With renewal of a contract with an international realtor pending, Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) members discussed ways they would improve the deal.
WAEDC Executive Director Greg Myers said he believes renewing the contract, which came up for review this May as it creeps toward its one year anniversary, would be beneficial for Wapakoneta as city administrators continue to seek investment into the 471-acre Job Ready Site certified manufacturing site.
“We have a world class industrial property where $7 million has been invested in it through the years by the city of Wapakoneta and the state of Ohio and I think we need world class real estate developers and advisers to make sure we get the word out and that every industrial company looking for a project site will know about it,” Myers said after the meeting. “We could spend a ton of money to market and advertise it ourselves or we could plug into the world’s largest real estate company — I feel that is far more cost effective.”
Mayor Rodney Metz said he feels Wapakoneta City Council members, who have the ultimate decision on the renewal, should approve the deal with some modifications.
“I think at this stage of the game we need to continue our relationship with the firm and I would advise councilors that we need to proceed with renewing the contract,” Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “I do believe we should be able to discuss the price and we should have a listing of what services they are providing for the money we are paying.
“I don’t look at this as a waste of money since the monthly fee is deducted from their commission when the land is sold,” he said. “We also are getting a lot of services from them — I just think we need to know what they can do for us and we need to let them know what services we want from them.”
Councilor-at-large Wilbur Wells explained the fee is paid from the various Enterprise Funds — electric, water, sanitary and stormwater. No money from the city’s General Fund is used.
The city of Wapakoneta currently pays $3,500 per month, or $42,000 per year, for CB Richard Ellis to market and to sell the site. The amount paid for services is to be deducted from their 10 percent commission is any land is sold.
During Wednesday’s WAEDC meeting, WAEDC member Teri Hirschfeld reviewed the deal with CB Richard Ellis, a company with 150 offices throughout the world, with members during Wednesday’s meeting and suggested the WAEDC gain a better understanding of their work but to “let the machine work for us.”
She said the board may want to know more about the components of the machine that is working for the city and WAEDC members would really like a better line of communication with CB Richard Ellis.
One of those areas is, Hirschfeld said, for CB Richard Ellis to update them on the progress their Columbus office is making as Gov. John Kasich shifts responsibility from the Ohio Department of Development to his Jobs-Ohio program.
“I would like a better sense of what CB Richard Ellis is doing in Columbus because they are extremely involved in the structural changes occurring in Columbus,” Hirschfeld said.
She noted their involvement in Columbus could sweep industrial projects in Wapakoneta’s direction.
She said CB Richard Ellis, which did $7 billion in deals last year, could provide a list of projects they sold in the past year so WAEDC members have a sense of the fields of interests taking hold throughout the United States and the world.
Myers said WAEDC members also want the ability to make a sales pitch to CB Richard Ellis developers in foreign offices to let them know what Wapakoneta can offer so they can pass the word onto corporate officials seeking to develop a new plant or company site.
“We would like to be able to engage those specific CB Richard Ellis staffers so we can let them know what we have to offer here in Wapakoneta and we also are reaching out to their Atlanta office, which deals with state incentives, and talk with them,” Myers said. “We are trying to identify specific resources and to talk with them so we are plugged in with those.”
Myers intends to attend a future Wapakoneta City Council meeting to discuss renewing the contract with CB Richard Ellis.