New CBIZ headquarters jolts Independence tax revenues

by Laura Bednar

Financial, insurance and advisory service provider CBIZ Inc. has officially opened its new corporate headquarters in the recently completed office building on Rockside Woods Boulevard North.

CBIZ headquartered in Independence for more than 20 years before occupying over 55,000 square feet (2 1/2 floors) in the 150,000-square-foot (six-floor) Class A office building.

“There’s no other place we wanted to be than Northeast Ohio,” said CBIZ CEO Jerry Grisko.

More than 220 CBIZ employees will be housed in the space that includes tech-enabled meeting rooms, a fitness center, terrace and a working café, which Grisko said was designed around “collaboration, idea sharing and bringing in community members and clients.”

He said the structure was designed to adapt to a hybrid working environment conducive to in-person and remote workers. CBIZ has over 100 offices in the United States, and Grisko said the Independence office is a template for other locations.

Welty Development Company, which owns the building, was the lead developer and general contractor for the project. Vocon was the architect. This is the city’s first Class A office building in over two decades.

“It makes a statement when you see it from the highway driving in,” said Independence Mayor Greg Kurtz. “We are confident that it will spur additional investment in the region.”

Independence offered CBIZ a financial incentive to remain in the city.

The package includes an annual grant based on the total amount of income taxes CBIZ employees pay to Independence at a rate of 37.5% for a period of 10 years, according to Economic Development Director Jessica Hyser. To maintain the grant, the company must have a minimum annual payroll of $40 million, and the city must receive $800,000 in annual municipal income tax revenue.

According to the city’s preliminary estimate, the building is valued at $17 million based on buildings nearby. “A building at this value would yield an annual property tax to the schools (Independence and Cuyahoga Valley Career Center) of $223,000 in taxes and $150,000 annually to the city of Independence,” Hyser said.

City council approved including the property in the city’s tax increment finance district to collect taxes according to how much the property value increases. The taxes will go towards public infrastructure projects.

Hyser said the city has not been involved in discussions with other potential tenants for the building. ∞

One of CBIZ’s two and a half floors has an open concept cafe for employees to eat or meet with community members. Photo by Laura Bednar.

Welty Building Company CEO Don Taylor (l), CBIZ CEO Jerry Grisko (middle) and Mayor Greg Kurtz (r) cut the ribbon on the new Class A office building. Photo by Laura Bednar.

Photo (main/above): CBIZ is headquartered in the first Class A office building Independence has welcomed in over 20 years. Photo by Laura Bednar.