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Local Leaders Expect More Development
ThisWeek Community Newspapers
By Lori Wince
Local business leaders expect the roster of companies in the New Albany business parks to keep expanding into 2012, as more new buildings are being built to attract businesses to the area.
“We’ve had unprecedented success in attracting companies, literally from all over the world,” said Bill Ebbing, chief executive officer of the New Albany Co., the area’s largest developer.
Ebbing and others detailed past successes and talked about the future during the New Albany Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Community Update” breakfast at Winding Hollow Golf Course on Sept. 15.
Since 2009, Ebbing said, New Albany has attracted 2.1 million square feet of new business construction in the business parks. Those businesses are adding 2,500 new employees to the local tax base.
To continue the forward progress in a down economy, Ebbing said, the New Albany Co. (NACo) is again partnering with the Daimler Corp. to build a 108,000-square-foot, four-story office building north of state Route 161 and beside the Waters Edge building. It will be a mirror image of the building that houses the NACo offices. Though demand for office space has not been high recently, the building is full and Ebbing said there is interest in a new building.
NACo and Daimler also are starting construction in October on one of three speculative buildings to be marketed to the research and technology industries. The first will be off Central College Road in the research and information business campus.
Ebbing said NACo is finding some companies are interested in spaces without a lobby. Instead, they want a separate entrance to their portion of the building, which comes with a cheaper price per square foot without the common area. NACo already is pursuing two tenants for the first speculative building, which should be completed by the spring of 2012.
Mayor Nancy Ferguson and Ebbing both said the community has been prosperous because of its infrastructure, planning and public-private partnerships. They cited the installation of American Electric Power’s dual electric power system in the campuses and the fiber-optic access that Bluemile extends even to small businesses.
Ferguson said the first business park was developed in New Albany 13 years ago and the campuses have continued to prosper, even in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The city has four distinct business campuses:
• The research and technology campus, off Central College Road, which includes new construction by Nationwide Insurance, Motorists Insurance, PharmaForce and the TJX Cos.
• Medical campus, off Smith’s Mill Road at U.S. Route 62, which includes an addition to the Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital, a 60,000-square-foot medical office building, a 120-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel and a rehabilitation center being built by Communicare.
• Personal care and beauty campus, north of state Route 161 and east of Abercrombie & Fitch, which includes new companies focused on producing, packaging and distributing beauty products. Ebbing said it includes Accel, Axium Plastics, Anomatic, the Knowlton Development Corp., VeePak, Alene Candles and Sonoco Plastics.
• Blacklick campus, which includes Abercrombie & Fitch and land north of Route 161 and west of Beech Road. It soon will include Bob Evans Farms’ corporate headquarters on the east side of the campus.
Employees who work in the business campuses need restaurants and other services nearby. Ebbing said new restaurants and service businesses are coming to New Albany because of the increasing number of employees will work in the business campuses. Some of the newest ones include a McDonald’s, a Steak ’n Shake, a Chipotle, a Firestone vehicle care center and a Goddard School, all of which are being built north of the Giant Eagle strip center off New Albany Road.
“It’s all about convenience for employees,” Ebbing said.
Chamber president Eileen Leuby said the community update attracted more than 120 people this year. Representatives from the New Albany-Plain Local School District and local businesses also spoke at the breakfast.