Future commercial development along State Road 58 and industrial growth near the Woodside Industrial Park will be two key areas moving forward tied to a plan to market the area for those uses, officials say.
Indusites Inc., a group of seven local companies that pooled resources to develop industrial land in Columbus, has received approval from the Columbus Plan Commission to rezone nearly 33 acres of vacant land at the northeast corner of County Road 450 South/State Route 58 and County Road 300 West owned by Frank and Karen Fiesbeck. Parcels are located on both sides of International Drive.
Indusites requested to change the zoning designation for the property from industrial-light, or I-1, to industrial-heavy and commercial regional, or CR. The commission voted to recommend the rezoning to Columbus City Council, which has final approval in the matter and will consider the request on first reading Dec. 6.
That location had a similar rezoning request from BBG Realty in April of this year, but the request was withdrawn June 8, according to city documents.
About 15 of the 33 acres would be zoned commercial, while the remaining is proposed as industrial, said Mark Pratt, a partner with Indusites Inc. and president of Breeden Inc.
With nearly 8,000 jobs in the vicinity of the location, Pratt said it’s time to bring the property to the market.
Large manufacturers located in the area include Cummins, Rightway Fasteners Inc. and Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing.
With the number of sales representatives and corporate officials conducting business at companies located in the Walesboro industrial area, additional hotel lodging would be attractive for the area, Pratt said. He also said more commercial services such as restaurants are needed as well.
While there are services and eateries on State Route 46 and Interstate 65, no restaurants are located in the area slated to be rezoned for commercial purposes. However, he expects that to change moving forward.
“We think the restaurant developers, hotel developers and developers of other services will see opportunity to locate in the area,” Pratt said. “The area has shown it would support those services.”
On the industrial side, Pratt said the Columbus market is short of shovel-ready sites, in addition to land not zoned for heavy manufacturing purposes, and believes the rezoning will help spur additional opportunities.
“Where the market is today, there seems to be demand,” he said. “I’m expecting that will get a lot of attention.”
He said officials are seeing more companies seeking to expand — not only locally, but companies in other markets as well. Firms outside the United States seeking to expand internationally have also looked at the Columbus area, Pratt said.
“Like any business, we have to have inventory that appeals to them,” Pratt said.
Breeden has already started pre-marketing efforts in the region by consulting with brokers and site consultants and remained confident that interest would grow, especially since the national economy has improved, he said.
“We feel like we have a sense of the market and we’re very optimistic,” Pratt said. “What we’ve seen in the region is a stronger commercial and industrial market since 2012.”
The Columbus City Council will consider on first reading during its Dec. 6 meeting a proposal to rezone about 33 acres at County Road 450 South/State Road 58 and County Road 300 West. A second reading would be considered either Dec. 20 or Jan. 3.