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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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  • Displaced Columbusite

    This sounds like a really neat project, would be quite a jumping off point for that area.

  • Dope.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    Average employ gets $94,900? Where do I turn my application in?

  • MichaelC

    Absolutely love this news.

  • AmandaKing

    This sounds like such a great opportunity for both Franklinton and Orange Barrel. I can imagine some of the cool advertising work they can do for themselves with that great location by the river.

  • geoyui

    kudos on going for LEED platinum! Rendering looks incredible!

  • Love the solar panels!

  • Twixlen

    I drive by this all the time. This is a fantastic location for this sort of project, considering how raw the space is now.

  • Asch

    Giant advertising becoming part of our skyline?!?! Really? I’m the only one who is disgusted by this?!

  • Twixlen

    Yeah – that totally ruined Time Square. No one goes there anymore.

  • CalebR

    Awesome news! Sooo glad FTON is getting the attention it deserves!

  • Wow awesome, but how are they re-using the silos? Are they building around them? I do not see anything like them in the picture.

    I like the idea, I just hope the huge huge huge huge poster building won’t look tacky. But I trust they will make sure it doesn’t.

  • melikecheese – It sounds like they will be removing 1 silo and reusing the other 2. When I spoke to Pete on the phone it sounded like they’ll be using them for interior walls and cutting some holes in them to adapt them into the new building’s layout.

  • jordo

    Great project! Local business reclaiming an industrial site with LEED Platinum certification while doing exciting work around the country. What’s not to like?

  • Darkstar3030

    Sounds like this can be an amazing project that benefits both Columbus and OBM. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. I’ve never been unhappy with OBM’s work in the past and I don’t see why this should be any different.

  • Because I just went over Souder and got onto McKinley, the building would be situated next to the Scioto River not the Olentangy River. But it will be awfully close to the confluence and bike paths. Biking will be a great option for the workers.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    I love their work, I hope they decorate and beautify the whole area around there. Roads/sidewalks/buildings/river etc…

  • pscantland

    Hello everyone. As usual, it’s great to hear the conversation and thoughts of the CU community. I don’t think there is an audience more engaged in the betterment of Columbus, and we value your ideas, comments, and criticism. If anyone would like to get in touch, I would welcome hearing from you at [email protected] dot com or by calling our office at 614-294-4898.

    We need a permanent home. We think we’ve found it in Franklinton, and are hopeful that we’ll be welcomed into what we believe is one of the most exciting and vibrant communities in our city. Best,

    Pete Scantland

  • ehill27

    Don’t we have enough bare walls that need covering downtown?

  • tparkerf5

    Wow. The OBM gang does it again. The vision to take that site and turn it into a jewel is much applauded. Mr. Acock has as much talent as anybody in this city. I am excited to see this thing built. Can i lease office space? I think that the biking idea for most employees is great and if surface parking could be reduced to allow more green space that would make it even Better!

  • I think this is great! Columbus needs a few structures like this that aren’t just the square and rectangular boxes like most of the rest of the new buildings (except for the curved blue Miranova condos). It will be a landmark. Wouldn’t it be neat to have that snake over the bridge leading into OBM’s iconic building in Franklinton!

  • Pablo

    BTW: The correct term is Landscape Architecture.

  • Awesome stuff OBM!

  • mrpoppinzs

    I can see more projects like this taking place in East Franklinton. This is a nice design and I like it. I am a little afraid that some other developers might see this and start putting more suburban style office parks there as the land is cheap with nice proximity to downtown.

  • Um, that is awesome. Just yesterday I was merging onto 315 from 70W and looked over at the Hertz/Byers ads on that old brown tower. I was thinking that would be a perfect place for Orange Barrel to work and put up banners. This announcement is even better, excellent location!

  • rory

    Good to see that site being redeveloped. It’s an eyesore when you go fishing down there.

    The building has a lot of possibility. Hopefully it won’t be just a 120 foot billboard though and some other creative projects can be put up. The Philadelphia Museum of Art just did a nice project there that was nice to drive around and check out.


    I don’t think a 12 story Pabst Blue Ribbon ad towering over downtown will be as exciting.

  • Can we have more information on the project? Is there locational and site plan? How many stories of occupiable space are they proposing What exactly is the variance they need to get support from the FBOT and FAC? The rendering looks like a fairly preliminary design for a 2-story glass box with the giant triangular billboard sitting on top. Giant billboard is not always a bad thing (unless you are these people: http://www.nobillboards.com/), the key is scale and where and how the billboard is being seen. This can be a neat project and Acock with MSI is as good as a design team as you can get in Columbus.

  • Displaced Columbusite

    okay, I didn’t ask before, but I will now. Walker, did they discuss how they will use the land by the river once the damns are removed?

  • pscantland

    Tim, thanks for your comment. We are still in the very preliminary stages of design, and will share our siteplan, additional renderings, etc. With regard to the structure on top, our intention is to have very restrictive limitations in terms of how much of the display area can be commercial, etc. We will likely model it on the standards we have downtown, where I think it’s fair to say our program has been embraced.

  • This is great news from a great company. Its one thing to grow as quickly as they have, its another thing to make this kind of investment in the F-ton community with all the extra effort that comes along with a LEED certification.

  • people211

    I’m still stuck on the 94k a year thing… anyone else? I could definitely put up with being the victim of office gossip and micro-management for that kind of paycheck.. but that’s off topic. And I’m sure this company is probably one of the funnest places to work too. Envy sux!

  • dahopper

    Wonderful location & project!

  • columbusmike

    Great news for Franklinton. I’m a little disappointed to see a billboard tower….I think something a little more creative than a banner tower would be a better fit to their organization. Hopefully they play with this a bit more in the design phase. I’m guessing the people on this site may have some great ideas.

    All-in-all, it’s good to see their commitment to the Columbus community.

  • columbusmike

    The Seattle Space needle is only approximately 500 feet (OBM’s tower would be 120 feet). Why not go a little higher and create a billboard + tourist/advertising museum/expo center/tower…..I see lots of potential for a tourist type attraction (plus Columbus is lacking in cultural amenities) and it could significantly bring attention to their business.


  • Pickerington_Kyle

    @Columbusmike I’ve always loved the idea of having our own sort of post card type tourist tower. If we were to have one, it should be 500 feet and be in downtown or close to.

  • columbusmike

    I was being somewhat silly, but it would be interesting to have a landmark tourist attraction…although Columbus isn’t yet the tourist destination.

  • Pickerington_Kyle

    Idk maybe we should have an indoor ski slope? Resort? Worlds tallest rollercoaster?

  • GentlemanGene

    That seems like a pretty ambitious project for a company with 24 employees in the city… Are they planning to expand, or do they just prefer REALLY big offices?

  • mypart912

    Is anything going on with this?

  • GreatComment

    This looks like the uglification of Columbus. Who approved this build? Seriously, it is going to be the biggest billboard obstruction ever in Columbus’ downtown region. Poke a stick in my eye, why don’t you?

  • Ekdeck77

    Way to design a building/billboard that is surrounded by freeways but not visible from a driver from any location except people driving 670 West… If texting is a problem then why are we distracting drivers on the most congested and most difficult section of highway in the city of Columbus… I have to totally turn my head, while driving, to look at the ugliest concrete building in the Columbus skyline. Highway billboards are so 90’s… Two thumbs down for Orange Barrel Media Creativity…

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