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Stonemont Financial

PRESS / August 12, 2022

Atlanta Investor Buys Into Central Ohio’s Booming Industrial Real Estate Market

| American Journal of Transportation

An Atlanta investor took ownership one of the largest new industrial properties in central Ohio, tapping into an area with low vacancy and high demand and where computer chipmaker Intel is poised to begin construction on two factories.

Stonemont Financial Group bought the 1 million-square-foot distribution center west of Columbus that was co-developed by locally based The Pizzuti Cos. CoStar data shows the deal valued at more than $63 million. It’s Stonemont’s first investment in the Columbus area and plans more purchases.

“Columbus will become a top focus for us over the next few years, and we look forward to extending our footprint even further throughout the market as Central Ohio’s economic and industrial growth story continues to play out,” Zack Markwell, Stonemont’s CEO, said in a statement.

The building is located off Interstate 70 in West Jefferson about 24 miles from downtown Columbus on the way to Dayton. It’s roughly 40 miles from where Intel plans to invest $20 billion initially to build two chip plants in New Albany east of Columbus.

Intel announced the investment, the largest private investment of its kind in state history, in January and had scheduled a formal groundbreaking in late July. But it delayed the groundbreaking as Congress stalled in approving $52 billion in funding to boost domestic chip production. Intel had said that approving such funding could mean its Ohio investment grows to $100 billion and five factories.

Congress finally approved the funding in July, and President Biden officially signed it into law Aug. 9 with Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, in attendance. Biden said during the ceremony that Intel would begin construction in Ohio early this fall.

But Intel wasn’t why Stonemont and Pizzuti developed the building. Their plans predated Intel’s January announcement.

“Of course it helps, but we’re looking for users that want a location closer to the Columbus [central business district] with access to a strong labor pool,” the company said.

The company said the distribution center will cater to e-commerce users and logistics companies.

E-commerce helped drive the Columbus-area’s industrial real estate market to a record year in 2021 for leasing. This year is shaping up to be another strong one. Leasing set a record in the first quarter and rents reached record highs, according to CoStar’s Columbus market report.

Vacancy is at 3% and dropped while there is 22.1 million square feet under construction.