Custom Vehicle Maker Becomes Tenant in Chapel Hill Business Park
By Terry Troy
Driverge Vehicle Innovations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MobilityWorks, will be an anchor tenant of the new Chapel Hill Busines Park, a redevelopment of the former Chapel Hill Mall in Akron. The business park is owned by Industrial Commercial Properties LLC (ICP).
Plans call for the company to occupy 150,000 square feet of the park, adding 67 jobs while retaining 165 positions. Total investment by Driverge comes to just over $2 million.
Earlier this year, ICP announced that it had already redeveloped and leased 58% of the former regional mall, bringing much coveted manufacturing jobs to the area.
“We are ecstatic about our new manufacturing facility being developed at Chapel Hill Business Park. We are excited for our extraordinary team members to be able to continue to call Akron and Summit County home, as we have for the last 25 years. Our team has built an incredible, national business with such an amazing mission based on serving others, and it started and endures here in Akron,” said Mark Minatel, president of Driverge Vehicle Innovations. “Our business continues to grow and through the vision of ICP and in partnership with our local and state governments, we will continue to invest, innovate and create jobs in this community. We are looking forward to adding to our team and a great future at Chapel Hill Business Park.”
Driverge has been operating out of multiple buildings and parking facilities and was searching for a single facility that offered efficiency and state-of-the-art manufacturing features as well as a new headquarters. The new site will be dedicated to producing wheelchair-accessible vehicles and complex vehicle upfitting. The space will include manufacturing, offices, customer support areas, and employee support areas.
“Driverge Vehicle Innovations will gain efficiencies with this new, state-of-the-art facility that will streamline production space and provide additional production capacity,” said Chris Paczak, chief marketing officer/Driverge Vehicle Innovations/MobilityWorks. “The new facility will also serve as the company’s headquarters.”
“Driverge is the perfect user for this type of space. It is an ideal light assembly business and having a location in Akron was important to them,” said Chris Semarjian, owner of ICP. “With the robust demand for industrial space, we have found great success converting former retail locations into multi-tenant business parks.”
Founded in 1997, MobilityWorks began with a single location on Moe Drive in Akron and has since grown to 95 stores and four manufacturing facilities across the country. MobilityWorks/Driverge Vehicle Innovations, owned by Flexpoint Ford, is the largest upfitter of Ford Transits and upfits for Mercedes Benz USA and Dodge/Chrysler – Stellantis.
“Our engineering team performed layouts for several buildings to help determine which option made the most sense. Chapel Hill Business Park was the perfect fit due to its location and the unique layout of the property,” said Michelle Nicholson, director of leasing for ICP.
“I would like to thank ICP, JobsOhio, the City of Akron and Summit County officials for making all of this possible,” added Paczak. “We started site selection for a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility over three years ago. We viewed facilities across the country and in northeast Ohio and kept returning to the former Chapel Hill Mall property. It was challenging to design and engineer assembly lines inside of a former mall, but with the creative mindset and collaborative efforts of ICP, we were able to make this vision a reality,”