Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anatomy of a Spec Building Project

I sent this e-mail to a newspaper editor as a story pitch on the Horton Building, a topic about which his publication has not yet published a word.  It really serves as an anatomy of our spec building project so I share it.

We just marked a milestone today on a major project for the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority and Licking County. The first dollar was received today (electronically received) on the Port Authority’s new Horton Building in the form of a lease payment from our tenant customer.

I haven’t pitched this story to you before, but I think it appropriate now to share our story with you and your readers. There have been several positive milestones that have not garnered coverage in the past 18+ months.

Milestone one was in the middle of the recession when few, if any, were thinking about building new buildings in Central Ohio, or pretty much anywhere. The Port Authority felt it important to take the role of providing a spark to the economy and this new building was begun as a 100% speculative build project. In October 2009, with no lease in hand, the Port Authority authorized a contract for architectural and engineering for the 45,000 s.f. combination Class A office and clean room building. The building was seen as a next step in the redevelopment of the former Newark Air Force Base which the Port Authority was created to take ownership of over 16 years ago.

On April 29, 2010, while out for bids but before construction began, Goodrich agreed to lease the first floor as part of a strategy to retain and grow their engineering services operation on the Aerospace Center campus in Heath. See the news release we published then. Goodrich is a Fortune 500 aerospace company headquartered in Charlotte, NC but with a 141-year history in Ohio.

More milestones came less than three weeks later.  A May 18, 2010 groundbreaking ceremoniously kicked off the project while also marking the 15-year anniversary of the Port Authority, created to take ownership of the former Newark Air Force Base. It would be named for Wally Horton, the person who helped convince the Air Force to build in Licking County 50 years ago and who worked to bring privatization when the base showed up on the closure list. Horton took part in a “topping off ceremony” and signed the top beam of the building on October 12, 2010.

The Horton Building was, from the get go, a project with a decidedly local and regional economic impact. Newark-based Wachtel & McAnally was the architect. Newark-headquartered Park National Bank financed the overall $5.7 million project. Robertson Construction of Heath was awarded the construction contract and would find itself using local subcontractors and local materials for more than 75% of the project, including bricks from Bowerstown Shale in Hanover, window frames from Richardson Glass of Newark, and glass from AGC glass of Hebron.

On April 29 of this year, a partial occupancy permit was received that triggered the move-in by Goodrich into its new, consolidated office space and, today, the first lease payment was received from Goodrich.  We expect a July ribbon cutting and building dedication ceremony.

Our message is that the building is Clean, Green, and Smart. Capacity for up to four clean room modules makes the “clean” part. The Port Authority is aiming for a LEED certification for core and shell buildings, thus the “green” part. A modern building automation system makes it “smart” in more ways than one. 

Today, over 25,000 s.f. of office and clean room space remain available, including a 1,000 s.f. Class 10,000 clean room also being built on spec and up to 19,000 s.f. of Class A office space adjacent to the high-tech capabilities of adjacent defense contractors Boeing and Bionetics. See our online rochure with details or the Facebook page where the Port Authority project managers have posted periodic updates for the benefit of our customers and prospective customers.

The Horton Building is a project that has gone under the radar screen of [your publication's] readers to date so I am pitching the story as a whole.

Regrettably, bad news gets coverage easier than good news does so I'm not holding my breath on this one.  If this or similar ones I sent to others get coverage, I'll be sure to link to it.  Otherwise, thanks for reading anyway.

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