City agrees to lease space to logistics company

In order to prevent ODW LTS from leaving Hamilton, City Council has approved a deal to move the company from BizTech Center to the 6th floor of One Renaissance Center.

ODW LTS, a third party logistic and transportation services company, has been at BizTech since 2009. BizTech is designed to incubate new and start-up businesses for a couple years before moving on to more permanent locations.

The deal to have ODW to move into the city building — and having non-municipal entities move into city spaces is not a foreign concept in the region — was made in order to retain one of the “300 fastest growing companies in the United States,” said City Manager Joshua Smith.

“We’re putting money into the city’s coffers, we’re increasing income tax collection, and ensuring young college professionals are downtown,” Smith said.

Smith said keeping the company’s $2 million annual payroll in the city and creating a revenue stream for an empty sixth floor “is very, very exciting to us.”

City Council approved Wednesday a five-year lease with an option for five additional years. Smith called the rent “very competitive.”

The monthly rent for 10,000 square feet will be $1 per square foot for the first year, and will increase $1 per square-foot in year two and three of the lease. Year four and five will be $4 per square foot. If the 5-year lease option is picked up, the monthly rent would be set at $6 per square foot. The company will have the ability to expand as it is projected to grow into the 14,400-square-foot space.

Before the city building deal came to light, company officials said they could not find a suitable location within the city, said Dave Giblin, ODW director of strategic development. They were looking to relocate the business to West Chester or Liberty townships in Butler County, or to Forest Park and Sharonville in Hamilton County, he said.

“That was definitely the most high end space,” Giblin said.

He said what sold the company on the city building was ability to tap into the county’s fiber optics system and “they’re very well set up to have a good look and feel for when prospective clients and prospective personnel comes in for interviews.

The city building floor also has “substantially more” room than at BizTech where they had personnel scattered around. Giblin said the company took up a collective 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. Giblin said the room will likely be needed, “We think we can grow up towards 90 and 100 people in that office.”

The company started with four employees in 2009 and now has 27.

The location also made it attractive to recruit from the local talent pool, said John Guggenbiller, ODW president.

“This region has many universities that make the talent pool for labor very attractive,” he said. “The city of Hamilton’s vision and leadership complement the direction that we see for our company.”

ODW LTS was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fast 500 in 2013, which makes it one of the fastest growing companies in the country. Columbus-based ODW Logistics is the parent company for ODW LTS.

The lease agreement was passed as emergency legislation due to the need to find a location quickly, Smith said.

“It was important to have conclusion on this side so they can do some planning and get into the facility as quickly as possible,” he said.

A move-in date is not yet known.

Using city space for non-municipal entities is not a new concept. Hamilton rented the sixth floor to the Ohio Bureau of Workers since just after the building opened in 2000 until the state agency moved out this past summer due to office consolidation at the state level. The building has also been home to a printing company and three restaurants in the past 14 years.

“We’re still paying the cost for an empty sixth floor,” Smith said. “And to capture one of those 300 fastest growing companies in the United States, and keep them in Hamilton is very very exciting to us.”

There are other area examples of non-municipal entities renting city space.

Middletown this past summer had the Middletown City School District into its 4th floor at the city building at One Donham Plaza. In Warren County, the city of Mason has leased space at its community center for a few years for medical offices Group Health Associates and Bethesda Physical Therapy. AssureX Health, a personalized medicine company, leases space at the community center as well as some unused space in the city building.

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