Whitehall News

Airport South

City hopes tech park's rebranding attracts business


Whitehall's efforts to strengthen the city's commercial base continue with the marketing of the Airport South Commerce & Tech Park.

"The administration and the development department views the Poth Road corridor as vitally important (and) we have been working on ways to create new opportunities here" since Mayor Kim Maggard took office in January 2012, said Zach Woodruff, the city's director of economic and community development. Woodruff was appointed to his position by Maggard.

The 350-acre site is nestled between North Yearling and Poth roads, north of East Broad Street and just south of Port Columbus International Airport, from which it draws its new name.

It is already home to FedEx; Glazer's of Ohio, an alcohol distributor; Roush Service Co.; Marketing Results Ltd.; and Carmen's Distribution System, a distributor of janitorial supplies.

But Woodruff said these businesses represent a fraction of what the Airport South Commerce & Tech Park can accommodate.

About 60 acres are undeveloped and there are about 500,000 square feet of commercial or office space ready to lease, Woodruff said.

The available space for lease is the former Kroger warehouse, which closed in 2006, and the former site of drinking-fountain manufacturer Oasis, which closed in 2005.

Woodruff said the park's new name and reference to the airport should increase its marketability.

"Not everyone knows where Poth Road is, but everyone knows where the airport is," said Woodruff, adding he hopes current and future tenants will use the name of the park when explaining their location.

"Our goal is to develop a consistent theme and a consistent message about the park," he said.

The city plans to erect signs in the spring promoting the park's new name.

The promotion of the park is part of the city's ongoing effort to cultivate new business and attract jobs to Whitehall, Woodruff said.

"This new business park offers many opportunities for companies looking to expand or relocate (and) we look forward to showing business owners what we have to offer," he said.

A competitive tax rate, fiber optics, customizable facilities and proximity to the airport and railways are among the park's selling points, Woodruff said.

The city's job, he said, will be to make these strengths known in the real-estate arena so when commercial real-estate agents are looking in central Ohio, Whitehall's Airport South Commerce & Tech Park is on the list.

Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer for Columbus 2020, an economic development agency for 11 counties in central Ohio, said the marketing of the park stemmed from a collaborative effort between the city of Whitehall and Columbus 2020.

"The airport in many ways is the center of the (central Ohio) region, and the opportunity for businesses to capitalize on this asset is critical," said McDonald, adding Whitehall is a "great partner" and has responded to discussions about what kinds of amenities are most desired by the clientele of Columbus 2020.

"Whitehall has taken many steps to make positive changes, not only for Whitehall but for the region," McDonald said.