Cummins buys building in Woodside industrial park

Columbus economic and government leaders consider the sale of an industrial shell building as a positive sign for economic investment and are hopeful that similar projects transpire in the future.

Cummins Inc. purchased property at 6880 S. International Drive, located in Woodside Northwest Industrial Park, from Force Holdings LLC on Dec. 27 for $2.6 million.

Force previously purchased the 10.8-acre property, located between South International Drive and County Road 300W, on July 1, 2014, to construct a building ready for occupancy by a company. The idea was to have the basic structure ready that a company could then tailor to its needs.

The property was assessed at $14,000 that month. After the 50,000-square-foot building was constructed, the assessment increased to about $1.5 million.

“What it allowed was for the city to bring people to the community to take a look, not just at the building but at the community. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get someone on a plane to come here,” Mayor Jim Lienhoop said.

“If you don’t have a building presence of 50,000 square feet – a shell building of that size is a good draw. There’s nothing quite as good as having the building already there for someone to look at. We’re hopeful that somebody else might build one,” Lienhoop said.

Construction of the shell building was helpful because Columbus has a limited number of available industrial buildings for prospective companies, said Jason Hester, president of the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp.

“It meant we were able to bring more prospects to town,” he said.

Ready-to-occupy shell buildings also are beneficial because they help the needs of existing local companies that are looking to expand, Hester said.

The shell building constructed by Force met local officials’ expectations and hopes, and the city has more land available that could be used for additional shell buildings, Hester said.

“We plan to speak with local builders about the opportunity for the next shell buildings,” Hester said.

A Cummins spokesman this week said the company was not ready to announce its plans for the building.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.