By Kevin Kelley
Equity Trust Co., a financial company that offers self-directed IRAs and 401(k)s, is moving its headquarters – and eventually up to 375 employees – to Westlake.
The company is moving into the now-vacant building on Clemens Road that formerly housed Cleveland Clinic medical offices. Equity Trust plans extensive renovations to the building.
Equity Trust plans to consolidate its area operations, now based in Elyria and Berea, to the Clemens Road building. The company will move 250 workers to Westlake in 2014; by 2018, 375 are projected to work in the city, with a payroll exceeding $14 million.
The city is offering Equity Trust two financial incentives in association with the move.
The first is a job creation grant in which the company, over five years, will receive a rebate based on the income tax paid by its employees. For example, if Equity Trust meets its projected payroll of $9,600,000 in 2014, it will receive a rebate of $24,000. That figure is based on 25 percent of the 1 percent unrestricted income tax collected by the city.
The second tax incentive is a 10-year, 50 percent property tax abatement on the added value of the 72,000-square-foot building expected after an $11 million renovation. City officials believe the extensive improvements will increase the value of the building by $4 million. Equity Trust purchased the building for $3,750,000, according to the tax abatement agreement.
Ordinances detailing both financial incentives were unanimously passed by Westlake City Council at its Thursday regular meeting. During the meeting’s public comment section, which took place before the vote, Equity Trust CEO Jeffrey Desich told council members he appreciated their consideration of the two financial incentives.
“Both of them are very important in terms of our plans to consolidate here in Westlake,” Desich said.
Michelle Boczek, the city’s economic development manager, told West Life that Equity Trust’s arrival is important.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to fill a vacant property, it’s a win for the city,” she said.