Promerus, a technologically driven provider of advanced material solutions to electronics and associated markets, plans to move to Akron, Ohio, from a location in Brecksville, Ohio.
The subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd., in 2020 plans to move its 31 employees to 225 W. Bartgess St. in Akron. Promerus has leased 38,000 square feet of the building for 20 years from its owner, an affiliate of Fillmore Capital, a private investment firm based in San Francisco with an office in Columbus.
The company makes high-performance polymer materials, including cyclic olefin polymers.
Larry Rhodes, who holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry and serves as the general manager of Promerus, characterized the move as sort of a homecoming for the company.
"Imagine my surprise when I saw the old Goodrich factory smokestack peeking over the treeline in plain view from our new facility, a constant reminder of our roots," Rhodes said in a phone interview on Monday, Nov. 18, as some of the technology Promerus uses today was developed in the corporate research labs of BFGoodrich Co.
However, Rhodes said what's now Promerus has been located since 1988 in space at what's now a Lubrizol Corp. research center in Brecksville. Promerus has leased space there since it was sold in 2001 to Sumitomo by the former chemicals division of Goodrich. Promerus went into the market for a new location when it learned would not be able to renew the space after its current lease expires in 2021.
Rhodes said Promerus landed in Akron because the new facility will be about the same size as its current one, and its parent company preferred reusing an existing property to constructing a new one. Retaining current employees was a priority because of their specialized backgrounds and skills, which include more than 10 people holding doctorates. Rhodes said the new location is central for many of its employees, with the geographic center of where its staffers live falling in Richfield.
Recruiting new talent also was a consideration, Rhodes added, as interns and prospective new hires are produced by programs at the University of Akron as well as Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University. He said the city of Akron and Summit County were helpful to Promerus in finding its new home.
Cushman & Wakefield Cresco real estate represented both Promerus and the building's owner, according to a news release from the Independence-based real estate brokerage.
Fred Christie, a founding principal of Cresco who represented Promerus, said in the release that the move fits Akron's efforts to draw more chemical companies to the polymer capital.
"Akron, its universities and Promerus are all poised to benefit from this move," Christie said.
Eliot Kijewski, a Cresco senior vice president who represented the building's owner, said in the release that Promerus signed a 20-year lease, which "means that they will continue to invest and grow in the city for the long term." He added that the company represents a $3 million addition to the city's tax base.
The building Promerus will occupy includes 5,000 square feet of office space and 33,000 square feet of industrial/warehouse space.
Promerus produces material solutions for the semiconductor, optoelectronic and electronic packaging markets.
"This is research based on a kilogram or so sample sizes for customer evaluation," Rhodes said, as other Sumitomo Bakelite units fulfill most customer demands.
Rhodes declined to say how much Promerus will invest in the new space. He also would not disclose annual sales.