New owners have big plans for former Hoover plant

G. Patrick Kelley and Edd Pritchard

Christopher Semarjian isn’t used to working in places like downtown North Canton. Robert DeHoff has been doing it for 40 years.

They are two of the three principals who make up Maple Street Commerce, the partnership that bought the former Hoover facility for about $5 million, with plans to redevelop it for a number of uses. The plant has been all but deserted since September, when then-owner TTI Floor Care North America stopped production.

“A year from now, two years from now, this building will be teeming with employees, building (products) and servicing customers,” DeHoff told about 150 community and civic leaders and residents at a news conference Monday.

Multiple tenants

DeHoff said the plan became inefficient for the Hoover type of manufacturing.

“This facility is no longer suitable for manufacture of one product, but it certainly lends itself to a number of smaller companies using smaller spaces,” he said.

DeHoff said he’s encouraged by economic conditions, and sees small to midsize companies “adding to their work forces because their business is strong.”

And that’s good for a town. “Nothing adds to the quality of life in a community better than a good-paying job,” he said.

Semarjian, who has purchased and developed more than 20 million square feet of industrial and office space in Ohio and Pennsylvania since 1996, said he is not used to the downtown surroundings.

“The red brick, the church, City Hall. We very seldom get a chance to be at Main and Main -- Main and Maple,” he said.

While plans call for change, Semarjian said developers will do their best to keep the atmosphere of the Hoover plant. The first floor of the red-brick building will be “shelled out” for retail space, but the floors above it have the potential for residential use, and the green space in front of the building will be kept for the city’s Christmas tree.

The office building along East Maple Street -- sometimes called the “white house” -- will be stained outside so it will blend better with the red brick, he said. It will undergo changes both inside and out, as will the two-story manufacturing space going east along Maple.

Who’s coming?

One company, a warehousing outfit, already has committed to the facility and is making changes; another tenant in lease negotiations and two are in the early stages of negotiations, he said. “In the next four months, we could see four tenants in this facility.”

Another job will be to pare down the utility bills. Semarjian said it will be hard to attract or afford tenants to the facility which has monthly electric bills in excess of $100,000 and gas bills of $300,000 even when empty.

DeHoff said some environmental costs didn’t show up in the purchase price, but Semarjian said it wasn’t a major factor.

“There are some environmental points on the site,” he said. “But we feel comfortable enough with the site to the point where we’re comfortable with the residential plans.”

Reach Repository Business Editor Pat Kelley at (330) 580-8323 or e-mail

The sale

Property size: 88 acres

Plant size: 1.4 million square feet

Price: About $5 million

The buyers

The former Hoover facility at Main and Maple streets in North Canton is now owned by Maple Street Commerce.

Its three main members are:

- Robert DeHoff, president of DeHoff Development and Prudential DeHoff Realtors in North Canton

- Christopher Semarjian, managing member of Industrial Commerce in Cleveland

- Stuart Lichter, president and senior managing partner of Industrial Realty Group in Downey, Calif.

The seller

TTI Floor Care North America of Glenwillow, Ohio, a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries Co. of Hong Kong. The company bought Hoover from Whirlpool for $107 million in December 2006.

The following April TTI announced it would close the North Canton plant in September 2007. About 800 workers are being paid through June under terms of a contract reached in December 2005.

TTI also is the maker of the Royal, Dirt Devil, Regina and Vax floor care appliances, and  continues to employ 150 at its Stark County Distribution Center and bag assembly plan in downtown Canton.


Maple Street Commerce envisions these possible uses for the Hoover plant:

- 200,000 square feet of warehousing

- 300,000 square feet of manufacturing

- 100,000 to 300,00 square feet of research and technology use

- 20,0000 to 40,000 square feet of retail space

- 100 to 400 residential units

- Up to 100 hotel rooms


Maple Street Commerce sees this job timetable for the Hoover plant:

- Two to three years -- 200-300 manufacturing jobs

- Three to five years -- 100-400 office, technology and research jobs

- Three to five years -- 50-150 service and retail jobs