MANSFIELD — Randy Payne said he believes companies looking to locate into north central Ohio want to move quickly.

That’s why the president of the Adena Corp. wants to double down on industrial development sites near Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport.

On Tuesday, Mansfield City Council is expected to vote on the sale of another 14 acres along Airport West Road to Airport West JV, an LLC registered to the Mansfield builder. The selling price is $10,000 per acre, according to the legislation.

Randy Payne

Payne recently finished a $9 million, 160,000 square-foot spec building on 15 acres at the corner of Cairns Road and Bowman Street. The property he seeks to purchase this time is adjoining, city-owned land currently being used for agriculture.

A spec building is a readymade structure available for either lease or purchase.

“The airport is a valuable asset to the area and we believe it is underutilized. Being from the area and wanting to help contribute what we can, we listened to local economic development groups and realtors who said we don’t have enough Class A industrial space available in the area to attract companies,” Payne said.

He said time is of the essence for companies seeking new space in a rapidly-moving economy.

“In the past, companies would be willing to wait to have space built, where now they are more apt to move if it’s already available,” he said.

“This is our attempt to try and get ahead of the inventory of space available, so when there are businesses looking they don’t have to wait 12 to 24 months to get something built,” Payne said.

The developer said work continues to sell or lease the initial spec building.

“We have had a decent amount of activity and are confident it will fill up soon,” he said.

If council approves the sale, which would be done through the Richland County Growth Association working as an agent for the city, Payne said he is ready to move quickly.

“The plan is as soon as this building is leased, we will begin the process to develop another one to keep inventory available,” he said. 

“It will be an entirely separate project at this point unless the user that takes the current building has other needs that would require more land.”

He said Adena Development is doing something similar at Raemelton Park off Trimble Road.

“There we are currently building 12,000 square-feet of new Class A office space that will be available to companies seeking that and wanting to move to the area quickly,” he said.

Tim Bowersock

Tim Bowersock, economic development director for the city of Mansfield, said efforts such as Payne’s are important to landing new business or creating space for existing local companies to expand.

“It’s very important. One of the things that will draw new business to the area is available space, especially high-quality space,” he said. “We had a consulting group in town a couple of weeks ago and one of the best things they identified was that spec building.

“It’s a huge plus to the area to have that done and ready.”

The veteran development director said there were a couple of local builders who would construct smaller spec buildings when he first started.

“In the last 15 years or so, until this one, we didn’t have any totally built on speculation that they would be filled,” Bowersock said.

Adena legislation

He said selling the 14 acres to Payne could make the initial spec building even more valuable to a company looking to use it as the first phase of a bigger project.

“It makes it more valuable for (Payne) to have control of the adjacent land,” Bowersock said. “There is very adequate infrastructure there. It’s relatively flat and a nice building site.

“From a community standpoint, having that building out there is a big deal,” he said. “It’s all first-rate.”

“This is our attempt to try and get ahead of the inventory of space available so when there are businesses looking, they don’t have to wait 12 to 24 months to get something built.” — Adena Corp. President Randy Payne

Chuck Hahn, Cleveland Financial Group, invests in this independent reporting through a Newsroom Partnership. Learn more about Newsroom Partnerships.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when...

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