Metro Area

If you love comeback stories, you'll love Cleveland.

Ohio's largest city is one of the best examples of urban regeneration in the nation. Long gone are the slurs the city endured during the hurtful years of economic decline a decade ago.

A widely praised partnership led the renaissance. The team of public agencies and private businesses spearheaded such projects as the fancy downtown sports complex that encompasses Jacobs Field and Gund Arena, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Lake Erie, and a vibrant entertainment district that draws people into the heart of the city.

In fact, the new Cleveland is so exciting it's been named by Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the world's top 10 tourist destinations. Jacobs Field is sold out for the Indians baseball games. Construction is underway on a new football stadium for the Cleveland Browns. And, in an interesting reversal of national trends, 40 percent of home buyers in the city of Cleveland are coming back from the suburbs.

Cleveland's rebirth began when George Voinovich, now governor of Ohio, was mayor of the city. His political connections and his willingness to work with the business community prompted the private sector, weary of the old Cleveland jokes, to spend generously on new programs. These public-private partnerships have continued under Mayor Michael R. White. The metro area's 14 Fortune 500 companies took a stake in the renaissance. In all, Cleveland's new look represents $9.2 billion in capital investment over the last five years.

The enthusiasm generated by the downtown renaissance was infectious. Soon, Cleveland and its eight-county hinterland began luring a large number of job-generating businesses. In fact, in the last few years the Cleveland metro area has held a perennial position on Site Selection's list of top metro areas for new plants and expansions.

While Cleveland was busy regenerating its downtown, it made time to take a deep look at its regional assets: proximity to a large customer base, affordable labor and a well-integrated transportation network.

Northeast Ohio is located at the center of the nation's heaviest population concentrations. One-day shipping time reaches half of the nation's consumers, production plants and corporate headquarters. Canada, just 45 minutes by air across Lake Erie, is the city's number one trading partner. The metro area is a sizable local market, housing 2.9 million people.

Cleveland provides superior links to global markets. Serving 50-plus nations, its port is the largest for overseas general cargo on Lake Erie. There are several Foreign Trade Zones, including the nation's largest and most active in Cuyahoga County, and a busy new zone in Akron.

With a Continental hub and service by all major airlines, there is enough competition at Cleveland Hopkins International to insure that airfares remain consistently below the national average. Continental recently announced a $120 million expansion of its hub for its regional ExpressJet service. The expansion enables Continental to increase by 44 percent the number of flights it offers from Cleveland each day. Hopkins is currently undergoing a $200 million expansion, which among other benefits, will encourage international service.

The region is well-served with interstate highways -- the east-west routes I-80/90 and north-south I-71 and I-77. Inner and outer beltways ease the flow of traffic and provide good access for commuters.

"We're one of the best cities for minimal traffic congestion," says Jim Kroeger, business development director for the Greater Cleveland Growth Assn., the nation's largest metropolitan chamber of commerce. "It's just one-half hour from east to west side."

Because of the excellent transportation network, employers can draw from a wide area -- the average commute for Cleveland area workers is just 22 minutes.

Profile of the Cleveland Metro Area

Location: Northeast Ohio, on the south shore of Lake Erie

Population of the 8-County CMSA (1995): 2.9 million (26% of Ohio's population)
Cleveland (1990): 505,616
Ashtabula County: 99,500
Cuyahoga County: 1.4 million
Geauga County: 86,000
Lake County: 218,000
Lorain County: 271,600
Medina County: 128,200
Portage County: 149,700
Summit County: 520,700

Road: I-80/90, I-71, I-76, I-77, I-271, I-480, I-490
Rail: CSX, Conrail, Norfolk Southern
Air: Cleveland Hopkins International, Akron-Canton Regional
Water: Lake Erie ports at Cleveland and at Lake and Ashtabula counties

Employment Mix:
Manufacturing: 23%
Trade: 28%
Services: 33%

Headquarters: The CMSA is headquarters for 14 Fortune 500 firms, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber, TRW, Eaton Corp., Keycorp, LTV, National City Corp., Sherwin-Williams Co., Parker Hannifin Corp., Progressive Corp., Caliber Systems, OfficeMax, Centerior Energy, Ohio Edison Co.

Major Industrial Employers: Ford, LTV, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Riser Foods

Incentives: Industrial development bonds (Port of Cleveland), Community Reinvestment Areas, Enterprise Zones, Empowerment Zone (Cleveland)

Education and Training: Case Western Reserve University, University of Akron, Kent State University, numerous vocational/technical schools

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Cleveland, the rejuvenated command center of Northeast Ohio.
A well-funded infrastructure improvement program is rebuilding roads and bridges to insure that the distribution system remains in good shape. New projects include the Jennings Freeway, which runs between I-71 and I-77.

Ohio's industrial base is weighted heavily toward the Northeast corner of the state, with 40 percent of manufacturers located in the region. There is a mosaic of industrial activity, representing three-fourths of all economic sectors.

There are specialties, however. In Summit County, Akron, the former rubber center of the U.S., is today the nation's "Polymer Capital." With over 1,400 polymer-related firms, it has more plastics industry employment, product development and research than any other region in the nation. In Portage County, Kent State University operates its pioneering Liquid Crystal Institute. The research shows promise for commercialization of flat panel displays, such as those used in laptop computers.

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The region's supportive environment for high-tech manufacturing includes more than 20 colleges and universities. Among those with national stature are Case Western Reserve University in Cuyahoga County, the University of Akron in Summit County and Kent State University in Portage County. These and other institutions offer top-ranked business degree and continuing management education programs.

Community colleges in the region partner in the Workplace Education and Training Consortium, which taps the collective resources and specialties to serve the specific training needs of business and industry. Vocational/technical education is offered in over 60 disciplines through area training centers.

Cleveland is building on its research resources to challenge East Coast cities as a major biotechnology center. Among these institutions is University Hospitals, which brought the world such breakthroughs as the first blood transfusion, gas anesthesiology and mitral valve operation. The Cleveland Clinic, supporting 500 ongoing research projects, specializes in cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, orthopedics and urology. It is one of only four facilities in the U.S. receiving government funding for research on and development of an artificial heart.

The region is home to over 300 R&D centers, many of which are dedicated to biomedical research, testing and product development. The health care industry ranks among the top five employers in the region, providing a resource of over 100,000 health care professionals.

Observers say Cleveland's capabilities are comparable to the Philadelphia area in research institutions and hospitals, but manufacturing costs are lower than in Philadelphia. Already located in the region are Ben Venue Laboratories, a pharmaceutical contracting company, Steris, which makes medical devices, Invacare, a leading supplier of home medical equipment, and Gliatech, a developer of therapeutic drugs.

The metro area is becoming a Mecca for back office operations and call centers. Recent successes include back offices for Chase Financial ($10.6 million, 500 employees), National City Bank ($16 million, 160 employees) and Caldor, one of the nation's largest discount retail chains.

The reasons those companies and others find Cleveland attractive for back office operations becomes obvious in a review of the metro area's operating costs. Office operating and payroll costs in Cleveland are significantly lower than in other major markets, such as New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Detroit.

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Travel & Leisure magazine calls the Flats "the entertainment Mecca of the Midwest."

There is plenty of Class A office space in downtown Cleveland, and the region has competitively priced space totaling over 33.7 million sq. ft. of Class A space.

For companies looking for a location within a concentrated market, in a renewed environment that offers every advantage for industry, Cleveland is a best bet.

Ohio Main
Ohio Main
Village of Anna
Village of Anna
Auglaize and Mercer Counties
Auglaize & Mercer Counties
Cleveland Metro Area
Cleveland Metro Area
Crawford County
Crawford County
Darke County
Darke County
Resource Guide
Resource Guide
Steubenville and Jefferson County
Steubenville & Jefferson County
Knox County
Knox County
Marion County
Marion County
Muskingum County
Muskingum County
Southeast Ohio
Southeast Ohio

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