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Business Park Near Hamlin Still Looking for Tenants

STERLING TOWNSHIP — Millions of dollars are being spent on a business park to attract companies to Wayne County, but so far, no one’s committed to a...

STERLING TOWNSHIP -- Millions of dollars are being spent on a business park to attract companies to Wayne County, but so far, no one's committed to anything.

The Sterling Business and Technology Park near Interstate 84 started up some seven years ago and right now it has only one temporary tenant.

So far, millions of dollars have been spent to make the park appeal to new business, but there are no permanent tenants yet.

Developers hope by putting up a spec building of their own, it will get the ball rolling.

Within the month, crews expect to finish a 25,000 square foot building. The developers of the Sterling Business and Technology Park near Hamlin hope the spec building will attract the park's first full-time tenant.

"KOZ properties are tax free for up to 10 years, giving your company more resources to grow your business," says the narration of a video from the Wayne Economic Development Corporation or WEDCO. It has put roughly $10 million in loans and grants from the state into the project.

That's according to marketing director Troy Bystrom, who says the park has all the infrastructure in place, but only one company is located there on a temporary basis.

"We're making sure if a tenant comes in, we're ready to go. That's only been the last couple years we've been able to market the park and really seriously look at bringing tenants into the area," Bystrom said.

According to Bystrom, the new building is paid for in part by a $500,000 state grant.

The sale price, according to the park's website, will be a deal for the park's first tenant; something of a "build it and they will come" approach.

"That's great for the movies, but it's a huge risk when you're looking at how much money people in this area can invest in tax dollars," said neighbor Gail Laskowski.

Laskowski lives down the road from the practically empty business park. She's concerned all that taxpayer money isn't getting results.

"I think it needs to be on a little more solid ground before more money is invested."

At Shelly's Family Restaurant a short drive from the park, owner Patrick Shelly stands to benefit if companies move to the Sterling Business Park.

"It looks good on paper. I don't know because the economy is taking so long to come back. The right incentives aren't there to put people in the industrial park," said Shelly.

WEDCO, the park's developers, says the timing of the recession in 2008 did not help the park. The marketing director says some companies are starting to show interest in some of the 23 lots, but there's still no telling when or if the first permanent business will move in.