Redevelopment of Ohio City’s Voss complex asks for help from Cleveland

The scope of the renovation proposed by MRN Ltd. from Cleveland of the former Voss Industrial complex at 2168 West 25th St. south of the West Side Market is beginning to take shape.

Legislation for the city to provide tax increment financing (TIF) for the redevelopment of the old factory, introduced Monday, May 22, says it will be a $62 million project. The measurements also indicate the property’s use before Voss began operations in the 1950s, as the property first served as a producer of cars and electric cars.

A letter from the city’s economic development department accompanying the measure sheds some more color on the retail component of the mixed-use project, including the use of pickleball and indoor mini-golf, as well as a restoration occupying approximately 50,000 square feet.

An additional 25,000 square feet will be devoted to restaurants and retail, and 24,000 square feet to offices or coworking spaces.

The project will include 92 apartments.

The Economic Development Backgrounder indicates that the completed operation will create 125 jobs with an estimated total annual payroll of $3.75 million.

MRN requested the typical 100% abatement for the non-school portion of property taxes for 15 years in the TIF package. The developer will provide payments to the Cleveland Municipal School District for lost taxes. The TIF would also come into effect after the expiry of the standard – at least for now – of the 15-year tax allowance.

The TIF will help the sponsor manage debt payments on the project financing. Although taxes on improvements to return the property to active use are reduced, the developer will still be required to pay existing taxes on the land.

The Cleveland City Council gave the measure to the Bibb administration for review.

MNR also applied to the Ohio Department of Development for an allocation of $5 million in state historic preservation tax credits in the 30th round of the program, according to state records. The state said it would announce the winning projects in late June or around the end of June.

MNR spokesperson Ari Maron did not respond to an email or phone call from Crain’s until 2:20 p.m. Friday, May 26.

MNR paid $7.5 million for the Voss property in 2021. It includes several interconnected buildings. The property was available after Voss moved to a one-story industrial building in Berea in 2019. Voss had been creating aircraft parts since taking over the complex in the 1950s.

The complex served for years from the 1860s through the 1920s as the headquarters of Rauch & Lang Carriage Co. The company switched to building electric cars in 1904 from horse-drawn carriages, according to The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. After merging with Baker Motor Vehicle Co. to become Baker-Raulang in 1915, it manufactured trucks for the United States during World War I.

After gasoline-powered cars took over the automotive market, the plant was leveraged to become a manufacturer of aircraft parts.

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