Springfield industrial park nears completion

Ridge Road re-opened last week, two near industrial parks could bring 1,300 jobs to Clark County.

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1,000: Estimated number of jobs that could be created at Prime Ohio II Industrial Park.

300: Estimated number of jobs that could be created at Champion City Business Park.

488: Estimated number of jobs that will be added in industrial parks through recent expansions at Speedway and Dole Fresh Vegetables.

Prime Ohio II — the second new industrial park built in Springfield in the past two years — is expected to open this fall.

While filling the sites at both Prime Ohio II and the new Champion City Business Park will take time, the industrial parks provide more choices for developers and could bring as many as 1,300 jobs to Clark County, according to economic development officials.

After three months of construction at Prime Ohio II, Ridge Road reopened for drivers last week. Construction crews will now focus on building Prime Parkway, the main street through the industrial park. The road is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, according to Horton Hobbs, vice president of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Ridge Road road closed in June between Ohio 41 and Mitchell Road as crews worked on underground utilities, added turn lanes and widened the road.

It was expected to be completed on Aug. 16, but was delayed due to issues with utilities. Crews are back on schedule, Hobbs said, but the road will need finishing touches in the coming months.

The water and sewer hookups have also been completed and are in service.

“It’s great to have that open and avoid as much inconvenience as possible for the residents there,” Hobbs said.

More than 1,200 vehicles travel along Ridge Road per day, according to a 2013 traffic study. The traffic volume is projected to jump to about 5,660 vehicles daily by 2033 as a result of the PrimeOhio II development, according to the study.

Love’s Truck Stop, which will be built at the nearby former Prime Fuel gas station site, is expected to begin construction this spring.

The chamber and its Community Improvement Corp. will advertise about the park to current businesses and site consultants.

“We’ve been out promoting it a lot,” Hobbs said.

The chamber has also received calls from people driving by the construction on Interstate 70.

“It’s a unique asset for the region to have that kind of infrastructure that close to the interstate,” Hobbs said. “Over time, we’re hoping the park will have significant activity.”

There are currently five other industrial parks in Clark County:

• Prime Ohio Corporate Park on Gateway Boulevard near Ohio 41 is 100 percent occupied.

• Springfield Industrial Park on Progress Drive near Leffel Lane is about 95 percent occupied.

• KTK Industrial Park on Urbana road is about 80 percent occupied.

• AirPark Ohio on West Blee Road is about 30 percent occupied and has about 140 of 200 acres still available for development.

• Next Edge Applied Research and Technology Park on Veronia Drive near U.S. 40 is about 10 percent occupied.

Champion City Business Park, located on Lagonda Avenue on the site of the former Navistar body plant, opened last October and could lead to 300 jobs if businesses move there.

The city of Springfield had a business interested in building a new facility at Champion City, but the company decided to remain at its current location, said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development.

“There’s been a few nibbles here or there, but nothing major,” Franzen said. “There hasn’t been a lot of activity or interest there yet.”

The lack of interest reflects a lack of overall interest in new construction, he said.

“Right now, there are other options for folks as they’re considering to expand,” Franzen said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of new construction, so it’s not as if we’ve lost out to AirPark Ohio or other parks for people to build new. Overall activity has not been robust as far as new buildings or new construction.”

The two most recent major expansions saw companies purchase existing facilities or expand in a current location.

Last month, Dole Fresh Vegetables announced a $9 million expansion at its facility in Prime Ohio I, while Speedway spent $5.4 million to purchase the former QBase building in Next Edge. The two projects will bring more than 480 jobs to Clark County.

Once the current available industrial and office space is absorbed, Franzen said new construction will likely increase.

Prospective businesses all have different needs, he said, such as site visibility or access to I-70, among others. Springfield and Clark County have spaces available with access to different types of transportation including highway, rail and air.

“If you don’t have that ready, then you miss out on those opportunities,” Franzen said. “We wanted to make sure we have alternate sites for their consideration.”

The sites won’t be filled over night, Hobbs said. It took nearly 30 years for Prime Ohio I to reach 100 percent occupancy.

“It’s going to take time,” he said. “We’ve got incredible assets that are in place and coming online that make our community very competitive from a site perspective.”

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