Castle Aviation hopes to relocate by the end of the year in a new and larger hangar at Akron-Canton Airport.
GREEN Steel frame should be rising soon on what used to be the parking lot of the former 356th Fighter Group restaurant on the south side of Akron-Canton Airport.
The former restaurant will become the corporate offices for Castle Aviation, which is remodeling the building and adding a 50,000-square-foot hangar. The project — buying the building and constructing the hangar and runway aprons — is a $5 million investment for the company, owner Mike Grossman said.
It's anticipated that work will be finished within about six months. The restaurant's kitchen area and an atrium will be demolished but most of the building will remain intact. The exterior will be painted and a new roof will be installed.
The project has been in the works since late 2017 when Grossman learned airport officials were debating whether to demolish the old restaurant building. The 356th Fighter Group closed in January 2014. The building was sold and reopened as the Whiskey Ranch, but that business closed in September 2017.
Grossman determined he could use the restaurant for offices and consolidate his operations, which are scattered between five buildings at the airport. He bought the restaurant in May 2018 and started plans for the hangar. The process took a while as it went through reviews and approvals by the airport, the city and the Federal Aviation Commission.
Castle Aviation ships freight and offers charter and executive flight services. Grossman said the company is approved to serve the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company's range is a radius of 500 to 700 miles from Akron-Canton, with more than 20 flights daily. Castle, which Grossman started in 1984, has more than 50 employees.
On Thursday, Grossman officially kicked off the project with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said he was excited to see Castle expand and noted the project will have a positive impact on the airport and the community. "It's great to have you investing in our city," Neugebauer told Grossman.
Ren Camacho, the airport's president and chief executive officer, said Akron-Canton welcomes the project and was happy to help Grossman shepherd the project through.
Camacho also noted the company's work with the Veterans Airlift Command, which provides air service for post 9/11 combat wounded veterans and their families. Castle has helped 117 veterans so far, with Grossman personally taking 85 of the flights.
Once Castle is in its new location, other buildings the company uses on the airport grounds will be open for lease by different companies. Grossman said he hopes the vacancies attract other businesses to the airport.
Entrepreneurs have until Sunday to file an application for the Mspire business pitch competition sponsored by the Cleveland-based Manufacturing Growth and Advocacy Network, known as MAGNET.
Applications are filed online at www.mspire.org. Guidelines are posted at the website.
This is the fourth year for the competition, which is open to Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs and small businesses that have an innovative product or idea. Companies that make a physical product — food, clothing, sensors or even robots are options — can apply.
Prizes include cash awards, memberships to MAGNET’s Iterator, intellectual property assessments, free office space, and $30,000 in fully-subsidized engineering or consulting services that can help winners accelerate a product’s entry to the market.
So far, about 40 applications have been filed, MAGNET officials said. Last year, the contest drew 53 entries. Applications will be reviewed and in early August finalists will have the chance to pitch their proposal to a panel of judges.
AEP gives awards
Two of the Energy Efficiency Awards presented this year by AEP Ohio went to Stark County residents.
Plain Local Schools teacher Carol Ohlemacher and Bigrigg Efficient Energy Services were recognized by AEP Ohio as Energy Efficiency Champions for "making outstanding contributions" to increasing energy efficiency by reducing energy usage and positively impacting the environment.
Ohlemacher is a fourth grade teacher at Frazer Elementary School. She teaches about energy and has worked with the district to improve energy efficiency in classrooms.
Bigrigg Efficient Energy Services is owned by Angela Bigrigg. The business formed in 2015 to provide energy efficient services to residential and multi-family properties.
Andy McCabe, AEP Ohio's manager for energy efficiency and peak demand reduction, said the company works with organizations of all sizes to help find ways to save money through energy efficiency programs, incentives and management tools. “The organizations recognized this year are setting the standard for energy efficiency within their communities,” McCabe said in a press release.
Green firm recognized
Work done by the Scheeser Buckley Mayfield engineering firm, based in Green, and Silling Architects, a West Virginia company, received a Citation Award for Architecture Renovation from the West Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architecture.
Scheeser Buckley Mayfield worked with Silling on the renovation and expansion of John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, W.Va. The local firm provided mechanical and electrical engineering designs for the $16 million project at the 224,000-square-foot building.
Renovations included nine new laboratories, new classrooms and offices, a new kitchen and dining area and an enclosed connector between a main classroom and the performing arts building.
Housing sales rise
The number of houses sold during May increased when compared with 2018, according to the Ohio Realtors.
The association reported that 15,567 properties sold in May, a 3.5% gain when compared with 15,040 units sold the previous year. Through the first five months, sales have risen less than 1%, with 57,202 houses sold compared with 56,690 sold last year.
In the Yes-MLS, which covers 21 eastern Ohio counties including Stark, Carroll and Tuscarawas, real estate agents reported 4,980 houses were sold in May, up 2.6 percent from 4,852 sold the previous year. Through the end of May, 18,213 properties have been sold, also a 2.6% gain when compared with the 17,759 sold last year.
Ohio Realtors President Anjanette Frye said the numbers leave real estate agents hopeful the marketplace will continue moving up. “Coupled with the steady rise in the pace of sales, the market is also seeing the average sales price trend upward. This is a clear indicator that housing is a solid, long-term investment," Frye said in a press release.
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