By Kevin Kelley
Nearly a year after delaying formal actions on the planned move of its headquarters to Crocker Park, American Greetings is ready to resume the process.
In a statement released Friday, the company said its plans to build its headquarters, to be called American Greetings Creative Studios, at Crocker Park are back on.
“We remain committed to building and relocating to Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio for the same reasons we shared two years ago – to have a work environment that more accurately reflects and effectively supports our creative and innovative culture, and to have a headquarters that reflects who we are now and where we want to be in the future,” the company’s statement said.
American Greetings halted efforts on its move in November 2012 because of the complexities of a bid by the management group to take the publicly traded cardmaker private. In early August, American Greetings shareholders approved a deal allowing the Weiss family, members of which lead the company, and other investors to acquire the company. The deal valued American Greetings at $606 million.
The company’s statement said a completion date for the new headquarters has not yet been determined; however, the company said the city of Westlake and Stark Enterprises, the operators of Crocker Park, can move forward on their aspects of the project.
As an incentive to draw the company to Westlake, the city agreed, in principle, to fund roughly $54 million in public improvements in and near Crocker Park. These include the construction of three parking garages and work on Crocker Road at an intersection at the company’s headquarters. The majority of the money for the public improvements would come from Westlake’s issuance of tax increment financing bonds, which generate payments in lieu of taxes from American Greetings.
Exact terms on financial obligations the city would make related to construction of the company’s headquarters have yet to be finalized.
Mayor Dennis Clough told West Life that the next step likely would be seeking bids for construction of the three parking garages.