NEW ALBANY — The business boom on Beech Road at the western edge of Licking County just keeps on going, with two more companies joining the development party.
Exhibitpro, which sells custom and modular trade show exhibits, will on Dec. 1 move its headquarters and about 25 employees from the Polaris shopping area in northern Columbus to Licking County.
The company recently started construction on a 54,000-square-foot building to house an office, warehouse and showroom in the Personal Care and Beauty Campus of the New Albany Business Park.
Magnanni, an international company from Spain that sells shoes to high-end retailers, will break ground next month on a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in the beauty campus. It will have 12 employees.
“We couldn’t be happier with the success we’re having in the beauty park, with companies from outside of the state of Ohio and international companies all in the park,” said Bill Ebbing, president of the New Albany Co.
Beech Road, a narrow, rural road before work began to widen and relocate Ohio 161, will soon have 11 companies employing 1,500 people and using 1.2 million square feet of space.
Better than Polaris
Greg Lindsey, the Exhibitpro director of operations and business development, said the business campus in Licking County will be an improvement on the Polaris location.
“From our perspective, we had an opportunity to look at multiple (sites),” Lindsey said. “It took awhile to find the right fit and right space.
“When you look at the New Albany Business Park, it’s built in a way everything is parallel to 161, expansion east to west and not north to south, easy access to 161. You can’t say that about Polaris.”
Lindsey, a 1984 Northridge High School graduate who lives in New Albany, likes the teamwork atmosphere of the companies in the beauty campus.
“It allowed us to get involved in an area with high synergy about it, that fraternal feel,” Lindsey said. “I’ve lived in New Albany almost 10 years and people in New Albany like to do business with people in New Albany.”
The 21-year-old exhibit production company will no longer battle the Polaris congestion, said Exhibitpro President Ed Miller.
“We offer exhibit management, so we store the property and travel with clients and set them up across the country,” Miller said. “We ship a lot around the country on a daily basis, so having good access was a part of the plan.”
The building will be at 8900 Smith’s Mill Road North, across the street from Axium and the first building outside the campus’ one-mile loop.
‘Right investment, safest investment’
Paul Roehrenbeck, chief financial officer of Magnanni Inc., said the business park is the best place to relocate the company’s U.S. headquarters.
It has outgrown its current home, also in New Albany.
“New Albany is doing things very well,” Roehrenbeck said. “It’s a planned community. We looked at options of buying existing buildings, but with the place here, we felt it was the right investment, the safest investment.”
Roehrenbeck, who has lived in Johnstown since 2001, said the company has an option for future expansion which could double the size of the building. The facility will open in March or April.
“It’s important to focus on growth and development they have going on here,” Roehrenbeck said. “Obviously, we do have quite a bit coming in and going out. It is convenient, an area easy to get on and off.”
The third-generation family-owned company produces its shoes in Spain and sells wholesale to stores such as Nordstrom.
The shoes retail for $300 to $500, and its customers live in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas, he said.
New Albany Co. plans
Ebbing said the business park has made a commitment to planned growth, which means adding companies without creating congestion.
“The whole business park is served by three interchanges,” Ebbing said. “There’s many ways to get in and out.
“What’s great about New Albany and our master plan is we’ve taken all that into account, building infrastructure to minimize those (traffic problems).”
Ebbing spoke Thursday at the New Albany Chamber of Commerce community update breakfast at Winding Hollow golf course.
He declined to comment on the possibility of the Outlet Shoppes at Columbus coming to the Ohio 161-Beech Road area, as shown on the Horizon Group Properties website.
Ebbing did say a restaurant would be nice in the area to serve employees of the business park.
“We’re constantly looking at many kinds of uses that help support the office development, the light manufacturing and production taking place at the Beech Road interchange.
“One of the things the city has done has been forward thinking with their infrastructure. Roads, utilities done to accommodate all future growth.”
The entire New Albany Business Park consists of four business clusters, or innovation campuses. They are: information and technology; corporate office; health care; and personal care and beauty.
Each campus was developed for businesses with complementary capabilities, common supply chain contractors or similar energy and security concerns, according to the real estate development company founded in 1991 by Les Wexner and Jack Kessler.
Just west of the beauty campus, in Franklin County, construction continues on the Bob Evans company headquarters, which Ebbing said will open next month with 500 employees new to the community.
“We tend to take things for granted,” Ebbing said. “It’s easy to become complacent. We need to challenge ourselves to become even better. What impresses me most about our community is how our community understands this.”
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