Upper Arlington News

Thomas and Marker expansion

City eyes space as part of commercial district

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Two years after opening a Riverside Drive office at the edge of Upper Arlington, Thomas and Marker Construction has added to its workforce and concluded an expansion of more than 3,000 square feet.

Thomas and Marker completed a 10-month renovation of its offices at 2011 Riverside Drive on June 1 and added five employees.

The company now seeks to further expand its payroll, while also offering a total of 6,300 square feet of professional office space to prospective tenants in a corridor Upper Arlington officials hope to market as a promising commercial district.

"Our intent by opening a Columbus-area office was to grow the company," said Rich Pontius, an Upper Arlington resident and Thomas and Marker's business development manager and staff architect. "Clearly, we've grown and we plan to continue to grow.

"That is representative of how busy we are and the amount of available construction work in central Ohio. It's a good sign for the economy."

Thomas and Marker is now up to 21 employees in its Upper Arlington office; it also maintains offices in Bellefontaine.

Pontius said he expects the firm will hire three or four more people in the near future, which would put the firm's share of the Riverside Drive office at full capacity.

The overall expansion project included a 3,134-square-foot addition that allowed the firm to move from the third floor of the facility to its first and second floors. It also provided for creation of in-house conference space and entryway lobby.

"Now we have five or six places we can have meetings within our office," he said.

Additionally, the project yielded a renovated, 4,300-square-foot space on the building's third floor, referred to as "The Penthouse," and a 2,000-square-foot basement office.

Thomas and Marker currently is marketing those two spaces.

"We are hoping for companies that provide some level of professional services, i.e., an architect, engineer, attorney or perhaps some business that might complement our business," Pontius said.

In September 2012, Upper Arlington City Council provided Thomas and Marker with a $275,000 grant to help it increase personnel and finance the expansion project.

At that time, Upper Arlington Community and Economic Development Manager Bob Lamb said the company would receive five annual payments of $55,000 as long as it generates $65,000 in payroll and property taxes.

If those performance measures are met, the city expects to collect the $275,000 it will pay out over the next 10 years.

During those 10 years, the company is expected to produce another $450,000 to $500,000 in new payroll and property tax revenue for the city, as well as about $500,000 in new property taxes for the Upper Arlington school district, Lamb said last September.

Last week, Lamb said the expansion and renovation bolster the city's economic development efforts.

"The city is excited to see Thomas and Marker completing their redevelopment work on 2011 Riverside," he said. "This project has revitalized an older commercial building in the city, while creating new office space for businesses to use.

"It is our belief that this redevelopment project will help to bring to fruition new investment opportunities along the Riverside corridor and throughout the city."

Thomas and Marker purchased its Upper Arlington office in May 2012 for $350,000, according to the Franklin County Auditor's website.

Pontius said the site was appealing because of its proximity to the Columbus outerbelt and a number of nearby communities, including Columbus, Grandview Heights, Hilliard, Dublin and Worthington.

In Grandview, the firm currently is building a nearly $5-million parking garage in Grandview Yard, which will accommodate 500 vehicles.

"This location provides easy access to I-270," Pontius said. "We travel back and forth to Bellefontaine a lot, and this also provides easy access to downtown Columbus."

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