Once a white elephant, a Worthington building that sat vacant for a decade is nearly full with the signing of an orthopedic practice, three years after a developer gutted and rebuilt the concrete structure as Class A medical office space.
Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center plans to move its 60 employees from Westerville next spring, taking the last large chunk of available space in 350 W. Wilson Bridge Rd. That brings total jobs in the building to 175, the city said.
“This project has been very successful for the city. Several different tools were used to make this project happen,” David McCorkle, Worthington’s economic development manager, said via email. “We’ve gone from zero occupancy to virtually 100 percent in the building in three years.”
Trivium Development LLC acquired the former Mettler-Toledo International Inc. headquarters in 2015 and began a $3.9 million interior rebuild.
Interior demolition received a $60,000 grant from Central Ohio Community Improvement Corp., the nonprofit established in 2012 to manage the Franklin County land bank. The city of Worthington also granted $220,000 to jump-start the project. The largest public component was a $325,000 loan through the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority under a business program for energy efficiency projects.
“The building is made of precast concrete, so it’s extremely solid,” Trivium President Tim Spencer said via email. “Instead of demolishing it, as was our original plan, our design team came up with a plan to totally strip it down to the bones/studs and completely rebuild it.”
Everything besides the 40-year-old concrete form is new, he said. Mechanical infrastructure and updated bathrooms were moved to an addition at the front, so the floor plates are now open plans attractive to medical tenants. Buildout for the orthopedic practice is set to begin in September.
After Orthopedic Foot & Ankle’s 15-year lease for 18,630 square feet on the second floor, about 3,500 square feet remain empty on the third floor of the 53,200-square-foot building, leasing office Elford Realty reports. McCorkle said his understanding its it’s being reserved for expansion of current tenants.
The open plan could let the practice add more service lines, said a statement from Executive Director Chris Masciola.
The renovation greatly lowered operating costs in the building and made it an “ideal long-term fit,” said a statement from Paul Heiserman, associate healthcare director for the Columbus office of JLL, the real estate firm that led the practice’s property search. The easy-to-access location, close to I-270 and Rt. 23, and the opportunity for signage facing the community will increase brand awareness for Orthopedic Foot & Ankle, he said.
The practice was the largest tenant in the medical offices of OhioHealth Corp.’s Westerville Medical Campus on Polaris Parkway when it opened 10 years ago. Orthopedic Foot & Ankle said its clinical relationship with Central Ohio’s largest health system won’t change in the move.
In July, Worthington City Council hired a consultant to provide free building assessments to identify projects that would reduce energy bills for up to 500,000 square feet of offices in the Wilson Bridge and High street business corridors.
“We hope to replicate some of this success,” McCorkle said.