Amid a high demand for industrial space, manufacturing facilities are being built throughout Butler County and in some cases, the “spec buildings” are being occupied faster than anticipated.
The newest one will be located in Middletown’s MADE Industrial Park near the corner of Yankee and Todhunter roads. Forty-two acres have recently been added to the property, 12 of which have been secured by Phoenix Metals, a local manufacturer located at 1211 Hook Drive.
Road and infrastructure improvements are anticipated to be completed in early 2022, said Chris Xeil Lyons, Middletown’s economic development director.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, there has been “a huge resurgence” in companies wanting to produce products locally instead of globally, Lyons said.
Manufacturers are seeking properties that are “shovel ready” and are located near a large workforce and the interstate, according to Lyons.
“It’s hard to find all of that,” said Lyons, who added MADE Industrial Park has easy access to Ohio 63, Ohio 4 and Interstate 75.
Dan Fehr, director of development for Butler County Department of Development, said several county communities offer multiply interstate and state route accesses and that’s attractive to companies concerned about possible road construction or traffic accidents delaying deliveries.
In the last few years, Fehr said, he’s seen a switch from companies going through a two-year process of locating land, hiring a contractor and building a property to companies moving into spec buildings.
“That didn’t happen 10 years ago,” he said.
Lyons said the amount of industrial parks in Butler and Warren counties create “clusters that are better for the region.”
Phoenix Metals will be the first facility constructed during this new phase of the MADE Industrial Park, Lyons said. The new Phoenix Metals facility will be approximately 156,000-square-feet. The company plans to invest $12 million to construct the facility and $3 million for equipment and soft costs.
This will allow the metal services company to retain its workforce of nearly 60 people with expansion of an additional 20 employees over the next three years, according to the City of Middletown.
Local developer Cincinnati Commercial Contracting has been selected as general contractor to oversee the Phoenix Metals expansion project, which will begin with public road improvements.
The City of Middletown partnered with the Middletown Port Authority, CCC and MADE Industrial Park to make this project come to fruition.
Middletown City Manager Jim Palenick said the project is “a great example” of a public-private partnership working together to retain and expand local manufacturing. He said expanding the infrastructure at MADE will allow additional high-quality manufacturing to locate in the industrial park.
A groundbreaking event will be conducted at 10 a.m. Nov. 17 at MADE Industrial Park to kick-off the construction project.
Several surrounding Butler County communities also have seen activities in their industrial parks.
Ambrose Property Group plans to invest up to $50 million as it constructs as many as four buildings on the planned 137-acre Fairfield Commerce Park, which includes the formerly owned Liberty Mutual building.
Two buildings are complete and one has been leased to Hilco Vision, an eye-care related business, said Nathaniel Kaelin, Fairfield’s economic development manager.
NorthPoint Development is looking to add 24 acres along Union Centre Boulevard to the company’s adjacent West Chester Trade Center business park. The business park is 68 percent leased with 500 jobs brought into the township.
“People don’t spend that type of money unless they have a lot of confidence that it will be a successful project,” Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman has said.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, Kathman said e-commerce has penetrated traditional retail, softening the retail sector. And as more people shop online, that requires more industrial- and light-industrial-type businesses like warehouses and distribution centers to deliver goods.
There are two industrial parks in Hamilton: Enterprise Park and University Commerce Park, which is more of a mixed-used property, said Stacey Dietrich-Dudas, deputy economic development director.
Several businesses are located in Enterprise Park, located north of Tylersville Road, west of the Ohio 4 Bypass and south of Ohio 129., and Commerce Park, located near Miami University Hamilton, includes the administrative offices for Lane Libraries and a CPA firm.
The Butler County region is attractive for potential parks because of access to I-75, I-71 and I-70 and a “skilled workforce,” Dietrich-Dudas said.
There are five major industrial parks in Monroe, including Park North at Monroe, a 1.3-million-square-foot facility that was completed in August 2018.