Ground broken at Innovation Park


Union County Economic Development Director Eric Phillips speaks as part of Wednesday’s ground breaking in the 33 Innovation Park. Officials turned dirt for the park’s first building, an 84,000-square-feet, multi-tenant, Class A industrial and research space at 1100 Innovation Way. (Journal-Tribune photo by Mac Cordell)

Marysville’s Innovation Park is getting its first building.
Officials broke ground Wednesday on an 84,000-square-feet building to be used for Class A industrial and R&D projects. The building, located at 1100 Innovation Way, will be the first in the city’s 206-acre 33 Innovation Park. Site readiness work for the $8.9 million project has already commenced and officials believe the building will be complete by the end of 2021.
“I’m tired of driving on 33 and seeing empty ground here,” Kenny McDonald with One Columbus, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus region, said at Wednesday’s groundbreaking.
The developer, Newark-based Southgate Corporation, will divide the buildings into sections of about 18,000 square feet and lease the space to companies that want space in the Innovation Park, but do not want to build their own facility.
Union County Economic Development Director Eric Phillips said there is less than 2% industrial space vacancy in the community. He said a spec building makes a lot of sense in that environment.
“You can’t win without product,” McDonald added.
Terry Emery, Marysville City Manager said the growth in major manufacturers, research companies and other key industries in the community has created, “an urgent need for real estate that can quickly accommodate high-value projects with high-impact investment and jobs to our region.”
The property is currently zoned M-2, which generally facilitates manufacturing but permits research.
While the building doesn’t have a tenant yet, developers believe it is only a matter of time. In fact, the project was able to receive a $1.85 million grant from the Ohio Site Inventory Program (OSIP). OSIP offers grants and low-interest loans to support speculative site and building development projects with no identified end user.
Rob O’Neill, president and owner of Southgate Corporation said the company is, “very pleased to have this opportunity in the Marysville community.”
But he explained that without the OSIP grant, the project likely would not be happening because, “the economics of it didn’t make sense.”
Phillips said the building will represent a $5-million investment and a minimum of 75 jobs.
Officials said that while there are several identified potential users, Phillips has said a proposed Automotive Motor Innovation Center (AMIC) could locate in the building. 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.
Another potential occupant would be a Union County Council of Governments data center.
The project will also include an adjacent pad-ready site that can accommodate a building of up to 112,000 square feet. Officials believe that eventually Southgate will construct a second building, very similar to the first building.
The city will provide a 75% property tax abatement for 10 years on project.
In 2016, the City of Marysville acquired a 206-acre property and invested over $7 million to develop 33 Innovation Park.
“A huge amount of credit needs to go to those council members who took that step,” Emery said.
In August 2018 the city completed a road inside the Innovation Park that allowed developers to access additional lots.
In 2018 the city announced Elford Construction of Columbus would purchase about 11 acres of land. Elford had also intended to build two spec buildings but, pulled out of the deal due to a lack of tenants.
In 2019 city officials approved a similar project on the same site, with BlueScope Properties Group LLC. Ultimately, however, BlueScope pulled out of the deal.

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