Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing will invest $17.5 million to expand the facilities at the company’s North American corporate headquarters in Columbus.

Expansion will be made to its existing facility at 5555 Inwood Drive, which has more than 1 million square feet under roof.

With construction starting next week, Toyota will add more than 150,000 square feet, bringing the facility’s space to 1.3 million square feet, the company said.

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In doing so, the company will shift around some of the activities on its 126-acre Columbus campus.

The warehouse operations of Toyota Tsusho, a Toyota family company which houses TIEM parts, will be moved under roof of the enlarged primary facility, which is about 600 yards away, said Tony Miller, senior vice president at Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing.

TIEM’s growing aftermarket parts business, now in the main plant, will be moved to the vacated space in the Toyota Tsusha warehouse, Miller said.

The changes will improve internal and external logistics, and provide expanded space for the company’s aftermarket parts business, Toyota said.

A second, smaller Toyota Tsusho building on the Columbus Toyota campus, is unaffected by the changes, Miller said.

The building expansion — by Takenaka, the Indiana-based contractor of the original TIEM facility in Columbus — will be done in three phases, with the final phase completed in July 2018, Miller said.

“This is an important step to position Toyota Industrial Equipment for the future,” Miller said. “This expansion will enable us to improve our operations, drive out waste and reduce total lead time,” Miller said.

Benefits for city

Toyota’s latest investment will add to the Columbus tax base, which will result in more tax revenues for the city.“It further cements their position in our community,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop, who had been briefed by Toyota on its plans a couple of months ago. “I took it to be pretty heartening for Columbus.”

Parent company Toyota Industries Corp. employs about 1,400 workers on its Columbus campus, located south of Deaver Road in the Woodside Industrial Park.

Toyota is the city’s sixth-largest employer, and fourth biggest among manufacturers — with Cummins Inc. the overall leader with about 7,500 Columbus-based workers.

Since TIEM’s expansion will not add jobs in Columbus, the company decided not to pursue a tax abatement, an economic tool used by companies to phase in increased property taxes, said Jason Hester, president of the Columbus Economic Development Corp.

“They don’t ask for incentives on every turn,” Hester said.

Hester and Lienhoop visited the Toyota Industries headquarters in Kariya City, Japan, on its annual economic development trade mission last September and plan to pay another visit this fall.

The city uses those visits to communicate appreciation for a company’s ongoing support in the community, and to learn what Columbus can do to help their business, Hester said.

Often, the discussions are on high-level topics, such as workforce availability or pending state or federal legislation, he said.

“When we go to Japan, we make it a point to talk to their senior management. And we want them to understand we take the partnership notion seriously,” Lienhoop said. “And so we’re glad to have one more expansion.”

Columbus is home to 26 firms that are headquartered in Japan. The most recent Japanese-based company to locate in Columbus was Daiei Giken Kogyo Co. Ltd., a forklift component manufacturer and TIEM supplier, which opened in late 2015.

“One of the things I’ve noticed about the Japanese-owned companies is that they’ve been incredibly successful here,” Lienhoop said. “They’re very happy in Columbus.”

That supports the wisdom of the city’s Asian business-recruitment efforts that have occurred since the 1980s, he said.

During a Jan. 26 Japan-America Society of Indiana event in Indianapolis, Lienhoop said he listened to a presentation by a Detroit economist who forecast that the demand for cars and light trucks would continue to remain stable for the next seven years.

With automotive manufacturing a primary driver of the Columbus economy, Lienhoop called that forecast a good sign for Columbus.

It means that property tax and local income tax receipts should be stable for the forseeable future, Lienhoop said.

“The economic climate in Columbus is robust. We’re trying to make sure we retain that,” he said.

Toyota expansion

Toyota, the top-selling lift-truck brand in North America since 2002, completed a $16 million dollar expansion at its primary Columbus facility in 2015, which added more than 50,000 square feet.That same year, Toyota celebrated its 25th anniversary of operating in Indiana. Toyota located its first North American forklift manufacturing facility in Columbus in 1990.

This week’s announcement continues the company’s recent, steady expansion in Columbus:

In January, the company opened the T+Rex Recreational Complex, a fitness center with a health care component built specifically to provide state-of-the-art exercise and recreational opportunities on the Toyota campus for associates and their families.

In November 2016, Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU), the material handling sister company to Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, said it would add 71 jobs by 2019, reflecting a 5 percent increase in its Columbus employee base.

Toyota footprint in Columbus

Toyota Industries Corp. has five subsidiaries with operations in Columbus, where about 1,400 workers are employed.

Its campus has grown from 250,000 square feet when it opened in 1990 to more than a million square feet with its 2015 building expansion.

The Toyota footprint in Columbus includes:

TIEM — Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, the manufacturing arm of the material-handling business, which builds three- and four-wheel forklifts and other equipment. This division is the largest of the Toyota companies in Columbus with about 1,100 employees.

TMHU — Toyota Material Handling USA, Inc., U.S. headquarters plus sales, marketing and distribution arm of the material-handling business for North America, employing about 182 workers. An expansion there announced in November would add 71 jobs by 2019.

TMHNA — Toyota Material Handling North America, the corporate headquarters for Material Handling in North America, with about seven employees.

TINA — Toyota Industries North America, Inc. an American holding company providing shared professional services to all North American entities of Toyota Industries Corp., including information technology, accounting/finance, tax, internal audit, legal and human resources. It has about 30 workers.

TIPA — Toyota Industries Personnel Service of America, a personnel placement service, which includes six executives.

Pull Quote

“The economic climate in Columbus is robust. We’re trying to make sure we retain that.”

— Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop