Great Lakes Power Products officially kicked off the construction phase of the company’s new world headquarters located in Madison Village with a groundbreaking ceremony July 14.
The Mentor-based company, at 7455 Tyler Blvd., will combine its current headquarters with a service center it operates at 3691 Shepard Road in Perry Township and move them to the new facility.
The 150,000-square-foot structure will be located at 1973 Great Lakes Way, a new road being constructed at Interstate 90 and state Route 528.
The industrial complex is named Grand River Gateway Business Park and initially will be home to not only Great Lakes Power, but also a Love’s Travel Stop.
The park will also feature a traffic signal, lift station and cul-de-sac with frontage on I-90.
Great Lakes Power is a distribution, manufacturing, service and engineering company specializing in powertrain systems and components founded in 1973 in Lake County.
The company also manufactures specialty material handling straddle carriers and transmission test benches whose production will be moved to the new building.
Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has over 550 locations since it was founded in 1964 and currently employs more than 32,000 people.
Great Lakes Power purchased 6 parcels for Grand River Gateway totaling approximately 50 acres, with its building site occupying 11.3. Love’s Travel Stop is being constructed on approximately 18 acres, according to officials. Overall, 17.5 acres are available for future development on the southside of Great Lakes Way.
Lakeland Construction, based in Painesville Township, is the contractor and will head up the construction of the new headquarters and Great Lakes Way.
“The new facility will consolidate our administrative, service, manufacturing and warehousing operations from both our current facilities,” said Harry Allen III, vice president and chief engineer of Great Lakes Power. “It will not only provide us the necessary room for future growth, but will also create cost-saving synergies.
“We’re excited to have selected Madison Village as home to our new headquarters and we’re looking forward to celebrating our 50th year in business right here in 2023,” he added. “We anticipate being up by next year.”
When Great Lakes Power began searching for a new site to construct a world headquarters in Northeast Ohio, officials made inquiries in communities such as Concord Township, Mentor and Perry.
Harry Allen Jr., chairman of Great Lakes Power, explained the decision to build at the interchange wouldn’t have been made without Madison Village Administrator Dwayne Bailey, adding discussions began in 2018.
“We were pretty warm on a property in Concord and he (Bailey) said, ‘I got something to show you,’ and he was tenacious, he was informative, he was organized and probably gave the most professional response of any of the communities we were working with,” Allen Jr. said.
“This project is the largest single investment in the history of Great Lakes Power and my sons, Harry III, David and Stephen, and daughter, Andrea, have worked diligently to see this project come to fruition,” he added.
According to Bailey, the collective futures of the company and the village are intertwined.
“We are super-pleased to be a part of the vision of the Allen family, and I think the arrow is pointing to success for both sides of that quotient,” he said.
Earlier this year, the company received a Madison Village Economic Incentive Grant for construction of its headquarters.
The grant contract states Great Lake Power intends to spend about $9 million for building and land construction and $2 million for machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures.
Additionally, the grant provides a way for the village to help the company finance the construction project, as long as the company maintains a staff of at least 50 full-time employees and a payroll of $3 million each year, for a 10-year period.
The new enterprise has been a long time coming for the community, noted Madison Township Trustee Ken Gauntner, detailing that the village is still a part of the incorporated portion of Madison Township.
“When Interstate 90 was built in 1960-61, old township trustee minutes noted how within five to 10 years, then, the area would be unrecognizable because it would be full of industrial complexes and business, well, it took 60 years,” he said.
“What people thought was going to happen didn’t quite materialize right away, but this property was in Madison Township at the time and was annexed into the Madison Village in later years.
“When I heard Harry was going to be involved in the project, I knew that was the right thing for this community because I’ve known him for a long time and he doesn’t do anything half-assed,” Gauntner added. “Welcome to the Madison community.”