City approves sale at Innovation Park

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Marysville is moving forward with an agreement to sell 15.28 acres along U.S. 33 in the city’s Innovation Park. The buyer, BlueScope, is planning to build two buildings on the site.
(Photo submitted)

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Marysville officials are moving forward with the sale of property in its Innovation Park.
At Monday’s meeting of the city council, the body approved legislation to sell 15.28 acres of land along U.S. 33, part of the 205-acre Innovation Park.
Earlier in the day, the Union County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) also approved the resolution. The CIC serves as the city’s economic development agency and negotiated the sale with BlueScope Properties Group LLC. Eric Phillips, executive director of the CIC, has been authorized to sign documents on the city’s behalf.
“Tonight is a very important night to move forward with the Innovation Park,” Phillips said.
According to the agreement, BlueScope Properties Group LLC., will purchase 15.28 acres along U.S. 33 for $60,000 per acre.
Phillips told council that BlueScope is planning to build an 84,000-square foot building. The building will be dividable into 6,000 square foot segments.
“Why 6,000 square feet? It provides flexibility,” Phillips said.
Each section will have a door and a dock. Once the first building is complete, BlueScope intends to build a second just like it.
“What’s really neat about this is, this is really flex,” Phillips said “So this could actually be all office, it could be all manufacturing, this could be R&D (research and development), so it allows flexibility in this building. That actually, to the companies we are talking to, that’s really important when you are talking about multi-tenant building.”
Officials said they are in negotiations to have the Automotive Motor Innovation Center (AMIC) as the first tenant in the first building. The AMIC is planned to take three of the 6,000 square foot segments. Last year, the city received a state grant of about $1.5 million to build a facility. Emery said the money will now be used to “set-up and customize” the space AMIC will be using.
“The game plan is to put a data center in, but more importantly to have an incubator for emerging companies in smart mobility in the automotive sector, partnerships with our schools as well as Ohio State will have an office in this facility,” Phillips said, adding that he will keep council informed as more develops.
An additional potential component of the AMIC includes space dedicated for Traffic Management System Operations for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The city’s agreement with Lee and Associates, which is marketing the site for the city, calls for parcels on U.S. 33, larger than 15 acres, to be sold at a minimum price of $65,000 per acre. Lee and Associates will earn a 6% commission on the property sale. Officials said they dipped below that threshold because it has been difficult to get a first occupant in the park.
Council member Alan Seymour acknowledged that it is important to have the first building in the Innovation Park underway. He called it the start of “the domino effect.”
Development officials said that once the building is underway, they expect they will be able to attract additional tenants.
“We are talking to multiple potential users for this building, which is exciting,” Phillips said. “We have a lot more than we had a year ago, which is good that we are having conversations with.”
Council member Henk Berbee asked why officials feel this sale will move forward when another sale last year fell through. Mike Spencer of Lee and Associated said he feels “more comfortable” and “more confident” with BlueScope rather than with Elford Construction, the previous potential developer. He explained that Elford, wanted to build bigger spaces and wanted tenants in line before they built.
Spencer said the prospective occupants he is seeing do not want to build and own a structure, but rather want to lease a smaller, more flexible option.
“We feel this layout better captures the potential tenants we have seen in the last year, year and a half,” Spencer said. “This provides a lot more flexibility.”
He stressed the prior developer, “could not address the 10,000 square foot guy.”
“We are seeing 10 to 20,000 square foot guys,” Spencer said. We are seeing a lot more of those guys. Those are the guys you want too, because they still have a lot of jobs and they do a higher office finish typically.”
He said smaller businesses have the potential to move into another local facility or to expand in the Innovation Park.
Phillips said the community has lost multiple potential tenants because the city did not have a small, flexible space to offer.
“We had no place to put them,” Phillips said.
During the public comment portion of the legislation hearing, Scott Verbus, of Gallop Lane and owner of Linear IT Solutions, told council he is excited about the buildings. He said he has been looking for something like what BlueScope will offer.
“I have wanted a building for six months now and can’t find one,” Verbus said.
Spencer said Verbus represents “a story we have heard quite a bit lately.”
Phillips said BlueScope’s site plan is “a better layout” than Elford’s. Spencer said Elford’s proposal called for the buildings to be perpendicular to U.S. 33.
“It wasn’t as good a visual,” Spencer said.
He explained that with the buildings parallel to U.S. 33 and Innovation Way, the docks can be hidden better.
“You’ve got a nice visual from Innovation Way coming into the park and you’ve got a really nice visual on 33 looking at what would be the fronts of the buildings versus the dock sides,” Spencer said. “So, we are excited about that layout.”
Phillips said the city engineer has reviewed the site plan and it looks, “pretty in keeping with code.”
Rausch said the design review process is “more stringent” for projects in the Innovation Park than in other areas of the city.
Council member Scott Brock said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the project.
“I think that this shows that with these economic development projects, we need to exercise patience,” Brock said. “In the grand scheme of things, we are not that far into this. That we are at this step already, I think, is a great thing.”



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