A national staffing company is gearing up for a planned expansion at its Columbus headquarters that could add 90 new jobs, which would almost double its 110-employee headquarters workforce.
Elwood Staffing is seeking approval from the city to proceed with plans for a 27,298-square-foot, two-story office building with room for 120 employees.
It would be built on property leased from the Columbus AirPark immediately behind its current corporate headquarters at 4111 Central Ave.
Construction is expected to begin this summer on the project, pending approval Tuesday from the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals, CEO Mark Elwood said.
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The building is expected to open in the second quarter of 2018, said Elwood, who declined to reveal the project’s cost.
“If our history is any indication of our future, we hope that this building lasts a long time,” he said.
Elwood said the family run company, one of the nation’s 20 largest staffing agencies, needs office space in its Columbus base of operations.“We have a track record of growing and we literally have run out of room to add new people,” Elwood said.
The current headquarters, where 80 employees work, has 18,500 square feet on a single floor.
A corporate annex just across Central Avenue at 4105 Vickers Drive, where 30 people work, consists of 5,344 square feet.
The 30 employees at the corporate annex — representing the legal, accounting, human resources and marketing departments — would move into the new building when it opens next year.
Elwood said he is unsure what the company will do with the annex, purchased in 2014 and formerly used as the Ivy Tech Community College administration building.
The headquarters expansion, which has been in the works for the past year, is being designed by Columbus-based Louis Joyner Architect. It will be developed as an open-concept structure and will feature conference rooms, outdoor terrace spaces, an internet cafe and outdoor water fountain, Elwood said.
Elwood said the construction of the new facility will add 171 parking spaces to an existing 76 spaces.
The company also uses its corporate headquarters for training and strategic meetings, bringing employees from other locations throughout the year, he said.
The physical expansion will provide flexibility for Elwood Staffing to increase the number of headquarters employees in the future, Elwood said.
Pace of growth
Elwood Staffing began providing staffing services in 1994 and soon was recognized among the 100 fastest-growing businesses in the state by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.Ranked as one of Inc. 5000’s Fastest-Growing Companies, Elwood Staffing has grown in the past two decades from $1 million in annual revenue in 1996 to $852 million last year.
Growth has been a focus for Elwood Staffing, which has more than 200 locations across the United States after acquiring other staffing firms.
Among acquisitions completed last year were Berks & Beyond Employment Services Inc., based in Pennsylvania, and White Staffing Management, which serves western Kentucky and Tennessee.
The company this year acquired Swanson Staffing, a firm that has Indiana offices in Fort Wayne, LaPorte and Elkhart, and Sarasota, Florida.
The expansion being designed by architect Louis Joyner will bring a 27,298-square-foot two-story building to the east of Elwood Staffing’s corporate headquarters. It will add 171 parking spaces and will feature an outdoor terrace space, conference rooms and an Internet cafe.
Elwood Staffing was founded in 1980 as a consulting firm by David L. Elwood, who now serves as chairman emeritus. His three sons are involved in running the company: Mark S. Elwood, chief executive officer; John A. Elwood, president; and Michael D. Elwood, president of Elwood Professional.
The company, which has 250 service locations, employs more than 25,000 associates in 40 states.
Elwood Staffing’s expansion plan is scheduled to come up before the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals during two public hearings on Tuesday.
The first is for a conditional use, as the proposal for office space is outside the Columbus AirPark’s designated use for Educational/Life Sciences purposes, city-county planner Jeff Bergman said.
The second public hearing is for development standard variances, which includes operating on new lot that is 473 feet x 404 feet, which is larger than the 325-foot AirPark maximum, Bergman said.
Because Elwood’s proposed adjacent space is larger than its current headquarters, everything on the original property must come into compliance with current standards — including the parking-lot setback, which is four and one-half feet less than the 10-foot requirement, Bergman said. That’s also a variance the company is seeking.
The planning department’s staff recommendation is for approval of the conditional use and variances, Bergman said.
If the BZA agrees, no additional approval from the city will be required, he said.