JOHNSTOWN, Ohio — The sound of church bells every day around noon is just one thing Ryan Scheutzow and his wife, Mary, love about where they live.

What You Need To Know

  • Eighteen months after Intel’s announcement to set roots in Ohio, many people still feel uncertain

  • Some are excited about the expected economic benefits for central Ohio and promises of jobs

  • Others living near the Intel site aren’t as happy

  • Residents' lives could be turned upside down
  • A couple who works in real estate has mixed emotions about the expected development

“Johnstown is just an amazing small-town rural feel. The community is great. It's got everything you need, but it's not the crazy city life. And it's just peaceful,” said Ryan Scheutzow who owns Caswell Real Estate. “It's a place, you know, you can sit on your front porch and sip iced tea and watch the world go by and go into town to get a bite to eat.”

He and his wife escaped the fast-growing Delaware County six years ago to buy a home in the quieter area of Licking County, with the intention of staying awhile. They own Caswell Real Estate and help people buy and sell homes throughout the state. 

Ryan and Mary Scheutzow, owners of Caswell Real Estate in Johnstown. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

“We serve most of, if not all, central Ohio. We, you know, Franklin County, Licking County, Knox County, we get into kind of Union County and Logan County a bit,” Ryan Scheutzow said. “Also, being from Cleveland, we service the Cleveland market to a point.” 

The real estate market is holding strong since Intel announced last year the multi-national technology company is coming to Ohio to build potentially the largest chip-making complex in the world. 

“It is not just a big facility that's going in down the street. It's a giant development of the entire area. That will mean change, change it forever,” Ryan Scheutzow said. “In real estate, what's good for development is, is good for real estate, and that's good for business. And that, that helps our business.”

But they say what’s good for business isn’t always good for personal matters. Their house is just a mile away from the Intel site. Their once quiet road is now a detour and their dreams of a rural country life are up in the air. 

“A home is your, it's your safe space. It's you know, your castle, your place of refuge,” Ryan Scheutzow said. “So development does bring change to that and it brings uncertainty and so for us and for others, that is threatened to a point and it can be hard to take in at times.”

They said even 18 months later, it’s still hard to realize the extent of what is coming. They’re witnessing history unfold and said they’re going through all kinds of emotions. 

Caswell Real Estate is located in downtown Johnstown. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

Back at the office, they focus on what they can control. The Scheutzows said the biggest change they've seen in real estate is an increase in the price of land. 

“The price-per-acre just went up exponentially, you know, land that was selling for, you know, $5-$10,000 an acre is now selling for $40-$50,000 an acre and close to the project, you know, $100-$150,000 an acre,” he said. 

In a few years, they expect the real estate market to be booming. 

“I'd say five years from now you're gonna see, you know, massive housing developments, a lot of apartments, a lot of, you know, housing stock being added, because you're just naturally there's going to be, I think, tens of thousands of people descending upon this area,” he said. 

“We came here selling rural homes, which everyone is like completely different,” Mary Scheutzow said. "Different amount of land, completely different house type and structure and size. But I would assume very quickly, we will be selling development homes, which is fine. You know, all homes are great. It's just very different.”

The biggest question their clients are asking them lately is when is the best time to sell? 

“I wish I had a crystal ball to say what's going to happen a year from now to five,” Ryan Scheutzow said. “The biggest rule I tell people is, real estate will always be more valuable as a rule in the future. So if you can sell in the future, you'll get more money than you can today.”

Ryan and Mary Scheutzow stand outside their home in Johnstown. (Spectrum News 1/Taylor Bruck)

With business booming, but personal interests looming, the question is, do the Scheutzows stay or go?

“We would like to grow with it, and grow our business with it, and grow personally with it,” Ryan Scheutzow said. 

But they know for some long-time residents, it’s a tougher decision.

“Every situation is unique and so you just kind of dive into what their goals are and try to help them figure out when is best. Is now the best time, you know, is a couple of years probably going to be better for them. Just, you know, people with kids that are in school, they don't want to leave the school district until you know they graduate high school so that's a determination," Mary Scheutzow said. “Other people are like, is the highway going to blow through my yard and do I want to sell now so I don’t have to deal with eminent domain? So, you know, but that’s all speculative.” 

For now, the Scheutzows, like many other residents, are taking things one day at a time. They’re soaking up the last of what this town is, anxiously awaiting what’s coming.

“We know we'll go through some ups and downs and some, some struggles and, you know, some grief of losing what we had but hope that the future still looks bright, and we are here to enjoy and participate in it,” Ryan Scheutzow said. 

The Scheutzows recently launched a new program called “Real Estate with a Mission,” where they’re giving 10% of their profits back to local nonprofits in the Johnstown area. They said with all the development that is happening, they want to help support the community because the community is what supports real estate. Local nonprofits in need can click here for more information.