Economy

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chapel hill mall
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

While the owners of Chapel Hill Mall face foreclosure, trouble with utility providers is ongoing.

New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group was notified last week that Summit County had initiated foreclosure proceedings for the North Akron mall.

picture of Chapel Hill Mall entrance
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

The impending closure of the last anchor store at Chapel Hill Mall could have mixed impact for the rest of the shopping center as well as the stores nearby.

Only one of the baby blue-painted escalators at JCPenney is still functioning. Since the holiday shopping season, the shelves have been looking sparse and there are temporary walls set up to move everything inward, decreasing what would have been empty floor space. Penney’s was one of the original anchors at Chapel Hill, and it’s now the last one standing – until it closes in April.

a photo of a trailer of soybeans
NATHAN REINECK / WKSU

A Portage County farmer welcomes the signing of a trade agreement with China Wednesday. The truce asks China to respect intellectual property laws in exchange for the U.S. reducing some tariffs.

The first phase of the trade agreement is the starting point of recovery for many Ohio corn and soybean farmers who were impacted most by the trade war.

Amazon has started hiring more than 1,500 workers for a new distribution center in West Jefferson. 

Weather and tariffs have created some tough conditions for Ohio farmers and agribusinesses. But they can get some relief through a state program that reduces the interest on the debt they incur for their operations. 

photo of Todd Brenn
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A new Akron startup wants to create a community of people interested in learning about crypto-currency.

photo of former GM plant in Lordstown
M.L. Schultze / WKSU

This article was updated on January 14, 2020.

For a century, the Mahoning Valley has ebbed and flowed with the fortunes of traditional manufacturing. Now, it’s looking toward a new economy: one defined by distribution centers and autonomous and electric vehicles. What are the prospects for transformation.

In November, GM sold its Lordstown assembly plant to a new company called Lordstown Motors Corp., which is closely tied to another start-up called Workhorse Group Inc.

Lordstown Motors plans to build electric pickup trucks.

Here's some answers to questions you may have been wondering about when it comes to Lordstown Motors:

a photo of one dollar bills
AGROSS96 / CREATIVE COMMONS

A new national report shows once again, Ohio is in the middle of the pack of all 50 states on taxes, spending and other areas that have an impact on policy – except one.

photo of front entrance to the mall
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Officials in Summit County’s Fiscal Office say the county has started foreclosure proceedings against the owners of Chapel Hill Mall for delinquent taxes and unpaid sewer bills.

photo of trucks on highway
SHUTTERSTOCK

The abrupt closure of an Akron trucking company last month came at the end of a difficult year for the industry.

GDS Express shut down, putting 75 drivers out of work right before Christmas. Last Spring, Falcon Transport in Youngstown closed suddenly.

photo of Fuyao showroom
JERRY KENNEY / WYSO

A hundred new jobs and $46 million in new investment is coming to the world’s largest auto glass manufacturing plant – located near Dayton. The Chinese company moved into what was a GM plant in Moraine.

Fuyao has invested $600 million into the plant since 2014, six years after GM shut it down and 2,000 workers lost their jobs. Gov. Mike DeWine said these 100 new employees will join the 2,300 workers at Fuyao.  And he’s hoping for more.

picture of Chapel Hill Mall entrance
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

Akron’s Chapel Hill Mall came perilously close to closing its doors Friday over a delinquent water and sewer bill. 

The city says its Office of Integrated Development gave the mall’s owner, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group, until 9:30 Friday morning to make a payment or face closure.

Two months after the Cleveland Rising summit, corporate, community and civic leaders are working on ways to implement the ideas and proposals brought up by attendees.

Working groups developed at the summit have continued to meet as often as once a week, according to Don Graves, head of corporate responsibility and community relations for KeyBank.

Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect Across Cuyahoga County

Jan 3, 2020

Shoppers in Cuyahoga County will need to find an alternative to single-use plastic bags, as some stores have already removed the option.

The county’s bag ban goes into effect this week.

Though businesses won’t be fined for providing plastic bags for the first six months, many stores have already started pushing their customers toward alternatives.

The Cleveland Public Library (CPL) and union workers have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract and union members are moving forward to authorize a strike.

The last contract expired Dec. 31.

Service Employees International Union Local 1199 (SEIU) scheduled a strike authorization vote for Wednesday. That would give the union’s bargaining committee enough time to send a notice of intent to strike, according to a statement from an SEIU spokesperson.

a photo of a house on W. Exchange in Akron
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

Akron’s eviction crisis plays out in a small municipal courtroom in the Stubbs Justice Center downtown. Four days a week a magistrate hears from both sides--when they show up.

Magistrate Tania Nemer listens to tenants when they appear, and landlords like Jack Neiman of Exchange Builders. He has about 30 rental units. One tenant has been behind on the $425 a month rent since July. The woman owes Neiman nearly $2,400.

photo of a gas nozzle filling up a car
MARIDAV / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Ohioans are paying more to drive to holiday gatherings this year. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports gas prices are up when compared with this time last year.

The Managing Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA East Central Herman Jenkins, says Ohioans are paying more for a tank of gas.

“We are probably about twenty to thirty cents more than last year this time.”

And Ohio is paying a few cents more than the national average of $2.58. Jenkins says the gas prices are highest in South-Central Ohio.

a photo of Tony Troppe at BLU-tique
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

Finishing touches are being put on a new hotel in downtown Akron. It’s located in the historic United building and will welcome guests for the first time on New Year’s Eve.

Updated: 12:53 p.m., Thursday Dec. 19, 2019

Residents in Pepper Pike are pushing back against a proposed mixed-use development in their town, turning out in force at a Wednesday night city council meeting.

The proposal from Axiom Development Group to redevelop the approximately 65-acre Beech Brook property between Lander Road and Chagrin Boulevard is still in its early stages, according to city officials, with no official blueprints for the site.

Ohio’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in November even as the state added almost 7,000 new jobs. 

photo of James Yareff, Archie the Snowman
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Archie the Snowman – Akron’s animatronic beacon of Christmas cheer – is heading into his final weekend for the season at Chapel Hill Mall.

Annmarie Jones from Cuyahoga Falls remembers coming to the mall in the 1980s and 90s. Now, she runs The Gourmet Popper snack bar near Archie.

Cedar Point Set To Open Indoor Sports Center In January

Dec 18, 2019

Updated: 4:45 p.m., Wednesday Dec. 18, 2019

The newest attraction in Sandusky doesn’t feature a zero-gravity roll, but it is expected to draw thrill enthusiasts from across Northeast Ohio and beyond.

The indoor facility at the Cedar Point Sports Center, which began construction in summer 2018, is set to open next month featuring ten full-size basketball courts specifically designed to host tournaments.

The 145,000 square foot facility can be altered for volleyball, wrestling and futsal – a variation of indoor soccer.

Giant Eagle's plastic blue bags are a common sight in Pittsburgh, often curbside on recycling day, used to pick up dog poop or sometimes cast aside on the street. Not for long — Giant Eagle told WESA that the company is stepping away from these bags and other plastics, in a large move to be announced Tuesday afternoon.

A report from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University says Akron has the highest eviction rate in the state and the 24th highest nationally, with nearly seven renters evicted every day.

It's not news to the Fair Housing Contact Service, a nonprofit housing support group in Akron. Lauren Green-Hull, the group's associate director, said they've been aware of that data for years, and they've organized a task force to combat the problem.

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