NiSource Inc.’s planned spinoff of its pipeline subsidiary has spelled a new lease in New Albany.

Columbia Pipeline Group signed a 10-year lease with developer Daimler Group Inc. and its partners to move into Water’s Edge III, a 43,000-square-foot, speculative office building in the New Albany International Business Park.

Mike Banas, a spokesman for NiSource (NYSE:NI), told me 90 employees will relocate from downtown Columbus this year when the Houston-based pipeline division is spun off into a separate public company, with plans to hire 60 more workers.

“We have to staff up,” he said Tuesday.

The New Albany offices will house the company’s corporate services group, which includes such activities as information technology, finance and supply chain – “services that go across the enterprise,” Banas said.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee said the city expects Columbia Pipeline’s annual payroll to total $15 million.

“NiSource is not getting any additional incentives over and above the incentives originally provided to the developer,” he said, referring to a 15-year, 100 percent property tax abatement for Daimler.

NiSource has had a big influence on the regional office market in the last several months. Its Columbus Gas distribution division moved to the Arena District in November after more than 30 years at 200 Civic Center Drive in downtown Columbus, although it still has 35,000 square feet on two full floors there in a short-term deal. The workers moving to New Albany will be from both locations, and the company said it still will have 800 employees in Columbus after the shift.

NiSource’s new master limited partnership, Columbia Pipeline Partners LP (NYSE:CPPL), raised $1.1 billion through an initial public offering in February and will become part of Columbia Pipeline Group after the spinoff from NiSource.

Daimler real estate agent Greg Weber represented the landlord. Continental Realty Ltd. agent Wayne Harer joined the Cushman & Wakefield office in Chicago in representing the energy company.

Daimler hasn’t indicated what it will build next in New Albany where it typically launches a new project soon after leasing out an office property.

“Not sure on the next plan of attack in New Albany,” Weber wrote in an email. “We are exploring several options.”

By Brian R. Ball
Columbus Business First

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