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ErieBank breaks ground on regional headquarters while Seven Hills rides redevelopment to financial success

Rockside Road rendering.jpg
Posted at 6:00 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 09:10:41-04

SEVEN HILLS, Ohio — ErieBank is breaking ground on its new regional headquarters at 4141 Rockside Road in Seven Hills Wednesday.

The commercial bank broke into the greater Cleveland market four years ago when they acquired a bank in Lake County and decided to move west into Cleveland, according to Regional President Wes Gillespie.

“We really are a really good commercial bank for a market like Cleveland that still has a lot of blue-collar, a lot of manufacturing, a lot of services [businesses,]” said Gillespie.

Gillespie says ERIEBANK setting up a regional headquarters in Seven Hills shows it's committed to the Cleveland market.

He says ErieBank ended up in Seven Hills because it needed a location that was in the center of the Cleveland market. Long-time resident Jimae Chambers says that makes her city the right answer.

“We’re in the perfect spot,” said Chambers. “We’re close to interests, we have major thoroughfares. Our communities are quiet and comfortable.”

The problem is that Seven Hills is only about five square miles and is packed with homes while still needing the money to fix roads, replace pipes, and provide other basic city services.

Seven Hills Mayor Tony Biasiotta says recent development and redevelopment is helping Seven Hills pay for services while keeping taxes on residents where they are.

“So we have limited residents that can fit in this little area and you can’t get all the money and funds from them,” said Chambers.

The answer to that problem for Seven Hills Mayor Tony Biasiotta has been redevelopment.

“We have a very mature community, not a lot of land left for development, we’re primarily a bedroom community,” said Biasiotta.

ErieBank and Seven Hills officials toss the first dirt during the groundbreaking for the bank's regional headquarters in Seven Hills.

As more Americans get vaccinated, we'll need that infrastructure to be ready. Jason Laver from Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO helped get the deal done and he says the project moving ahead despite the pandemic shows that deals are still happening and businesses are getting ready to return to the office.

"People are skating to where the puck is going," said Laver. "A year from now, we're going to be occupying offices mostly like we did pre-pandemic."

He says hybrid models will be more common that before COVID, but office space isn't going away completely.

The new Meijer

On top of Erie Bank’s new structure, Meijer is investing at least $26 million into a former Kmart location with plans to open it on May 13. The gas station at the front of the property will be open to the public on April 8.

Meijer's new store in Seven Hills is slated to open on May 13.

Biasiotta says he expects to see 35,000 customers come through it a week, supporting the hundreds of jobs while paying nearly $3 million to the city in property taxes alone.

New park funds

On the other side of town, the city partnered with Western Reserve Land Conservancy to buy 20 acres of land to become a nature preserve.

"This is very important to our residents because this property was earmarked by the owner for development of single-family homes," said Biasiotta. "It was a large number of homes, well over 50, that we're going to go into this neighborhood and the residents that border the property, on three sides, overwhelmingly were against seeing something of this magnitude built in their backyard."

Biasiotta says the recently passed Issue 41 will give the city tax revenue specifically earmarked for park upgrades and maintenance.

VITALIA Active Adult Community

Over the summer, VITALIA Active Adult Community opened in Seven Hills as well, providing a senior living community with various levels of care depending on what residents need.

Those projects either reuse existing projects or develop the small amount of undeveloped land Seven Hills has left to add to the city’s tax base, raising revenue for the city without taxing residents more.

“Because we’ve been albeit generate new funds, without raising taxes, that is going directly into infrastructure projects such as our sewers and our streets,” said Biasiotta.

He says the city is already spending $2 million above its usual budget on sewer maintain while maintaining its $3 million road budget in a city where the annual general fund is just shy of $11 million.

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