September 2, 2014

Medina
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Recovery bonds don’t sell for Chippewa Landing project

MEDINA — Chippewa Partners is regrouping after the developer was unable to sell $31.5 million in Recovery Zone Bonds for the Chippewa Landing project.

The developer was unable to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to sell the low-interest bonds, which were intended to help finance a $37.3 million hotel, resort and spa to be built on the site of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park, said Bethany Dentler, director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp.

“We’ve been in touch with the developers and they are intent on moving forward,” she said.

Gary Sills of Chippewa Partners could not be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

Chippewa Landing’s plans call for a 193-room Hilton hotel, an Akron General Health and Wellness Center, and a luxury spa.

Even with the low interest rates, a tough market meant that issuing bonds was too costly for developers, Dentler said. With more time, however, she said she believes the bonds would have sold.

“I think given enough time in market, they would have been able to issue the bonds successfully,” she said.

In the fall, Brunswick Marketplace received $16 million in bonds, but the developer of the project, Osborne Capital Group, wrote the Ohio Department of Development in August explaining it wouldn’t be able to meet the Dec. 31 deadline. The state subsequently decided the project would be ineligible for the bonds.

Chippewa Landing originally planned to fund from the private sector. After the recession hit in late 2008, traditional sources were not funding hotel-type projects, Dentler said.

Chippewa Partners began working with the county on the project and, in 2009, Ohio received about $1 billion in Recovery Zone Bonds created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bonds were divided among the state’s counties and larger cities.

As far as other ventures in the county, Dentler said $14.4 million in Recovery Zone Bonds to fund the county fiber-optic project were sold at an average interest rate of 5.88 percent on Dec. 17. The project involves building a 151-mile, 144-strand fiber loop throughout the county that would provide high-bandwidth connections for businesses and local governments.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.