City officials eye legislation to bring occupants to Innovation Park

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Above is a rendering of the proposed spec buildings, to be built by BlueScope. The development group is in the process of buying 15.28 acres of Marysville’s Innovation Park.
(Photo submitted)

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City officials are once again eyeing legislation that could bring the first occupants to Marysville’s Innovation Park.
At its Monday meeting, city council is expected to hear the first reading of legislation to sell 15.28 acres of Innovation Park to BlueScope Properties Group LLC., for $60,000 per acre, about $916,800 depending on the size based on the survey.
BlueScope is planning to build a pair of buildings, each about 84,000 square feet. The buildings will be dividable into 6,000 square foot segments. Each section will have a door and a dock. According to the legislation, the buildings will serve as “Class A industrial manufacturing, technology, and/or general office, and distribution space.”
The property is currently zoned M-2, which generally facilitates manufacturing but permits research.
Mike Spencer, with Lee and Associates, said it has been difficult to market the Innovation Park to companies. He said many companies want to have a presence in the area, but do not want to build or own a building. They would rather rent a space. He said it has been hard to capture those companies because there isn’t a building to put them into. Accordingly, he said it has been difficult to attract a developer to build a spec facility because there has not been an identified tenant.
“It has been a chicken and eggs thing,” Spencer said.
He said the BlueScope’s building could solve the problem, attracting tenants for the building and new projects for the Innovation Park.
“We believe this type of building and this type of layout will be sufficient to attract the type of people we are seeing,” Spencer said.
Dublin Building Systems will serve as the general contractor for the project.
As part of the agreement, BlueScope will be required to have all necessary building permits and approvals secured before the closing date, which could be as late as 180 days from the date the sale becomes final.
If BlueScope does not begin building within six months of closing, Marysville will have the option of repurchasing the land at 75% of the original purchase price.
That should not be a problem, Spencer said.
“I believe their intent is to break ground yet this year,” Spencer said, adding that BlueScope wants to have the building finished by summer of 2020.
Officials believe there is already at least one identified tenant. The Automotive Motor Innovation Center (AMIC) is planned for one of the buildings. The AMIC is expected to house an entrepreneurial center and business incubator, office and co-working space for emerging companies as well as state agencies involved in automotive and smart mobility, a testing lab, a data center, space for K-12 and higher education institution and a display area to promote and educate citizens on smart mobility. An additional potential component of the AMIC includes space dedicated for Traffic Management System Operations for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
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.
Spencer said there are multiple other tenants showing interest in the soon-to-be-built buildings.
Also at Monday’s meeting, city council is expected to hear final reading of legislation creating a community reinvestment area (CRA). The CRA declares Innovation Park and about 3,000 more acres in the city as blighted and development as difficult. The proposed CRA would allow the city to abate 100% of the increased property tax for up to 15 years, though city officials have said the current Economic Development Incentive Policy (EDIP) strongly encourages incentives to be capped at 75% for 10 years.
Spencer said an agreement has not been finalized, but confirmed BlueScope is seeking a 75% property tax abatement for 10 years.
Emery confirmed that Lee and Associates has been paid for their work and will receive a portion of the sale price for the land.
In 2016, the city paid almost $5 million for the 203 acres of Innovation Park. At the time, officials said companies had already expressed interest in the site.
Last year, the city announced Elford Construction of Columbus would purchase about 11 acres of land for $706,500. Elford had also intended to build two spec buildings but pulled out of the deal due to a lack of tenants.
In August 2018 the city completed a road inside the Innovation Park that allowed developers to access additional lots.
While some city officials have expressed frustration about the rate of progress for Innovation Park development, Emery said he does not feel it has taken that long.
Spencer agreed, noting that development takes time.
He added that his company has needed to educate potential developers and tenants about Marysville.
“It has been a tall task and it takes time,” Spencer said.
He said several projects have been rejected because they did not fit the goals for the Innovation Park.
“When there is a project, we want to make sure it is the right project that Marysville can be proud of,” Spencer said.



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