Although the W.W. Williams Co. soon will depart Grandview Heights, the successor company formed by the remaining portion of the family-run business plans to redevelop its West Goodale Boulevard site and adjacent properties.
Tri-W Group -- formerly known as the W.W. Williams Co. -- is partnering with Elford Development to develop the nearly 10-acre site at 799-913 W. Goodale Blvd. The site includes 835 W. Goodale, which for more than 90 years has served as the corporate headquarters of W.W. Williams.
The company, founded in 1912 and in Grandview since 1927, provides mechanical service and repair along with logistics services.
The new development is expected to include retail, restaurant, office and multifamily components.
"We are in the early stages of planning our development and will know more on this front over time, based on market demand," said David W. French, Tri-W Group's president.
"We are not committed to a particular timetable, but would like to begin construction in 2018," French said.
Tri-W Group Inc. was formed after W.W. Williams was sold in 2016 to One Equity Partners.
W.W. Williams plans to relocate to Dublin.
Dublin City Council held a first reading Oct. 23 of an ordinance that would grant the company a tax incentive of up to $43,000 and a $10,000 grant to help pay relocation costs.
The company will move its 63 employees to Dublin and has pledged to hire an additional 13 employees by 2023.
The pending loss of W.W. Williams did not take Grandview officials by surprise, said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration/economic development.
"We knew the company had to vacate its existing headquarters," he said. "I don't think they wanted to leave Grandview, but they couldn't find another site in our city that fits their needs at this time.
"We've had some very preliminary discussions about the potential redevelopment" of the property at 835 Goodale, but nothing has been proposed yet, Bowman said.
A mixed-use project would require a rezoning; a tax incentive also might be involved, he said.
The redevelopment plan meant W.W. Williams needed to find another site for its operations, Bowman said.
Central Ohio communities have an informal agreement that they will not offer tax incentives to "poach" a company from another city in the region, but Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel noted in a memo to Dublin City Council members that the rule is not applicable with Dublin's offer to W.W. Williams, because the company had unsuccessfully looked for another location in Grandview.
Grandview has "no concern in this case," Bowman said.
"We're sorry to see them go," he said. "They have been good corporate citizens and contributed a lot over the years to our community."
The shelter house at Wyman Woods Park was renamed after the company in 2014 after W.W. Williams donated $100,000 toward a park-improvement project, which included upgrades to the shelter.
Tri-W Group continues to have a strong connection and commitment to Grandview, French said.
"Our family business spans 105 years and five generations, many of whom have worked on Goodale for approximately the last 95 years," he said. "Through multiple market cycles and many changes to our businesses, the Williams family has remained invested in Grandview. At one point, after Big Bear closed its doors across the street, we were one of the largest employers here.
"I can remember coming down here to visit my grandfather (W.W. Williams chairman emeritus David F. Williams) and looking across the street at Big Bear and Columbia Gas," French said. "Now there is a first-class, 90-acre, mixed-use development outside of our windows.
"Combine this with the sale of our operating business and it just happens to be our time to play a role in Goodale's transformation."