Dear Friends and Neighbors:
While spring may have taken its time arriving this year, nothing has slowed New Albany’s momentum in 2018. From the business park to the town center, and from our neighborhoods to our parks, New Albany continues to thrive thanks to the passionate involvement of those who live and work here.
The Red Roof Inn chain considered moving out of state, but decided instead to relocate its headquarters to New Albany.
The hotel chain announced Wednesday it is moving its corporate office and 150 employees to the Water’s Edge III building. The company has signed an eight-and-a-half-year lease for all 43,000 square feet of the building, located at 7815 Walton Parkway.
It plans on moving in mid-May from its current headquarters in two buildings on South Front Street in the Brewery District. It has been there for 10 years.
The company said the new location would allow it to grow its office staff, update technology and consolidate two leases into one. The two offices the company is in total 28,000 square feet.
The company expects to add 35 employees in the new location, which it says offers quicker access to the airport and additional parking.
“We’re going to see increased visibility for the brand,” Andrew Alexander, president of Red Roof Inns Inc., told me.
The company had considered moving to Texas, too. Houston-based Westmont Hospitality Group acquired the Columbus economy chain in a joint venture in 2011.
“We looked at many locations Downtown, as well as some of the nearby suburban locations in Franklin County, and the opportunity in New Albany was really a unique one for us.”
The chain has grown significantly in the past few years, in part because it has launched brands that target new market segments. In three years, it has grown its footprint by 41 percent, reaching 539 locations worldwide, with an additional 30 in the works. The company has 3,000 employees, according to its website.
“We’re really settling our roots in Columbus and expect to grow our footprint across the world as we evolve the brand,” Alexander said. “That Red Roof master brand supports the extension.”
Red Roof Inn has secured deals to open properties in Brazil, Japan and Thailand, extending its reach. By the end of 2018, it expects to have 600 properties across all of its sub brands. Among these, the Red Roof Plus+ brand and The Red Collection, a new mid-scale concept, will open in Chicago this year.
“Growing at 75 units a year is achievable, but something we have achieved for several years and we expect to continue at that rate,” Alexander said. “As we do that, we incrementally add more employees. We certainly have the room to grow at the new site.”
Red Roof Inn moved to Columbus a decade ago from its long-time home in Hilliard.
The new building was home to Columbia Pipeline Group, but was not fully occupied.
“The demand in New Albany has been a good sign and it’s supported continued development,” said Bill Ebbing, president of New Albany Co.
By Tristan Navera
From Columbus Business First
A new office building is in the works in New Albany as available commercial office space remains nearly totally leased.
The city approved a final development plan last week for a two-story, 44,250-square-foot building next to the Walton Office building at 8100 Walton Parkway. The New Albany Company and Daimler Group will work together to develop the building, which will be a sister building to the 57,000-square-foot office building, which is next door and already fully leased.
The city’s office space stands at 98 percent occupancy, said Jennifer Chrysler, director of community development for New Albany. New Albany-based EMH&T is listed as project engineer on this latest build.
“It seems like the Class A space just doesn’t stay on the market long,” Chrysler said. “It’s great to have full occupancy, but not great when you can’t respond to new leads.”
The buildings are a part of the Water’s Edge East development and are the continuation of a multi-tenant speculative commercial development for New Albany. They seek tenants looking for at least 5,000 square feet of space.
The developers expect to start construction in the next few weeks for a projected completion within nine months, Chrysler said.
New Albany has benefitted from a number of big office moves recently, including insurer Aetna Inc., which just announced a plan to open a second New Albany office with 350 new jobs at the New Albany Center of Technology building, adding to its 1,080 workers who already work in the city.
PharmaForce Inc. recently announced plans to add new employees at its New Albany office, and the city also just landed the headquarters of developer Wallick Communities.
Other office moves across town also have been quickly backfilled, Chrysler said.
Meantime, Market and Main, another Daimler and New Albany Co. joint venture, has been filling out retail spaces and the apartments there should be finished by summer.
And the city just opened its Innovation Campus Way road, opening up 170 acres of land for development. About 35 acres of land zoned for offices with freeway visibility sits near the Walton development, too, Chrysler said.
“The way the market is going, I don’t think it will be too terribly long before we see more development,” Chrysler said.
By Tristan Navera
From Columbus Business First
The New Albany International Business Park will add 70 jobs, thanks to an expansion of one of its manufacturing businesses.
PharmaForce Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical research-and-development and manufacturing company, will expand at 6610 New Albany Road East in the business park.
The company also will add eight jobs at its Hilliard facility at 4150 Lyman Drive, said communications manager Terri Ponce.
The company has 196 and 102 employees at the New Albany and Hilliard facilities, respectively, Ponce said.
PharmaForce will begin hiring for packaging, mechanical, sterile, quality-assurance and validation jobs in the first three months of 2018 for New Albany and in late 2018 for Hilliard, according to a press release.
The expansion will include a 140,000-square-foot addition to the New Albany facility to expand manufacturing and warehouse operations, according to the release.
The company plans to reconfigure and remodel a portion of the Hilliard warehouse and production space and to expand by 1,800 square feet.
The expansion will allow PharmaForce to be a more competitive player in its market, Ponce said.
“This made the most sense,” she said.
The 70 jobs are important to New Albany because more than 80 percent of revenue for city services is drawn from income taxes, according to New Albany city spokesman Scott McAfee. About 15,000 people are employed in the business park, he said.
The New Albany PharmaForce facility opened in 2012 after construction began in 2008, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community-development director.
At that time, the city awarded PharmaForce a 100 percent property-tax abatement for 15 years for each phase of its project, she said.
The site PharmaForce purchased was expected to accommodate three to four phases of growth, Chrysler said.
“They’ve been a fantastic community partner, as well, throughout the years,” Chrysler said.
PharmaForce was acquired by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2009. Luitpold is a New York-based company of Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd., which is headquartered in Tokyo.
By Sarah Sole
From This Week Community News
Think Central Ohio is growing like gangbusters? U.S. Census data bears out that perception.
In a comparison of 2000 Census counts and 2016 population estimates, 24 of the 25 cities in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties have grown.
Three have more than doubled in population.
Health insurer Aetna plans to add 350 jobs in central Ohio as part of an expansion in New Albany.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved state tax incentives for the project, which includes retaining 957 jobs in New Albany.
The project was one of six to be approved; they are to create 656 jobs statewide and retain 1,365 others. The projects are to result in new payroll of $35 million and investments of $30 million.
Aetna declined to comment on the project in New Albany, saying a formal announcement is expected next week.
Aetna plans a new office in New Albany to accommodate growth, according to the state.
The new jobs will have an annual payroll of $14.2 million. The tax incentives have an estimated value of $1.4 million.
Also receiving approval for state tax incentives was a plan by Central Machinery to expand in Marion.
The project is projected to add 55 jobs, with hiring expected to start this summer. The company has 54 workers.
The family-owned manufacturer performs laser cutting, robotic and manual welding, stamping and other work.
It plans a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the facility at 1339 E. Fairground Road and will invest $8.6 million.
“The strong workforce in Marion and in the Columbus region as a whole has helped fuel our company’s ongoing growth,” said Rod Galbreath, the company’s president, in a statement. “This investment will enable us to upgrade our capabilities and provide the much-needed expansion for this phase of our growth.”
The tax credits have an estimated value of $325,000.
By Mark Williams
From The Columbus Dispatch
Facebook has chosen to build a new data center in the New Albany International Business Park. The company plans to invest $750 million to construct a 970,000-square-foot facility powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The project, the company’s tenth data center, will be situated on a 345-acre site located on the east side of Beech Road south of the State Route 161 interchange. It is slated to begin delivering services in 2019.
“We’re thrilled to have found a home in Ohio and to embark on this exciting partnership,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s VP of US Public Policy. “Everything here has been as advertised — from a committed set of community partners and strong pool of talent to the opportunity to power our facility with 100 percent renewable energy. The Buckeye State is a great place to do business.”
A 2017 U.S. Chamber of Commerce data center study estimates that construction of a data center of this magnitude will employ up to 1,688 local workers, provide up to $77.7 million in wages for those workers and produce $243.5 million in output along the local economy’s supply chain during construction. The same study estimates an annual injection of $32.5 million into the economy once construction is completed. After completion, Facebook expects to employ approximately 100 workers at its New Albany data center.
The close coordination between JobsOhio and local, regional and state agencies was aconsideration in Facebook’s decision. “I am pleased that Facebook has selected Ohio for its newest data center and grateful to our JobsOhio economic development team and their partners for helping to make this happen,” said Governor John R. Kasich. “This is a $750 million investment in technologies and jobs of the future that will further diversify our state’s economy, and, with other leading-edge innovators locating here, help put Ohio front and center in the Knowledge Belt of the 21st century.” JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor added, “Along with New Albany and Columbus 2020, we welcome Facebook to Ohio. The attraction of Facebook brings another high-performing technology company to this state and strengthens the IT sector, talent and innovation in Ohio.”
New Albany landed its largest data center to date while competing with cities across the country. The center itself will be one of the most advanced, energy-efficient data centers in the world, featuring Facebook’s latest Open Compute Project hardware designs. It will be cooled using outdoor air and direct evaporative cooling systems resulting in world-class levels of energy and water efficiency.
Facebook was also attracted to the New Albany International Business Park’s robust high-speed fiber optic network, triple feed electric capabilities and its technology- and shovel-ready sites, notes New Albany Mayor Sloan Spalding. “Our commitment to public-private partnerships and collaboration has enabled us to streamline the planning process and accommodate businesses’ need for speed to compete in the global market,” says Spalding. “That success enables us to provide a high level of service and amenities for residents and generates substantial revenue for our schools.”
“New Albany city leaders continue to show great foresight by investing in public infrastructure and technology that enable the community to attract mission critical facilities like Facebook,” said William Ebbing, president of New Albany Company. “We are very proud of the collaboration between city leaders, the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, Columbus 2020 and New Albany Company that not only helped us attract a high profile company like Facebook but also has made the New Albany International Business Park an economic engine for Ohio, growing to more than 15,000 jobs.”
With the addition of this project, the New Albany International Business Park will exceed 11 million square feet of total development. The park’s Information and Technology Cluster, which includes Aetna, Nationwide Insurance, Discover Financial Solutions and TJX Technology Center along with Facebook, now accounts for $2 billion in private investment.
A new event center is opening its doors in New Albany.
The Estate at New Albany, a 15,000-square-foot event venue, opened its doors for business this month at 5216 Forest Dr. The venue is the third for the Brooks family, which owns the Brookshire venue is near Lewis Center and WatersEdge Event & Conference Center in Hilliard.
“We’re already seeing a lot of interest in reserving the space,” owner John Brooks told me.
The venue features open meeting areas with a large central event room and several side areas, including two suites for a bride and groom, outdoor patios and technology for business gatherings and working events. The interior was designed by Lisa Coleman of 6 Design.
The largest room, which is 4,500 square foot, can accommodate as many as 375 guests. The 1,900 square feet of meeting rooms can seat as many as 210.
Brooks said he expects a 50-50 mix of corporate and family events. Between weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events, the two standing venues are booked well into 2019 with an increasing number of events being held during the week.
Corporate events and weddings have increased thanks to in-house catering, event planning and other services that allow for all-in-one packages. All-day weddings – ceremony, dinner and reception – and multi-day retreats for companies are doable, Brooks said.
“This used to be a spring and summer business, but it seems like people are getting married all year long anymore,” he said.
Brooks’ wife, Joy, founded the wedding planning business that eventually expanded into wedding venues. The couple’s three children and grandchildren are active in the venue management, catering and event planning operations.
The project cost Brookshire Banquet LLC about $5 million to build out, including about $900,000 to buy the land earlier this year. Westerville’s Kleingers Group was the civil engineer, Feher Architecture LLC of Columbus was the architect and Equity Construction Solutions built the venue.
By Tristan Navera
View photo gallery at Columbus Business First »
By this time next year, the first houses in New Albany’s Nottingham Trace development likely will be occupied.
New Albany City Council on Nov. 28 gave the developer, Pulte Homes, approval to move forward with the first phase of the single-family-home subdivision.
Council members voted 6-0 to approve the final plat for the 48-acre, 57-lot first phase. Mayor Sloan Spalding, President Pro Tempore Colleen Briscoe and Marlene Brisk, Mike Durik, Chip Fellows and Matt Shull voted in favor of the ordinance. Glyde Marsh was absent.
The zoning on the land requires that at least 80 percent of the units within the development must have a minimum of one occupant who is at least 55 years old, according to the legislation. A maximum of 240 lots can be included in the entire 100-acre development.
Tom Rubey, director of development for the New Albany Co., said the development is intended to be 100 percent age-restricted but “enforcement of the regulation by the federal government is limited to 80 percent of the units.”
He said the New Albany Co. plans to sell property west of New Albany-Condit Road (state Route 605) and south of Walnut Street to Pulte Homes in January. The land is off Schleppi Road and near Rocky Fork Metro Park in northern Plain Township.
Valerie Dolenga of Pulte Homes said a tentative grand opening is planned next fall for the community.
Rubey said he expects the first houses to be occupied by late fall or early winter and the community would take five to six years to complete.
According to a report prepared by Underhill & Hodge LLC, the development is estimated to add 17 students to the New Albany-Plain Local School District enrollment. The annual cost to educate the 17 students would be $212,619, the report said.
When the community is built out, it should generate an estimated $1.9 million annually in property-tax revenue for the school district, based on a schools-impact statement provided to the city as part of the rezoning process.
A 28-acre park also is planned as part of the development, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.
Although Pulte is building the park, it ultimately would be owned by the city, McAfee said.
Funding for the new park would come from a “nonschool” tax-increment-financing district for Nottingham Trace that is projected to generate $12.4 million over 30 years.
A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.
A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.
Revenue that exceeds the locked-in valuation of the land is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments.
In the case of a nonschool TIF, the additional property tax revenue is diverted from all entities except school districts, according to New Albany community-development director Jennifer Chrysler said. Recent state legislation added vocational schools to that exception, she said.
For the Nottingham Trace TIF, the schools would be New Albany-Plain Local and Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, according to a previous council legislative report.
Chrysler said the TIF also would be structured so it did not divert money from the Plain Township Fire Department.
The TIF would cover 64 developed acres, Chrysler said.
By Sarah Sole
From This Week Community News
Nearly a year after being split from its former UK parent, a supplier of fragrances for home care products such as air fresheners has been acquired by a Canadian consumer goods manufacturer.
Aromair Fine Fragrance Company Inc. just expanded this fall in New Albany, leasing an 84,000-square-foot manufacturing space. It has 200 employees over a total 140,000 square feet along Smith’s Mill Road.
Knowlton Development Corp., a Montreal-based contract manufacturer of health and beauty products, acquired Aromair for an undisclosed sum. Messages seeking comment were left with both. Private equity firm Novacap has backed several acquisitions for KDC in the past three years.
Strategic Value Partners, a London private equity firm that specializes in distressed assets, had invested in former parent Jeyes Group in 2011, when Jeyes first expanded to New Albany’s business park.
It has since became a majority owner of Aromair. Last December it sold off Jeyes, which made household cleaners.
By Carrie Ghose
From Columbus Business First