Businesses, developers may find significant opportunity west of Cleveland

Real estate conditions, broadly, on the west side of Greater Cleveland can be characterized as opportunistic, says Brian Smith, Vice President at Cushman & Wakefield | CRESCO Real Estate. 

“The West Side provides certain things that you can’t get on the other side of town,” Smith says. “There’s better access to the highway systems and the Black River is a means of moving commerce in and out through the lakes. There’s also a rail system in place with spurs that have helped transport goods into Cleveland for years. And there’s plenty of room for development.”

Smart Business spoke with Smith about the opportunities for real estate development in Cleveland’s western suburbs.
What opportunities exist for retail development?

The retail market, especially in Avon, developed dramatically over recent years. There’s talk that more large businesses, as well as some entertainment, will soon be coming to the area, which is expected to spur continued development activity in the area. Avon has massive amounts of available land that’s flat, accessible and close to the highway, all of which are attractive for any type of retail development. This development, and the chance for more, is helping Avon maintain the pace that made it one of the fastest-growing cities in Ohio in recent years. 

North Ridgeville is on a similar trajectory. Since these two cities are neighboring, it pulls the communities’ numbers together to make the area a greater opportunity. 

Further, medical development, such as hospitals, have shown interest in pursuing their future development on the west side. When hospitals build, one can anticipate more complementary business to follow. 

What is the industrial situation there?

The industrial market is the tightest it’s ever been in Greater Cleveland. There isn’t enough product available to meet demand. It’s putting a lid our potential growth. So, when an industrial property hits the market, not only is the price often 30 percent higher than it was a few years ago, it also moves quickly. Even some of the older product that might have been more of a challenge to lease or sell a few years ago, is now selling faster and leasing at higher rates. The timeline for buyers and lessees to act has shortened immensely compared to three or four years ago.

What other benefits exist on the west side?

As populations continue pushing west into Amherst and farther, available land becomes more valuable. There is opportunity for those looking for larger residential developments. But even in places such as Amherst, they’re beginning to reach their cap. This, however, is an area primed for industrial growth, and the expectation is that larger distribution buildings built close to the highway systems will be ready to go in the next couple years.

As people look at places such as Lorain, they often don’t realize the demographic and population are favorable to organizations that need a ready labor pool. And by combining Lorain and Elyria, which share a border, they rival the size of Akron, making it comparable to the fifth-largest city in the state — something that gets overlooked because individually they’re the ninth and 13th largest cities in the state. So, there’s considerable opportunity there because of the sizeable labor pool and a demographic that can support a variety of retail establishments. 

The opportunity for developers and business owners to strike is now, before the best west-side locations are taken off the board. That’s why it’s important to engage with a knowledgeable broker. They know the area, the local players and governments, and can help organizations get what they need quickly to stay ahead of the competition.

Brian Smith

Vice President


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