Adding buildings to Theisen Industrial Park being considered

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By Steve Robb Messenger Staff Journalist


Lack of available space at Theisen Industrial Park has been a stumbling block to attracting more companies to the park and creating jobs. The Athens County Port Authority, which owns the park, hopes to remedy that by investing as much as $14 million in constructing two new buildings.

At this point the expansion is just in the planning stages, with financing not yet in place and no construction date set, but some site studies have been completed.

Last May, the Port Authority paid off the debt on its building that houses Global Cooling, making it possible to consider construction of new buildings.

Sara Marrs-Maxfield said that for some years there have been potential businesses for which the county could not compete because of the lack of available space.

“We didn’t have any open facility that would be what the company desired,” said Marrs-Maxfield, who is executive director of the Athens County Economic Development Council and secretary of the Port Authority.

The proposal is to construct a 134,000-square-foot building that would would have manufacturing and warehouse space. A second building of 33,000 square feet would have office space and potentially lab space. There are no tenants lined up for either building at this point, Marrs-Maxfield said.

The office building would be located next to Global Cooling. The manufacturing/warehouse would be located behind the office building.

A grant was obtained from the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth’s site readiness grant program to help pay for studies that were done of the proposed site.

Marrs-Maxfield said wetlands remediation will be needed, either by contributing to a wetlands bank to support other wetlands, or by reconfiguring the site so that replacement wetlands can be created. She said the wetlands on the property are of poor quality. Also, she said some additional core drillings are needed to determine the extent to which the property has been filled.

Marrs-Maxfield said the goal is to complete site preparations during the next 12 months, and during that same time put together financing for the project.

Last year, State Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) introduced legislation to put funding into the Rural Industrial Park Loan Program. Marrs-Maxfield was one of the economic development officials from Southeastern Ohio who testified in committee in support of the legislation, and she said Monday that it could be a potential source of funding for the Theisen Industrial Park if the legislation were to pass. Edwards said he plans to reintroduce it in the new General Assembly, which began this month.