Story originally posted on 4/19/18 by Alison Matas/The Canton Repository
There’s a new team managing the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village project.
When the project began, it was a partnership between the Pro Football Hall of Fame and real estate development and investment firm Industrial Realty Group, and the vision for the 10-part Village was largely about bricks and mortar.
As plans for the development grew, it became obvious those involved “underestimated what is possible here,” said Stuart Lichter, president and chairman of the board of Industrial Realty Group. He and Hall President David Baker on Thursday said the Village is becoming more like the Walt Disney Company than Walt Disney World and will include a media and movies element and a publishing element. And as such, it needs to be run differently.
A new governance structure for the Village was one of the stipulations of the up-to-$100-million bridge loan developers recently secured through the help of strategic and financial adviser M. Klein and Company. The operating board will include members of the Klein company, along with representation from the Hall, Industrial Realty Group and Johnson Controls.
During a visit to Canton on Thursday, Michael Klein — managing partner of M. Klein and Company and the new chairman of the Village board — promised the project is moving out of the “bump” phase that left contractors waiting for months for millions in backpayments. He acknowledged “there is a lot of work to do” and that many people in Stark County are worried the project is behind schedule. He said that’s why his company raced to get financing to pay contractors, “so now we can start to fund the future and the growth.”
The Village operating board includes:
• Mark Bezos, director of Bezos Family Foundation and brother of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
• Michael Eck, with M. Klein and Company
• Cary Granat, co-founder and CEO of Immersive Artistry
• Mark Klein, CEO of GSV Capital and managing member and majority partner of M. Klein and Company
• Michael Klein, managing partner of M. Klein and Company
• Stuart Lichter, president and chairman of the board of Industrial Realty Group
• George Oliver, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls
• Eric Schwartz, with M. Klein and Company