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Orange Barrel Media Plans Franklinton Headquarters

Walker Evans Walker Evans Orange Barrel Media Plans Franklinton Headquarters
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Franklinton has always had the best views of the Downtown Columbus skyline, but what it’s never had is much of a skyline itself. Pete Scantland, president of Orange Barrel Media, wants to change that.

His local outdoor marketing and advertising company today announced plans to build a new $6 million headquarters on a former concrete plant located near the intersection of McKinley and Souder avenues. The new development was designed by George Acock of Acock Associates with Landscape Architecture done by Keith Meyers and MSI+KKG.

“I think the project is going to be iconic,” says Scantland. “Our hope is that in five years our large wallscape mural will be viewed as one of the city’s visual modern landmarks in a way that some of our Downtown signs have become.”

The new Orange Barrel offices will sit on a five-acre site facing the Scioto River. The project will reuse existing concrete storage silos and a renovated 10,000-square-foot warehouse for production shop space. A new 10,000-square-foot addition will house office workers. Scantland says they’re aiming for LEED Platinum certification with the project.

“We’re pretty certain that we’ll be able to achieve that,” he says. “We get a bunch of points toward certification just because it’s located on a reclaimed industrial site. We’ll be utilizing so much of the existing infrastructure, plus we’ll be installing solar panels that will generate enough power for the entire site.”

The solar panels will be located on the back side of a 120-foot tall structure rising above the new offices. The front side of the structure will provide a showpiece advertising space where Orange Barrel can showcase its work and provide a new opportunity for their clients.

“We want our headquarters to be a place where we can show off what we do,” says Scantland. “It’s a highly visible location and we need this display piece to make the project economically viable. The signs will partially subsidize our carrying cost of our real estate investment.”

Scantland says that selecting the Franklinton location was two-fold for his company. He recognizes the growing importance of the neighborhood as a creative hub, and sees the central location as vital for attracting and retaining a creative workforce.

“I love what’s happening at 400 West Rich Street,” he explains. “We have a few graphic designers who work at Orange Barrel during the day and rent studio space at 400 at night to do their personal artistic work. We want to continue to be part of the arts community.”

When Orange Barrel first started in 2003, its offices were located in The Short North above the Mahan Gallery. Later, it opened a warehouse for production, located on Harmon Avenue near Greenlawn Avenue. In 2006, Scantland realized that both sides of the business needed to be located under the same roof and relocated the business to Grove City where rents were more reasonable compared to Downtown Columbus. He says that attraction and retention efforts for a young creative workforce is what drew him to Franklinton.

“Grove City is a good community for a lot of things, but young creative people want to be as close to the urban core as possible,” he explains. “Franklinton also makes sense to us from an economic sense, because land there will appreciate in value over time.  I think we’re in a similar position to where the pioneers in the Short North were back in the ’80s.”

Currently, Orange Barrel employs 35 people (24 of which are in Columbus), and the average employee salary is $94,900. Scantland says that many of his employees live Downtown, in the Short North, in German Village and other nearby neighborhoods. He expects a third of his staff to be able to ride their bikes to the new offices utilizing the city’s riverfront bike trails. He also expects his staff to support existing Franklinton businesses.

“We have designers, in-house attorneys, metal workers, sculptures and welders who work here,” he says. “We also have 15 sales people and every day they are out taking clients to lunch, dinner, and out for drinks. Our dollars are going to go to supporting neighborhood spots and our hope is that more retail comes along.”

In addition to Columbus, Orange Barrel has office locations in Boston, Charlotte and will be opening a New York office in the near future. Scantland says that the majority of business growth is occurring in other markets, but wants to maintain the majority of the company’s jobs here in Columbus, where creative talent can be found.

Orange Barrel presented its plans to the Franklinton Board of Trade last week, and hopes to receive a recommendation from the group within the next few days. The plans will also go in front of the Franklinton Area Commission, as well as several City departments before receiving final approval. Scantland hopes to see that process completed within the next four to five months with construction starting shortly afterward. He anticipates that the new offices could be completed by late 2013 or early 2014.

“I’ve been doing zoning work long enough to realize there’s always going to be at least one naysayer, but we’ve been pretty surprised at the great response we’ve gotten so far,” he says. “I think most folks realize that this is a really positive thing for Franklinton, a positive thing for jobs and economic development.”

More information can be found online at OrangeBarrelMedia.com.

Read up on Orange Barrel Media in their TheMetropreneur.com Business Profile.

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