing energy efficiency at the municipal complex. The buildings tend to have significantly higher energy costs than similarly sized facilities because of the age of the HVAC infrastructure and the way the buildings were assembled into one complex over time.

The city partnered with Toledo and the Port Authority to create an Energy Special Improvement District, which allows the city, school district, or local businesses to invest in energy efficiency and cost lowering improvements while paying for those improvements over a period of years through a special assessment on their property taxes.

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