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Oberlin Economic Development Opportunities Report March 2024

Available Properties in Oberlin, Ohio

Welcome to Oberlin, Ohio, a city that has all the cultural, educational, and historical attributes, plus a great downtown. With plans to transform over 211 acres of land along the major corridor of U.S. Route 20 into a new industrial park, the city is moving confidently into the future with the development of the Oberlin U.S. Route 20 Industrial Site.

City of Oberlin seal

The rich history of Oberlin includes the city’s role in the abolitionist movement in the United States in the 19th century when Oberlin was an active stop on the Underground Railroad.

Oberlin and the Underground Railroad plaque

Oberlin Underground Railroad Center

Oberlin, which supports sustainable development, is home to several LEED-certified projects, including a Platinum LEED fire station and hotel. The town is a leader in developing a diverse economy and focusing on sustainability. In 2001, the City Council adopted Resolution 01-08, its sustainability policy. Since then, the Oberlin community has taken the lead in sustainable initiatives, including a renewable power portfolio that includes electricity generated by wind, hydroelectric projects on the Ohio River, solar and landfill gas. Currently, 85 percent of electricity needs will be met by renewable sources directly, and the remaining fossil fuel use will be offset through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) each year for a 100 percent renewable electric grid. Oberlin’s emissions reduction goals are to become 75 percent carbon free by 2030, based on the 2012 baseline and carbon neutral by 2050. These commitments to sustainability and renewable power generation make Oberlin an ideal home for any future-oriented business.

Oberlin Station

Whether you’re drawn to its cultural richness, educational opportunities, or small-town charm, Oberlin offers a unique and vibrant place for businesses and families to call home.

Location, Location, Location!

Oberlin, Ohio, is situated in Lorain County in the north-central part of the state. The city is located approximately 31 miles southwest of Cleveland, one of Ohio’s major cities. Oberlin is bordered by the townships of Pittsfield, New Russia, and Russia, and is easily accessible via Interstate 480 and State Route 58. Its municipal limits extend south to include parts of the major corridor of U.S. Route 20.

Oberlin on the map

The city recognized the need for growth and purchased 212 acres of land along U.S. Route 20 and is currently in the process of developing this land into an environmentally sustainable industrial park. This park — with the potential for direct rail access and access to a major interstate just minutes away — will feature exceptional utility services including heavy power, and shared regional stormwater. Jobs of the future for this new industrial park could include roles in the industries of renewable energy, electric vehicles or healthcare. The city hopes companies interested in Oberlin’s carbon neutrality commitment will be attracted to this new park. For additional information, please contact Carrie Porter, Oberlin Director of Planning & Development at [email protected].

Northeast Ohio remains an attractive business location and continues to experience steady growth. Oberlin is proud of its partnerships with state and regional organizations that foster business growth and development. Of particular significance is the support provided by Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO). TeamNEO is one of Ohio’s most dynamic and innovative economic development partnerships, representing the 18 counties that comprise Northeast Ohio. The region boasts a workforce of more than 2 million and is home to 40 percent of Ohio’s Fortune 1000 companies (the most Fortune 1000 companies of any region in Ohio). You will also find more than 200 global companies and approximately 800 world business headquarters. Northeast Ohio’s central location reaches the largest number of consumers in a 250-mile/400-km radius compared with any other metro market in the United States.

Oberlin’s proximity to Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides residents with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Overall, Oberlin’s location in northern Ohio offers residents a mix of small-town charm and easy access to the amenities of a larger city.

Oberlin encompasses the North Coast Inland Trail, a 15-mile paved bicycle and pedestrian path, which travels southwest to Kipton and northeast to Elyria. Oberlin offers 14 parks and reservoirs featuring a variety of outdoor experiences. Its unique shopping experiences allow visitors to browse through one of the only remaining Ben Franklin stores in the country.

This town is home to Oberlin College & Conservatory, a prestigious liberal arts college with a long history of academic excellence and a commitment to social justice and progressive values. The college offers a wide range of undergraduate programs, including majors in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Oberlin College is known for its rigorous academic programs, small class sizes, and close-knit community. The college also has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, and it offers several programs and initiatives to promote sustainability on campus and in the community.

Oberlin College and Conservatory

Why Oberlin?

The City of Oberlin is a leader in the progression of a more diversified economy. Its business attraction efforts include development initiatives focused on innovative investment, job growth, and promoting increased collaboration. Oberlin is home to several hi-tech start-up businesses, as well as traditional manufacturing, commercial, intellectual and scientific companies. This blend lends itself to an augmented comprehensive design of public/private partnerships. Through an existing relationship with Oberlin College and local and regional businesses, Oberlin has created a community of support to benefit your business.

The city has worked to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses through initiatives like the Oberlin Business Partnership, which provides resources and support to help businesses grow and succeed. Oberlin has focused on enhancing its downtown area to make it more attractive to visitors and businesses. The city has invested in infrastructure improvements, such as streetscape enhancements and the renovation of historic buildings.

Oberlin has been exploring the development of a business incubator to support start-ups and attract new industries to the area. Some of the notable businesses in Oberlin include:

  • Agrinomix
  • General Plug
  • HydroTube
  • Synapse Biomedical
  • Ascension Biomedical
  • Federal Aviation Administration

In addition to local business support, there are many excellent resources throughout Lorain County. No matter the size of your business, these resources can provide information, consultation and access to even more assistance to help you sustain and grow your business.

Downtown Shops on West College Street

As a public power community, Oberlin provides reliable electric power at a low cost. Like many surrounding communities, the city has access to local, state, and county incentive programs. To set Oberlin apart, the town has developed new program initiatives to maintain and advance Oberlin’s business attraction and retention efforts. This includes Oberlin’s Revolving Loan Fund, Oberlin Business Incentive Program, the Oberlin Building Improvement Loan Program, and changes to Oberlin’s Tax Code related to unqualified stock options. The community offers a well-educated workforce, available sites for growth at attractive prices, and a location that is convenient to transportation networks.

The next few years will bring new developments to Oberlin, the innovation that will continue guiding leadership in environmental sustainability, and a spirit of cooperation and partnership with organizations in and around our region. This is truly a great time to be in Oberlin!

Why not check it out? Just call or stop by and see all that Oberlin has to offer.

Site opportunities include:

City of Oberlin U.S. Route 20 Industrial Site

  • 212 acres of vacant land

U.S. Route 20 Industrial Site

Oberlin – Creekside Drive

  • 40 acres of vacant land

Creekside Drive

Public Power and AMP

Public power utilities are not-for-profit, community-owned electric systems that work to provide the highest quality, most reliable power to residents and businesses. They are a part of the communities and focus on what is best for the people and businesses they serve.

American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is the nonprofit wholesale power supplier and services provider for 133 members in the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; as well as the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation, a joint action agency in Smyrna, Delaware. On behalf of our members, AMP deploys a diverse renewable generation portfolio along with environmentally responsible programs and services as part of a corporate commitment to sustainability.

Thank you for your interest in AMP Economic Development