Poly One has put plans for a research and development center on hold until next year while it completes an alternative energy study of the Avon Lake campus.

The city hoped to entice PolyOne into building the proposed $24.6 million center on its Walker Road campus by giving the company a 15-year, 100% tax abatement, which it approved in March.

In return, PolyOne would add 28 jobs over the next five years. Those new jobs would be mostly technical and scientific positions and each would have an annual salary of $90,000, company spokesman Kyle Rose said in an interview at the time. In addition, 68 existing jobs would move to the center from the current Avon Lake campus, he said.

But PolyOne wants to first complete its energy study, which it started in the spring, Rose said last week. Avon Lake remains one of several sites that PolyOne is considering for the research and development center, he said, but he declined to say what other cities are in the running.

Rose said in March that PolyOne was also considering sites in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and Phoenix, where it has technical centers, labs and manufacturing facilities.

The city would benefit from income tax revenue if PolyOne builds the center in Avon Lake. Over the first five years of the agreement, those 28 jobs are projected to add $125,000 in revenue to Avon Lake, and likely about $42,000 per year after that, said Ted Esborn, the city’s economic development director.

"Avon Lake has a great relationship with PolyOne," Esborn said. "With the abatement approved, the mayor (Greg Zilka) could've executed the agreement for PolyOne earlier this year so they could break ground and complete the building by the fall of this year, but PolyOne officials said they didn't have enough time to complete the project.”

Avon Lake Schools Superintendent Bob Scott echoed Esborn’s sentiments.

“PolyOne is a great neighbor,” Scott said. “The research center would be a unique thing to have and is good all the way around for Avon Lake and Northeast Ohio. For us right now, the bigger piece is getting the research center here and adding jobs.”

The tax abatement agreement approved in March included a requirement that the company make a monetary contribution to the school district, Scott said. Previous abatement agreements have included similar provisions.

PolyOne also would provide programs and internships for high school students.

If PolyOne pursues a tax abatement from Avon Lake in 2020, “we believe the agreement for the abatement still would be in force," Esborn added.

Poly One, one of Avon Lake's largest employers, will keep its world headquarters and two manufacturing plants in Avon Lake, Rose said. The advanced polymer science and plastics company has 925 employees in Ohio, including the equivalent of 627 full-time employees in Avon Lake, and research centers and labs throughout the world.

The global provider of specialized polymer materials and services has operations in thermoplastic compounds, specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, thermoplastic resin distribution and vinyl resins.

“We've been in Avon Lake a long time and plan to stay here,” Rose said. “This is about potentially adding another building to our campus. These things take time."

Contact this reporter at msakal@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797

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