When Heinen’s began looking for land in 2013 to build its new food production facility, the City of Warrensville Heights asked the Cuyahoga Land Bank to work with it to help keep Heinen’s in Warrensville Heights. The family-owned and operated supermarket chain has been headquartered in Warrensville Heights since 1961, and its sizable grocery and refrigerated warehouses and distribution center are also located in the city.
At the time, Heinen’s owned a warehouse next to a 77,000 square-foot business complex that was vacant, full of code violations, functionally obsolete, structurally unsound and tax delinquent more than $200,000. The tax delinquency made the property eligible for the City of Warrensville Heights to request that Cuyahoga County initiate the tax foreclosure process. At the end of the foreclosure proceedings, the Cuyahoga Land Bank took control of the property and began working with Heinen’s and the City of Warrensville Heights.
“That parcel of land is significant,” says Cheryl Stephens, Director of Acquisitions, Dispositions and Development at the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “We knew Heinen’s was interested in expanding its facilities and the fact that this land was adjacent to one of their current warehouses made it a prime land reuse and redevelopment opportunity.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank spent the next year overseeing asbestos removal, environmental clean-up, field services work and, finally, demolition of the building. The land was then sold to Heinen’s in 2015. Groundbreaking for their new 55,000 square-foot facility took place in 2016. “The Cuyahoga Land Bank was instrumental in not only acquiring the land but also facilitating the extensive environmental and demolition work necessary to redevelop the site,” says Daniel Musil, Director of Finance for Heinen’s Inc.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” Musil continues. “The new facility is where all Heinen’s meat cutting and ready-to-eat food preparation will take place, and the contiguous location to our warehouses will enable us to enhance distribution and overall operational efficiency.”
Musil estimates that more than 50 Heinen’s associate’s jobs were retained and 25 new jobs will be added when the new facility is put into production in June. “We are adding state-of-the-art food preparation equipment, and the Heinen’s associates who will be working there will be highly-trained and skilled in using the latest equipment and technology,” he says.
“This was a vast undertaking,” says Stephens. “But to see the impact this project will have on the local economy is very rewarding.”