Purchase of industrial shell building shows benefits

A new approach toward industrial investment in Bartholomew County has produced a positive result that is worth repeating.

Force Holdings LLC purchased 10.8 acres of property at 6880 S. International Drive, in the Walesboro Northwest Industrial Park, in 2014 to construct an industrial shell building.

Traditionally, county economic development officials have wanted two things readily available to show prospective companies, or local companies that need to expand:

Shovel-ready sites — properties with ground prepared, paved roads and utility hookups already complete so construction can begin easily

Existing buildings that already meet the needs of companies

Columbus has a limited number of available industrial buildings to show prospective companies, so a shell industrial building provided a good alternative.

Force Holdings constructed the shell of a 50,000-square-foot building that would allow a buyer to tailor the interior for more specific needs.

Columbus-based Cummins Inc. purchased the shell building from Force Holdings in December for $2.6 million to meet its expanding needs. Although Cummins has not yet announced its plans for the site, the purchase was a positive sign.

The Greater Columbus Development Corp. said that the shell building allowed it to attract more possible investors. That’s helpful considering Columbus is competing with other communities in Indiana and beyond to attract investment. Any extra edge can result in new investment that adds jobs or boosts the county’s property tax rolls.

We view the successful construction and sale of the industrial shell building as a clear demonstration of the benefits, and a good opportunity that more developers should consider.

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