Whitehall State of the City – $60 million per square mile of investment

Whitehall drew nearly 50 new companies last year as its renewed economic development strategy began producing big results.

In her state of the city address on Wednesday night, Mayor Kim Maggard talked about the renewed economic development strategy the city has pushed since she took office in 2012 – when the suburb shifted to a proactive stance to encourage business investment.

Since then, incentives have drawn $60 million in business investment. Forty-eight new companies have moved to Whitehall since 2010, including large employers like Wasserstrom Co. and Heartland Bank. The city now hosts 650 businesses, and $50 million in new payroll has been created since 2012.

Maggard said city staff members have visited 110 businesses. Of them, 75 percent were maintaining or growing their employment. These have added $4.5 million in income tax revenue to the city.

Read the full story at Columbus Business First here.

‘Microhospital’ Proposed for Whitehall

A second microhospital is proposed for Franklin County, a 15-bed facility in Whitehall on the site of a closed Applebee’s, according to an item to be introduced Tuesday at City Council.

The location, 4600 E. Broad St., compounds the mystery of what health system would operate the 18,600-square-foot facility. Developer Embree Asset Group Inc. typically works with local or regional health systems to operate its microhospitals.

All four Columbus-based systems said they had no agreement with Embree. Embree, based just outside Austin, Texas, also is seeking to build a 15-bed hospital in Dublin. In each building, eight of the rooms are designated for inpatient stays; the rest are for treatment and exams. The trend toward microhospitals is another way to get care for less-serious cases in more convenient settings, most often in more affluent suburbs.

For the full story on Columbus Business First click here.

Whitehall Golf Dome Sold to Make Room for New Development

The city of Whitehall received less than a windfall in ridding itself of a massive inflatable dome last week, but it gained something it considers more valuable than money: marketable real estate in a prime location.

Although an online auction to sell the former Four Seasons Golf Center’s 86,000-square-foot, 85-foot-tall inflatable dome on East Broad Street netted just $1,750, Whitehall officials aren’t worried.

“Sure, we had hoped for a little more money, but we are happy it is going away — at the buyer’s expense, I might add — and we wish (the buyer) well,” Whitehall Development Director Zach Woodruff said after a two-week online auction administered by Auction Ohio closed July 18.

The golf dome — which the auction site said could cost up to $750,000 new — had served as central Ohio’s only indoor driving range until Four Seasons, 5000 E. Broad St., shut down Feb. 28.

“Now, we can move on to the important goal of developing this land,” Woodruff said.

For the full story in ThisWeek news click here.

Expansive makeover plan for Broad and Hamilton grows

Expansive makeover plan for Broad and Hamilton grows

Whitehall and Continental Real Estate Cos. are fleshing out details of a transformation planned at the site of a crime-ridden apartment complex on East Broad Street and growing the scope of the $50 million project even before work begins.

Four months after the city said it would partner with the Columbus developer to knock down the 42-building Commons at Royal Landing slum, the partners are working to assemble adjacent properties fronting Hamilton Road to the east.

The Norton Crossing site is expected to total 23 to 25 acres, up from about 20 acres initially.

Norton Crossing Site Plan

“We encouraged the city to partner with us in buying the adjacent properties so that the entire 25 acres at the southwest corner of Broad and Hamilton will be a complete, clean, clear palette,” Continental Chairman Frank Kass told Columbus Business First. “Everything we put there will be uncompromised. We said, ‘Hey, we’ll do (the project), but we can’t really do it and have some of these adjacencies to have the kind of quality we want.’

“Driving south on Hamilton and west on Broad, the only thing you’re going to see is a great looking project,” he said.

The additional sites – a retail plaza at 61-91 S. Hamilton Road, a trio of apartment buildings at 35 S. Hamilton and a check cashing store at 4775 E. Broad St. – are expected to make the complex more accessible. Also, it will permit more commercial buildings to be included.

Whitehall is negotiating to acquire the shopping center, and Continental is working to put the apartment buildings under contract. The National Check Cashers, at Broad and Hamilton, would have to be acquired through the federal right-of-way acquisition process, which city officials said is not likely to happen before 2019.

“The city intends to make right-of-way and road improvements,” Mayor Kim Maggard told Business First ahead of a State of the City meeting to discuss the proposal and other community developments. “It will allow for redevelopment of … (the) entire corner of Broad and Hamilton. We’re very excited about that.”

Adds Kass: “The intersection of Hamilton Road and Broad Street is one of the more important, high-traffic intersections in Central Ohio.”

This article originally appeared in Columbus Business First.

You can read the full story here.

New building soon to rise near airport

Whitehall leaders expect a new 260,000-square-foot industrial building to be completed by the end of the year at the Airport South Commerce & Tech Park, north of East Broad Street between North Yearling and Poth roads.

The new industrial building is a second phase of collaboration with developers Mark F. Taggart and Fed One Dublin, said city Development Director Zach Woodruff.

The companies recently completed a 140,000-square-foot industrial building at the commerce park that is occupied today by Continental Auto Parts and Takeya USA, a lifestyle-products company best known for sustainable beverage and food-storage products.

The building is on the site of the former Oasis Corp., a water-cooler and fountain manufacturer.

The new 260,000-square-foot industrial building will rise north of the existing building.

Whitehall will offer a 15-year, 100 percent property-tax abatement to the developer to construct the new building.

“They will make an investment of $8 million to $12 million,” Woodruff said.

As part of the agreement, the developer will be required to create at least 75 jobs with an annual payroll of $2 million within three years, Woodruff said.

Read more on ThisWeek Community News here.


City of Whitehall selects Continental Real Estate Companies to develop key site

Whitehall, Ohio] November 29, 2016 – The City of Whitehall has named Columbus-based Continental Real Estate Companies to lead redevelopment efforts of a critical City entry point at the intersection of East Broad Street and Hamilton Road.  Planning for the mixed-use development is underway and will continue into the first quarter of 2017 with construction expected to start in the second quarter of 2017.site-overview-whitehall

The City acquired the majority of the 20 acres at the southwest corner of the intersection earlier this year with the intention of redeveloping the site into a walkable, mixed use development featuring residential, commercial and office space.  The project represents a combined public-private investment of $50 million. Public investment was made through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars, which are captured by diverting a portion of property taxes. That funding can only be used for municipal infrastructure and public improvement projects, like the purchase of real estate.

Concurrently, the City has nearly completed improvements on North Hamilton Road, between Whitehall’s northern boundary (the railroad tracks) and the Airport South Commerce and Tech Park, the City’s business park at Poth Road.  The $2.7 million project includes the refacing of the railroad bridge, a new gateway feature to the City, a new entry way to Whitehall Community Park, a multi-use path from Poth Road to the park, new lighting and a new traffic signal.  The City is also exploring funding sources for a complete overhaul of the East Broad Street/Hamilton Road intersection.  Investment in this project is estimated at $7.2 million and is directly adjacent to the 20-acre redevelopment site.

Read more from The Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Business First.

“As a community, we are laser-focused on economic development and attracting as residents young professionals and empty nesters who are working in the City,” said Mayor Kim Maggard.  “Continental Real Estate Development has decades of experience creating high quality projects that withstand the test of time in central Ohio and beyond.  We are looking forward to reimagining this important area with them to attract even more jobs, amenities and residents.”

site-plan-whitehallA committee consisting of the administration, council and the Whitehall Community Improvement Corporation (WCIC) reviewed proposals and interviewed developers before recommending Continental.

In selecting Continental, the City hopes to leverage the expertise of a developer known for high quality results, including Pittsburgh’s award-winning North Shore, central Ohio’s Hilliard Gateway, and a multitude of retail, medical, multi-family and hospitality developments in Grandview, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Easton and downtown Columbus.

Continental Real Estate Companies Chairman Frank Kass stated, “Whitehall is a burgeoning community that significantly benefits from its location within I-270 and its proximity to both the John Glenn Airport

and downtown Columbus.  With forward thinking city leadership, Whitehall is poised to become the next great redevelopment story and we’re pleased to partner with them to serve the needs of a growing office and residential population.”

The Committee will present information on the development plans for this site, formerly known as the Commons at Royal Landing, to the Whitehall City Council at a Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 7-8pm at Whitehall City Hall, 360 S. Yearling Road, Whitehall.

The revitalization of this high profile area is the next step in the ongoing reemergence of one of central Ohio’s most significant suburbs.  With a current population of nearly 19,000, Whitehall leadership is leveraging the City’s momentum to stimulate additional business growth and expansion.

Since 2012, the City has attracted 1,400 new jobs, including:

  • Heartland Bank’s 60,000 s.f. corporate headquarters and bank branch, housing approximately 100 employees with an expected opening in the 4th quarter of 2017.
  • Wasserstrom’s announced new headquarters with approximately 250 employees with an expected opening in summer 2017.
  • Rite Rug’s opening of its headquarters in 2015 housing 250 employees.
  • Priority Designs 2015 opening of its state-of-the-heart headquarters, which houses about 60 employees and was an adaptive reuse of a former Chevrolet dealership
  • A 140,000 s.f. speculative office and industrial building developed by the Mark F. Taggart Company and Fed One Dublin that opened in summer 2016 and is majority occupied.

Existing Whitehall businesses have also reinvested in their sites, including:

  • Byers Imports project is midway through a $3.5 million construction of a new 15,000 s.f. stand-alone Audi dealership on Hamilton Road.
  • Sandoval Buick has invested more than $1 million in its dealership at the corner of Poth and Hamilton Roads.

And several significant senior residential projects have been added, including:

  • The Ashford senior living center developed by Wallick Communities on the site of the former Ramada Inn at Broad Street and Hamilton Road.
  • Hamilton Crossing Senior Apartment Complex is currently under construction at the corner of Hamilton and Etna roads.


Columbus CEO: Commercial Real Estate Spotlight – Whitehall

From Columbus CEO’s November 2016 edition:

Columbus banker Scott McComb did not lack options when he decided in late 2015 that his Heartland Bank could not successfully renovate the original, historic passenger terminal at Port Columbus International Airport—now John Glenn Columbus International Airport—into offices for its new headquarters.

“When (the airport site) didn’t work, all of the (central Ohio) communities knew we had to do something and wanted to talk to us about development ground or (vacant) buildings they had available,” the Heartland CEO recalls. “We were going down the road a little bit with one municipality when we started talking to Whitehall about an affordable housing initiative. But Whitehall was not really in the mix for the headquarters.”

Whitehall, though, had already made significant progress promoting the redevelopment of stagnant commercial and industrial properties and vacant development ground. Those efforts included Columbus-based Wallick Communities’ recently completed $18 million transformation of the shuttered Ramada Inn at E. Broad Street and S. Hamilton Road into 131 affordable assisted living units for seniors. It also lured carpet retailer Rite Rug, which moved its distribution headquarters from Wilson Road and Interstate 70 two years ago into 150,000 square feet of warehouse and office space at 4450 Poth Rd., a facility that Cincinnati-based grocer Kroger Co. had vacated a decade before. Click here to read the full story.

Whitehall welcomes fast-growing international hydration solutions manufacturer Takeya USA

Takeya USA, a lifestyle products company that designs innovative and sustainable beverage and food storage products, has announced its move to Whitehall’s Airport South Commerce & Tech Park.

The company, which will operate in a newly-built multi-tenant industrial space at the corner of Poth and North Hamilton roads, was established in 2008 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Takeya USA has roots in Japanese manufacturing tradition, thanks to a partnership between Co-Founders John Lown and Hiroshi Taketani of Takeya Japan.Takeya

The company is relocating its distribution center to central Ohio from the Cleveland area.

“Moving our warehouse to Whitehall is a direct result of our rapid growth domestically,” said Lown. “The expansive warehouse allows us to continue to provide our customers with a high level of service and efficiency as we steadily grow and expand our product lines and brand. Furthermore, this move puts us closer to our U.S. manufacturing center in the area, reinforcing our sustainable and environmentally-friendly mission, as less transport means less carbon pollution.”

Takeya USA is known for its popular brand of insulated steel water bottles, ThermoFlask, as well as its glass water bottle line and coffee and tea solutions. Takeya USA products can be purchased directly from the company online at www.takeyausa.com, at local stores like Costco and Best Buy, and online retailers like Target.com and Amazon.

“In our brand new space, which has the capability for us to further expand our inventory, we will have state of the art equipment and technology to streamline our ordering process,” Lown said. “We are proud to positively impact the Ohio economy with our growth and job creation.”

Takeya USA officials plan to be fully operational in their Whitehall facility by the end of the month.

ThermoFlaskWhitehall Director of Economic Development Zach Woodruff said it’s exciting to have such an innovative company join the Whitehall community.

“Takeya USA, like a number of other businesses that have recently chosen to locate in Whitehall, is forward-thinking and globally-minded,” he said. “It’s exactly the type of company Whitehall is trying to attract.”

Takeya USA, represented by Rick Trott of CBRE Columbus (www.cbre.us/o/columbus), is the second company to locate within the 140,000-square-foot building, built by Fed One www.fedonedublin.com. Continental Auto Parts opened earlier this year, leaving 40,000 square feet available. The building is listed and managed by the Mark F. Taggart Co, AMO. More information can be found at www.mftco.com.

For more information about Takeya USA, please contact Bolt Public Relations at 949-218-5454 or via email at takeya@boltpr.com. For more information about the City of Whitehall, please contact Gail Martineau at 614-264-4675 or via email at gail.martineau@whitehall-oh.us

Click here to read Columbus Business First’s coverage of the move.

Heartland Bank debuts renderings for new Whitehall corporate headquarters

Heartland Bank is fleshing out details of its new headquarters campus in Whitehall.

The 13-branch community bank has named Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. as general contractor for the roughly $10 million project (including furniture and equipment), a planned move from its longtime headquarters in Gahanna that was first made public in March.

Read more here from Columbus Business First.

Revived Chamber of Commerce Ready for Action

With the support of 11 newly seated board members, the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce is ready to re-establish itself in the community.

Members will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, at Sandoval Buick GMC, 300 N. Hamilton Road, for a two-hour social gathering meant to reintroduce the chamber to the community, increase exposure and build membership, said Joe Ryan, economic development specialist for Whitehall.

The roll-out was more than a year in the making. It began when Ryan was appointed in July 2015 as the city’s first economic development specialist to assist Development Director Zach Woodruff.

“Part of the reason (I was hired) was to promote existing businesses in our city and for business retention, and I took the lead recruiting business owners (for a board of directors),” Ryan said.

Read more