By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
When the CSX Intermodal facility opened eight years ago west of North Baltimore, it brought with it the promise of luring other development.
On Tuesday, a couple consultants for NorthPoint Development, in Kansas City, presented a pitch to the Wood County Commissioners about doing just that.
Dave Robinson told the commissioners that NorthPoint is interested in forming a public-private partnership to help develop acreage bordering the CSX Intermodal facility. The area has room for “tons of growth” on 122 acres.
That growth could mean up to 2,000 new jobs plus tax benefits for the region.
But in exchange for the construction of a logistics park, the developer wants a property tax abatement of 100 percent for 15 years, Robinson told the county commissioners.
NorthPoint has a great deal of experience working with intermodal partnerships, Robinson said. He noted some of the company’s existing developments in Kansas City and Rickenbacker near Columbus.
The open acreage on the south side of Ohio 18, by the local CSX site, is ripe for placement of distribution and manufacturing facilities, Robinson told the commissioners.
And NorthPoint has experience building “major big box state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.
The acreage has room for more than 4 million square feet of building space, Robinson said.
“It would be a large driver of economic development,” he said. “We think it will be a great opportunity.”
A growing trend nationally is the need for distribution centers, Robinson told the commissioners. Ten percent of purchases in the U.S. are now made online. That number is just going to grow.
“We see the growth of logistics and fulfillment as a very big trend,” he said.
That is creating concerns for traditional malls and retail centers, but, “it also creates a massive opportunity,” Robinson said.
And the location right next to the CSX Intermodal facility will be ideal. The site is also near Detroit and Chicago, right next to the Interstate 75 corridor, and close to the Ohio Turnpike.
“We are believers in the economic benefits of the logistics industry,” Robinson said.
The proposed logistics park by the CSX facility has the potential to create 2,000 jobs, he said. The jobs at the distribution centers built near Rickenbacker come with an average annual wage of $57,100, Robinson said.
Though NorthPoint would insist upon the maximum tax abatement, Robinson said the firm realizes that local governmental entities need to see some tax revenue from the development. So the company is discussing some different options of how to make sure local entities aren’t shorted.
According to Robinson’s numbers, the North Baltimore/Henry Township community could realize gains of $41 million in real estate and developer fees, $13 milion in JEDD income taxes, and up to 2,000 jobs.
The NorthPoint Logistics Park plans could invest $250 million, and build a “world class industrial/logistics park” tied to the CSX Intermodal.
But all that rests on the approval of the tax abatement. Meetings are being set up with village, township and school officials.
“We really want to make this happen,” Robinson said. “We want to create a unique public-private partnership.”