A New Albany industrial park geared for small manufacturers has become attractive to companies unwilling to build standalone production plants.
Columbus developer Pizzuti Cos. has less than 30 percent of its 304,000-square-foot manufacturing building available just months after the first companies began occupying the space in the New Albany Business Park’s Personal Care and Beauty Innovation Campus. Contract manufacturer Alene Candles LLC is moving into 100,000 square feet of the building, and Jeyes Group Ltd., a British producer of home fragrances, will take 56,900 square feet of the building that was erected without tenants signed to fill it.

Specialty packaging producer Arminak & Associates in June received a state tax credit in return for its pledge to take 56,900 square feet at the Pizzuti complex. The company intends to make product dispenser pumps for Limited Brands Inc. and others.

Pizzuti Executive Vice President Jim Miller hopes to lease the remaining 87,000 square feet to a single company.

“We’ve leased up quickly given that we just made the (building) shell available in May,” he said. “Manufacturing is up in the U.S.”

The building marked Pizzuti’s second project at the campus. It earlier developed a 500,000-square-foot plant that was built for contract packager Accel Inc.

Miller said the developer has changed how it designs buildings to include larger parking lots to accommodate bigger staffs instead of tractor trailers. It also has revised building dimensions so they are more suitable for production.

“We refined our (distribution center) concept … to accommodate manufacturing and light manufacturing,” he said.

Matching the clients

New Albany Business Park has attracted companies with supply ties to retail chains under the Limited Brands umbrella, such as Bath & Body Works . Vee Pak Inc., an Illinois-based maker of product labels and packaging, opened a 105,000-square-foot plant this year. Meanwhile, Anomatic Corp., a maker of metal-coated packaging, opened a 83,000-square-foot production and design operation in June.

But Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany director of community development, said not all manufacturers in the industry that have contacted the city have the financial capacity or desire to have their own facility. She said some require less than the 100,000 to 500,000 square feet that many other vendors and suppliers have built.

She said a site-selection representative – later revealed as Arminak’s agent – had contacted the city at the time Jeyes and Alene were considering their options.

“It seemed like it would be a good fit to match up a speculative (multitenant) facility with those companies,” Chrysler said, “With Pizzuti’s vision and (park developer) New Albany Co.’s vision, we’ve been able to meet the needs of some companies who we might otherwise not have been able to accommodate.

“We continue to field calls – perhaps one every week – from somebody who is interested,” she said. “It seems, right now, the marketing activity suggests there’s a need for another facility.”

Miller said the stream of leasing has prompted interest from prospective corporate tenants and developers.
“This building is representative of the energy that’s been created up there,” he said. “We get a lot of questions about the park from outside of Columbus.”

Miller said the developer could decide this year whether to build a second multitenant complex.

“We’re assessing the velocity of the market right now,” he said. “We’re enthusiastic for manufacturing, in the right market.”

Brian R. Ball covers real estate, allied construction industries, development and the hospitality and hotel sectors for Business First.