Restoration Hardware breaks ground in WJ

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Where once stood cornfields, now roam earthmovers prepping 75 acres of land for construction of a new distribution center in West Jefferson.

The official groundbreaking for Restoration Hardware’s newest facility took place on Sept. 20. The site, part of Duke Realty Corp.’s “Park 70” industrial park, is located near I-70, south of the State Route 29 exit, between 29 and U.S. Route 40.

The 805,125 square-foot distribution center will include office and industrial space. Its primary use will be fulfillment of the company’s east coast retail stores and non-furniture direct-to-customer business. Once completed next summer, the facility is expected to create 350 jobs. Based in California, Restoration Hardware is a specialty retailer of home furnishings, bath fixtures, hardware and gifts.

At the groundbreaking, Ken Dunaj, chief operating officer for Restoration Hardware, said access to I-70 and a qualified work force weren’t the only attributes that attracted his company to the site in West Jefferson. The support of the local leadership was important, too.

“Without a doubt, we have found that with West Jefferson,” Dunaj said.

The Village of West Jefferson and Jefferson Local Schools granted tax abatement and Community Reinvestment Area packages to the development.

Dunaj also praised the State of Ohio for offering an attractive incentive package to locate the distribution center in Ohio and the Ohio Department of Transportation for addressing traffic safety on Route 29.

“This project is pivotal in our growth as a company,” Dunaj said.

Restoration Hardware’s facility is just the first project to get under way in Duke’s development plans in West Jefferson. The realty company also has landed Kellogg, the national cereal/convenience food producer, which plans to build a 1,142,000 square-foot distribution center on 75 acres adjacent to Restoration Hardware’s facility.

The businesses aren’t the only ones thinking about growth. Representatives of West Jefferson and Madison County are excited about the economic impact that developments like Duke’s can bring.

“For West Jefferson, it’s going to be like a tidal wave hit us,” said West Jefferson Council President Darlene Steele. “I’m glad to be on council to see the project get started.”

West Jefferson Mayor Tom Phillips commented, “Duke really wanted to make West Jefferson a spot on the map…and they did that.”

Madison County has long been known for its agribusiness, said Sean Hughes, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. With the addition of Target a few years ago and now Restoration Hardware and Kellogg, the county can add distribution and logistics to its list of attributes, he said.

The move forward in economic development is the result of cooperation among all stakeholders, said Hughes. Township, village, city, county and state officials are communicating to get things done, said Phillips.

“There was a time when every entity did their own thing,” commented Madison County Commissioner Bob Hackett. “Now, the attitude is different. There is more collaboration.”

Phillips added, “We are all now going in the same direction.”

The “Park 70” project in West Jefferson is Duke Realty’s newest development in the Columbus area market, said Jim Clark, senior vice president of Duke’s Columbus operations. Duke owns, manages or has under development over 113 million rentable square feet in 20 major U.S. cities. The company has been involved in the greater Columbus area for 18 years.

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