CBIZ breaks ground on new headquarters

by Laura Bednar

Longtime Independence business CBIZ broke ground for its future headquarters on Aug. 17. The site on Rockside Woods Boulevard North will be home to a 150,000-square-foot office building, of which CBIZ will occupy over 55,000 square feet.

This is a historical event for Independence, as it is the first time in 20 years there will be a Class A office building constructed in the city, according to Don Taylor, president and CEO of Welty Building Construction and Welty Development, the companies that will do the work.

“The building will be a blend of great architecture and modern building techniques,” Taylor said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

He added that the building would enhance the business-friendly appearance of the city by being visible from nearby highways, such as I-77. According to a press release from Welty Development, the building will have six floors and be designed to earn a silver rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S Green Building Council. This designation is awarded to buildings that boast eco-friendly features such as water use reduction, a collection plan for recyclables and enhanced indoor air quality, according to usgbc.org.

Taylor said the new building will account for the “flexibility of the world’s changing remote work policy.” In regard to COVID concerns, Taylor said the building will include an HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) air filtration system.

Independence Mayor Greg Kurtz said the day was about the synergy of public private partnerships. “I’m glad [CBIZ] did not take a ‘wait and see’ approach because of the pandemic,’’ he said. “ They had the wisdom and vision to invest in their future and benefit from a competitive market.”

CBIZ is an advisory company focused on accounting, benefits and insurance, human resources and payroll solutions. Company President and CEO Jerry Grisko said 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of CBIZ, and it was fitting the company celebrate this milestone simultaneously with the groundbreaking.

He said the headquarters will be in a centralized location, as Independence is close to amenities like the airport, making it easier to meet with CBIZ clients from out of town. The company has been in Independence for 20 years and Grisko said, “The best future for CBIZ was in our backyard all along.”

JobsOhio is an economic development agency that offered an assistance package to CBIZ to remain in the state. Senior Director of Financial Services and FinTech at JobsOhio, Terry Gore, said, “Ohio has the fifth largest financial services sector in the country.”

Welty Development presented an economic impact study by Kent State University outlining the fiscal impact of the headquarters construction. The study said Ohio would receive $515,000 in tax revenue during the construction phase, and Cuyahoga County will receive $100,000.

Once the construction is completed, Ohio will receive $1.8 million yearly tax revenue from CBIZ operations with local school districts receiving $875,000 a year. Sub-county governments, which includes townships and villages, will receive $842,000.

The building is projected to be ready for occupancy in the second half of 2022. ∞