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Feb 29, 2024

Tax incentives worth approximately $8.97 recently passed by Council to bring a food manufacturing facility and 220 new jobs to the Central neighborhood, are resulting in a long list of community benefits the developer is providing for the city’s financial support.

International Food Solutions, founded in 2008, is renovating and expanding a closed Goodwill building on E. 55th and constructing a 120,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate a production line capable of handling 30 million pounds of food annually, plus storage and office space. Future plans include a second production line that would double its processing capacity. The facility will primarily process poultry. The facility is expected to create an initial 160 new jobs, with 60 more jobs coming, once the second production line is complete.

The company currently is a food manufacturing business that produces Asian, Latin American, and Indian prepared foods and meal services to over 5,000 K-12 school districts across the U.S., plus hospitals, long-term care facilities, military bases, and other similar institutions. 

The incentive deal is among the first that is subject to a new community benefits law that City Council passed last June. Championed by Council President Blaine A. Griffin, the law is intended to ensure Clevelanders get more tangible benefits from development projects that are subsidized by taxpayers.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to get the support of taxpayer dollars. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to do development in our city. But we’ve got to make sure it makes sense,” said Councilman Richard Starr, who represents the Central neighborhood and spent nearly two years working with city leaders and the manufacturer to negotiate the benefits.

Under the deal approved by Council, International Food Solutions will be provided two different tax incentives. It will receive a 10-year, 75% property tax abatement, worth an estimated $8.5 million. It will also receive income tax credits over five years worth an estimated $460,000. The project already received a $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In exchange for the city support, International Food Solutions is delivering numerous community benefits (Ord. No. 1368-2023). They include: 

  • Supply a $75-a-week daycare subsidy for full-time employees' children enrolled at a nearby daycare 
  • Install murals on East 55th Street that honor the historic Majestic Hotel, which once occupied the site. Built in 1907, the Majestic served as Cleveland’s premiere hotel for Black travelers during segregation and the Jim Crow era 
  • Create a pocket park in front of the building
  • Make quarterly food donations to the Shiloh Baptist Church, or other organizations in the surrounding community
  • Donate $1,500 annually to an organization that serves Ward 5
  • Partner with Councilman Starr to launch a business association group for the area, and host job fairs
  • Explore “last mile” transportation options for employees
  • Break construction work down into smaller packages so minority-owned, female-owned, and Cleveland-based businesses can better compete for those contracts