A new shell building is in the works at Woodside Northwest Industrial Park in Columbus. Bartholomew County-based Force Holdings LLC is seeking tax abatement on the proposed $2 million project, which could get underway this summer. April 17, 2014

News Release

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Columbus, Indiana could soon welcome the construction of a new 50,000 sf industrial shell building, according to an announcement made today by the Columbus Economic Development Board. Executive Director Jason Hester reports that the building, as proposed, would be expandable up to 200,000 sf and will be located in the popular Woodside Northwest Industrial Park in close proximity to I-65 Exit 64. The project is being developed locally by Force Holdings, LLC.

“The construction of a new industrial shell building will provide us with much-needed space to show to prospective employers as well as provide another option for locally expanding companies to consider,” said Hester.

The need for additional industrial property has been actively discussed by the Economic Development Board's Sites & Building Committee for the past two years. Buck Ritz of Milestone Contractors chairs the committee and expressed his support for the proposed shell building.

“Up to 85 percent of the leads that the EDB received last year were looking for existing buildings, and today's manufacturers and logistics providers want high-ceilings, open bays, and buildings that can be expanded,” said Ritz. “The proposed building will meet a critical need that we have in the Columbus area.”

Shell buildings are unfinished structures that are designed and built to reduce the time required for a company to occupy the building. Constructing the exterior shell of a building while leaving floors, interior walls, and the majority of the building utility systems unfinished offers the client an opportunity to finish the building to its exact needs, while greatly speeding up time to occupancy.

According to Hester and Ritz, most similar shell building projects around the state have asked local governments to offer cash support to offset the risk of building a property with no guaranteed buyer. In this case, the developer is not seeking cash support, opting instead to seek only a tax abatement that would phase-in the property taxes on the new investment.

“With 100 percent of the investment coming from the private sector, the project will offer greater flexibility and improve time of response as we talk with prospective companies who are interested in investing in Columbus and Bartholomew County,” said Hester.

The proposed building will offer 30' clear heights and will be offered for sale or long-term lease. The initial shell construction cost will total about $2 million, and the value of the finished building will vary based upon user requirements. The tax abatement, if approved as requested, will offer the developer an initial 95 percent deduction of the assessed value, phasing in additional taxes in years six through ten. According to Hester, this approach will also preserve the possibility of future public support as potential companies are identified.

A final decision by the developer to move forward with the project will come after the City Council considers the tax abatement request at an upcoming meeting. With approval by the Council, it is expected that permitting for the project will begin immediately with the potential of construction starting in early summer.

“We are very appreciative of the support that the Columbus Economic Development Board and local banks have offered to us during our planning phase,” said Harold Force, a member of Force Holdings, LLC. “With the City's support, we will be prepared to move full steam ahead with the project.”

About Force Holdings, LLC

Force Holdings, LLC is a real estate development and holding company, with assets in Columbus, Indiana, and other Indiana communities.

Architectural and engineering design for the project will be provided by Force Design, Inc., with construction to be performed by Force Construction Co., Inc. www.forceco.com.

About the Columbus Economic Development Board

The Columbus Economic Development Board (EDB) is the local economic development office serving Columbus and all of Bartholomew County, Indiana. The organization’s strategic goal is to grow & attract well-paying, high value-added, community-minded base/primary businesses by influencing and leveraging the area's distinct capabilities in advanced manufacturing, design, and Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) education resources. The EDB's approach is three-fold: (1) Work with existing primary employers to help them grow in Columbus and Bartholomew County, (2) Attract and recruit new companies to locate here, and (3) Work with fellow community leaders to build upon and continuously improve the area's desirability to businesses and residents.

Since the EDB's founding in 1976, recruited companies today employ more than 5,200 persons and those jobs locally generate an estimated $245 million in annual household spending. More than 400 local expansions have also been supported, with $2.8 billion in recorded direct investment. For more information on the Columbus EDB and the services it offers, please visit www.ColumbusIN.org.

Source: The Columbus Economic Development Board

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