The Grass is Growing Even Greener in Columbus

The following article was written by Sue Lusk-Gleich for the Presidents Perspective of In Contract Magazine. Sue is the current President of the Columbus Board of Realtors (CBR). In Contract is the magazine sent to all 6200 CBR members.

By Sue Lusk-Gleich, 2010 CBR President

The growth and innovation that is happening in Central Ohio at this time is incredible.

Central Ohio is home to (15) Fortune 1000 companies, (6) Fortune 500 companies and has been ranked first among the Top 10 Up-and-Coming Tech Cities. We’ve been named the best metro area for business and top “City of the Fortune” for international investment. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was ranked first in the nation and COSI the number one science center in the country. We’re home top-rated ballpark, college president and research institute along with nine public high schools that are rated in the top five percent nationwide.

As our profile increases, the real estate industry will expand. I attended the Business First Power Breakfast on Feb. 16, 2010 and was impressed by the numerous medical expansion projects planned in greater Columbus.

ProjectOne at the Ohio State University’s Medical Center is a one billion dollar cancer hospital and critical care tower with planned completion in 2014, which will bring 10,000 jobs to the Columbus region, 7,000 of those high-level positions.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital master facilities projects will be completed in 2012, doubling the hospital’s size, that will have new state of the art clinical and research facilities. The construction alone will bring 1.3 billion dollars to the community.

OhioHealth and Mt. Carmel Health System are planning expansions in central Ohio that will benefit the real estate community along with Hplex Solutions structuring the four major ambulatory facilities in Franklin County.

All in all, the health care systems in central Ohio are extremely financially sound with an annual gross revenue of 9.4 billion dollars and expansions that will grow that amount in the future. The Columbus Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, which featured and highlighted plans to build a better Columbus by 2020, was held on Feb. 24, 2010. Columbus2020! is a community-driven vision and strategic plan for economic development in Central Ohio. The hallmarks of this plan are sustainable vision and bold goals with its primary focus on the business segment of the economy.

Eighty percent of growth comes from already-existing businesses, so part of Columbus2020!’s strategy is to concentrate on retention and expansion of existing companies while helping to grow the 40,000 small enterprises here in central Ohio. Part of the vision is to advance economic development by thinking and acting regionally, thereby developing a more sustainable economic future in central Ohio.

The Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the business community have built a development model founded on our city’s unique businesses, arts, education, suburbs, and communities. Some of the goals put forth by Columbus2020! include a 40 percent increase in per capita income, pushing the city to become a top ten community in economic development and fueling the creation of 180,000 net new jobs. Columbus2020! operates on the theory that the challenges we face create opportunities for economic growth. This plan will take our region to the next level and be the quarterback for Columbus development, serving existing businesses and on their needs.

Columbus2020!’s cooperative efforts have shown real results. One of the successes was the retention of OSCC on the east side of Columbus. The Chamber’s Team OSCC, a coalition of business, government and civic leaders advocated the retention and growth of the Defense Supply Center Columbus (Columbus’ twelfth largest employer). Because the Department of Defense was conducting a national review of all of its bases, the 6,100 jobs at DSCC were at risk. After a $1 million campaign to advocate DSCC was deployed, the Pentagon announced that DSCC would not only remain open, but would also grow up to 2,000 jobs.

Another result of this collaborative venture was Rickenbacker Airport and Industrial Park which will help the Columbus region on the global stage. Through cooperative negotiation, a deal was struck that provides sewer and water service to this facility without annexation to Columbus. This will help Rickenbacker grow and raise our profile on the worldwide level.

JP Morgan Chase and their expansion to make central Ohio their home is another testament to regional cooperative development.

Also bright spot in Columbus improvement, Tech Columbus is working with 150 companies in the region and accelerating the growth of local businesses. The numbers of companies coming to Tech Columbus over the last 3 years has increased exponentially.

This year is a year of transition, launching us to the next steps that encourage and incorporate the business community, local governments, educators and residents to participate in a plan of action for the benefit of the community. All local residents and businesses have a vested interest in the Columbus2020! plan. It is all about joint marketing efforts and working together to foster improvements that help us all.

That philosophy applies not only to fiscal development but to our work as REALTORS®. Our network of real estate professionals benefits from business innovation and from our collaborative work with each other. These are the ties that create the extremely positive outlook for our continued and future growth and success in central Ohio.