City Will Work With New Owners To Redevelop Columbus Castings Plant
Steve Schoeny, the Director at the Columbus Department for Development, says the city was a bit disappointed that the new owners of Columbus Castings had no plans to reopen the century-old foundry.
After the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this summer, the city tried to work with another potential buyer when the property was put up for auction.
"We put money on the table with a bidder who was looking to keep the plant open, and that wasn't a success," says Schoeny.
In the end the Reich Brothers Inc. was the highest bidder. CEO Jonathan Reich says it’s too soon to say exactly what will become of the Columbus Castings site. Right now the plan is to clean and redevelop it - possibly for use by new industry, retail or both.
Regardless, Schoeny says the city is still committed to working with the developers. He's optimistic the site has a lot of potential for a company in industrial assembly, distribution or manufacturing.
"It's got fantastic highway access. It's got rail access, and it's close to a strong employer base, those are the things that employers look for," says Schoeny.
Schoeny says it's too soon to determine how much the city is willing to invest in the project. He says that will depend largely on how many potential jobs can be generated. Jonathan Reich says that before they develop any concrete plans they'll have to work with the Ohio EPA to decommission and clean up the plant.
"We're hoping the solution we provide or help effectual down the road will help address the environmental issues and will help address the employment issues," says Reich.
Steve Shoeny says, depending on the complexity of the contamination at the plant, that process can take anywhere from a couple months, to several years.
"Our hope is that the complexity of the contamination on that site aren't that bad but at this point we really don't know... the next phase of this is [the Reich Brothers] understanding what the issues are on the site working through those to put together a plan," says Schoeny.