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An ongoing search by Cummins Inc. to secure a larger office complex in Indianapolis would allow the Columbus-based engine maker to consolidate two downtown offices into one, a company spokesman said this week.
That business strategy does not change the company’s commitment to keep its global headquarters in Columbus, said Jon Mills, director of external communications for Cummins.
Cummins hopes to lease, buy or build a larger office in Indianapolis to accommodate more employees and create a more collaborative workspace in the state’s largest city. That’s a similar approach to what Cummins has pursued in cities such as its home base of Columbus.
“We’re still evaluating our options,” Mills said.
About 4 million square feet of office and manufacturing space.
Most of company’s 8,000-plus employees in southern Indiana work in Columbus.
30,000 square feet in two downtown office complexes
He would not discuss specific properties the company is considering.
The company has about 100 employees who work in 30,000 square feet in two downtown Indianapolis office complexes, Capital Center North and OneAmerica Tower, both on Illinois Street in downtown Indianapolis.
“Our goal is to consolidate the two … to create more efficiencies and more collaboration,” Mills said.
The Indianapolis-based Cummins employees work in corporate roles such as communications, information technology and investor relations.
While leading executives, including Chief Executive Officer Tom Linebarger, keep an office in Indianapolis, they also have offices in Columbus, and Mills said that most of the Indiana-based members of the company’s leadership team spend most of their time in Columbus.
“We continue to be committed to Columbus, Indiana, as our headquarters,” Mills said.
For comparative purposes, Cummins occupies about 700,000 square feet of office space in downtown Columbus.
The company owns the Irwin Office Building, which formerly housed Irwin Union Bank, and leases the two offices adjacent to The Commons, as well as the corporate headquarters building at 500 Jackson St., which covers about 200,000 square feet.
Compared with its Indianapolis operations, Cummins employs more than 8,000 workers in southern Indiana, with most of them based in Columbus.
Cummins last extended the lease of its Columbus corporate office building in 2006, until 2019, paying $4.2 million for the first three years.
In total, Mills said, the company occupies about 4 million square feet of office and manufacturing space in Columbus.
Mills previously has said that it is too early to speculate about whether any employees from Columbus would be moved to Indianapolis once the company finds a new office location there.
Although lack of available housing for Cummins workers and others remains an issue in Columbus that Mills said needs to be addressed, he said the company’s search for more office space in Indianapolis is driven primarily by its interest in consolidation.
Last month, the local unemployment rate fell to nearly a five-year low, while both the number of local jobs and the local labor force reached record highs.
For at least two summers, the lack of rental apartments in Bartholomew County prompted Cummins to send internal emails and use internhousing.com to find employees with extra bedrooms and a willingness to become landlords for a few weeks.
Mayor Kristen Brown said that since the end of 2010, nearly 800 rental apartments have been added in the city of Columbus, including 150 in The Cole in downtown. That’s an increase of nearly 17 percent.
Brown also said that the number of permits filed for single-family homes has recovered and is about double the recession low.
The home construction market has lagged a little bit, in part because the financial crisis had made funding of new construction difficult, Brown said.
A city study of the supply and demand of the local housing market, which is expected to be released next month, will provide city officials and developers with further information to make sure that local needs are addressed, Brown said.
Meanwhile, Cummins said last week that its global growth would continue: Executives said they expect sales to reach at least $25 billion by 2018. Last year, the company produced sales of $17.3 billion.
As Cummins continues to grow, Mills said, employment will increase across the globe, including in Columbus and Indianapolis.
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