The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 10, 2008

Hundreds of jobs may be heading to Conneaut

Two firms announce interest in city

CONNEAUT -- City Council Monday heard heard two separate presentations that could create hundreds of jobs in Conneaut within the next five years.

Michael Ratcliffe of Painesville told council his company, Saxcliffe -- located in Los Angeles -- is very interested in locating its building material enterprise in the city. The firm sells a high-tech, low-cost building system, and some components for the system would be created locally, he said.

"We've pretty well settled on Conneaut," Ratcliffe said.

One hundred jobs would be created within the first year, and another 500 to 1,000 jobs within three to five years, Ratcliffe said. The bulk of the employees would be clerical, with some manufacturing and warehousing workers, he said.

The operation would be housed in a new 60,00 to 70,000 square foot building, and the company is looking hard at land in the East Conneaut Industrial Park.

At issue is construction of a new type of wall that provides superior strength at a low cost. The Conneaut location would create the studs used in the building system, and also stock other parts and materials used in the process, Ratcliffe said.

The business already has garnered interest around the world, Ratcliffe said. As a result, the company would want to find temporary quarters in Conneaut to support sales staff until the new headquarters is ready, he said.

If possible, the building would be ready for use by December 2009, Ratcliffe said. The firm has already retained a local accountant and is dealing with a local real estate company, he said.

Council convened an executive session after the regular meeting to discuss land acquisition. Also, members said a draft ordinance regarding the sale of property could surface for discuss at next week's work session.

Council was inquisitive but non-committal during the meeting. "This is exciting," said Councilman-at-Large Chris Castrilla.

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