When the former Sears property became available after the retail store closed its downtown Columbus operation, many ideas were offered about its best future use. Some people championed transforming the space into a performing arts center. There was talk of a conference center. Other ideas were suggested as well.
But the ultimate use for this key location downtown will be fundamentally good for Columbus.
Columbus-based diesel engine maker Cummins Inc., which initially leased the space, later agreed to buy the former Sears building.
Cummins was out of office space for its 3,000 downtown employees when it signed a five-year lease with the Columbus Capital Foundation. The company’s decision to buy the property despite four years remaining on the lease is a home run for the company and the city.
Cummins benefits because owning the 62,800-square-foot building gives the company plenty of room to reshape the space to fit its needs. The 250 parking spots included in the deal helps as the company enlarges its downtown footprint.
Columbus benefits in a several ways. Proceeds from the sale go to the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County and will be placed in organization’s capital fund. The purpose of the fund is to help improve downtown Columbus.
Cummins becomes a stable landlord for YES Cinema and the Indiana University Center for Art + Design, which rent space in the property along Jackson Street.
Most importantly, the long-term investment by Cummins is a vote of confidence by the community’s largest employer — a continued commitment to the city and an additional boost to the downtown base.