Miceli Dairy plans $128M expansion, 250 new jobs

Miceli Dairy Products Co. facilities are due to expand in a three-phase development. This view looks south on East 90th Street at the company’s offices and plant in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood. The first phase of expansion will be just beyond these buildings and include new warehousing and transportation facilities (Google). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor draws new investment

Cleveland’s booming food industry on the city’s East Side continues to boom. The next explosive expansion could more than double the size of Miceli Dairy Products Co., 2721 E. 90th St., in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood. The company, which turned 100 years old last year, is planning an investment of about $128 million divided among three phases of expansion that promises up to 250 new jobs.

The first phase of expansion for the family-owned and operated manufacturer of fine Italian cheeses would increase the capacity of its transportation and logistics capabilities. This $16 million phase will be built on several acres of land south of the existing East 90th plant.

This phase is projected to add about 50 new jobs to the third-generation Cleveland-based business, according to a joint development agreement tentatively reached with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA). The transit authority is considering selling a small piece of land necessary for Miceli’s first phase.

To the west and north of the existing Miceli manufacturing plant will be the next two phases of expansion. they are proposed to involve an investment of about $112 million and add approximately 200 more jobs to the company, the agreement noted. Miceli currently has about 173 employees and annual revenues of $70 million, according to ZoomInfo.com.

To put the scale of that expansion into context, the big new Cleveland Cold Storage warehouse that opened last year at 2777 E. 75th St. by an affiliate the Orlando Baking Co. cost $32 million to build. The 156,775-square-foot warehouse is located on 11 acres of land just to the west of Miceli’s growing campus along the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard.

Miceli Dairy Products Co.’s development arm, the Miceli-Lograsso Development Co., owns nearly 30 acres of land for and near its offices and plant on East 90th Street at Buckeye Road. The land is between the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s light-rail Blue and Green Lines. As shown, Miceli is acquiring more land (MyPlace.CuyahogaCounty.gov).

Miceli’s proposed expansion has been in the works for a long time and is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the neighborhood and the city. To prepare for it, Miceli has spent the last decade acquiring nearly 30 acres of properties near its plant. It has leveled abandoned industrial buildings and cleaned up the land including for a 14-acre, construction-ready site on Opportunity Corridor at Evarts Road.

An e-mail sent by NEOtrans to Miceli Dairy Products‘ Vice President of Marketing Maria Miceli seeking more information about the expansion was not responded to prior to publication of this article. The company has been located at East 90th and Buckeye since 1949.

More properties are being acquired and more structures, including houses, are due to come down. The dairy firm’s land-development arm, the Miceli-Lograsso Development Co., has a tentative agreement with GCRTA for the purchase of a tiny piece of land measuring just 0.108 acres for $6,000, which was deemed by the two parties to be of fair market value.

The sale is subject to approval of the GCRTA Board of Trustees. A staff presentation will be made June 11 to the GCRTA board’s Audit, Safety Compliance and Real Estate Committee which could recommend to the full board final approval of the property sale.

The property will have to be carved out of a larger piece of land along GCRTA’s light-rail Blue and Green Lines linking Shaker Heights and Downtown Cleveland. This parcel extends northward, away from the rail line. So its sale won’t negatively impact future transit service, according to a memo sent to committee members from GCRTA General Manager and CEO India Birdsong-Terry.

Miceli land clearing and cleaning work for the company’s future expansion has been underway for more than a decade, showing how long the company been wanting to grow its business while remaining in Cleveland’s urban core (Miceli-Lograsso Development Co.)

In fact, the northward extension of the parcel divides two Miceli properties. That’s why Miceli wants to acquire it — to link up its separated parcels, according a person familiar with Miceli’s expansion plans who spoke to NEOtrans on the condition of anonymity.

“The sale of this small portion of excess property is key to initiating the first phase of a multi-phase expansion planned by Miceli,” Birdsong-Terry wrote in the memo, dated June 6.

“Staff have been engaged with Miceli principals for more than two years to assist with the planning, design and development of their expansion plan,” she added. “This significant Miceli expansion also has the support and cooperation of the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.”

GCRTA’s joint development agreement with Miceli includes the dairy firm’s participation in the GCRTA Commuter Advantage Program with the purchase of 25 transit passes for workers. The Miceli plant is located just west of the Buckeye-Woodhill station on the Blue and Green Lines, as well as the 120-unit Woodhill Station West apartments that opened in March and the adjacent, planned Woodhill Station East development.

The memo also noted that city-owned properties are to be acquired by Miceli-Lograsso Development for the plant expansion. Private property continues to be purchased as well. Cuyahoga County property records show that Miceli-Lograsso Development has a purchase option for a little more than a half-acre of land owned by the Lomack Drum Co., 2800 E. 90th. No purchase price was disclosed.

The corner of Opportunity Corridor Boulevard and Evarts Road is the western edge of Miceli’s growing collection of properties on which it hopes to more than double the size of its business. In the distance are the twin spires of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, which is next to Miceli’s offices and current plant (Google).

Miceli-Lograsso Development’s most recent property acquisition was recorded on April 17 — a 0.42-acre piece of land that was owned by Anthony Gray Jr., a principal of Lomack Drum. The dairy firm’s development arm paid $20,000 for the parcel, located at 2820 E. 90th, which is right next to GCRTA’s light-rail rapid transit tracks.

Lomack Drum, affiliates and their principals have been accused of numerous environmental violations at its East 90th site. Just to the west of it was another property affiliated with the Grays — the L Gray Barrel & Drum Co., which was forfeited to the state of Ohio in 2022.

Surrounding those parcels is land owned by The Zone LLC, a real estate arm of the Burten Bell Carr Development Inc. It has three parcels totaling about 3.5 acres which could come into play for Miceli’s expansion.

Other properties to the north are being directly acquired by Miceli. On the other side of Buckeye, Miceli has bought up multiple parcels within a triangle-shaped block totaling 5 acres. It includes a warehouse built by the city in 1998 for Cleveland Public Power. It was renovated by Miceli for storage.


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