Rogue Fitness Opens Distribution Portion of New facility in Milo-Grogan
Today, Rogue Fitness begins distribution operations in 200,000 square feet of its new 600,000 square foot facility at the corner of East Fifth and Cleveland Avenues.
Construction on the facility began in 2015, with the manufacturing portion set to open on November 1, headquarters set to open January 1, and full transition to be completed in March.
Ashley Felger Smith of Rogue said in an e-mail that the project started with 350 employees, and 475 people are employed by Rogue currently. The company is still looking for 90 more employees.
Smith added that Rogue recently held a job fair at the Boys and Girls Club with 250 attendees.
“Moving jobs into any community can only have a positive effect,” she says.
Steven R. Schoeny, Director of the Columbus Department of Development said he thinks the new facility gives people more reason to look at Milo-Grogan as a place to live.
“We think it’s going to draw more people to the Cleveland Avenue… and provide the potential for jobs for folks not just in Milo-Grogan but all along the Cleveland Avenue corridor and all along the Fifth Avenue corridor,” he says.
Smith says the Milo-Grogan community has welcomed Rogue with open arms and she anticipates the them being great partners, on top of logistical reasons for choosing the site.
“The Timken site represents the old-school manufacturing feel that we were looking for,” Smith says. “We wanted to be in the city versus moving to the outskirts. This will allow people to live in the surrounding neighborhoods and simply walk or bike to work.”
Eric Wagenbrenner at Wagenbrenner Development dealt directly with Rogue Fitness in selling the Cleveland Avenue site.
He says the company negotiated renting the property to Rogue, but decided to sell due to the specific modifications and equipment Rogue would have to have in the space. Wagenbrenner feels it will be a good use of the space.
“We work closely with the Milo-Grogan neighborhood and we just knew this was a great use for them, with the amount of jobs it’s bringing to the neighborhood,” he says.
Schoeny says he sees more manufacturing plants coming into Columbus, but only in specific situations, naming the Columbus Castings site on Parsons Avenue and West Broad Street as examples of prospective locations for developments like Rogue.
“I think there are a few places where you can do it, this is one of them,” he says. “They’ve got to be pretty unique sites, and it really is just taking old industrial sites and thinking about them in the new industrial framework where you’ve got a mix of design skills, traditional manufacturing skills and manufacturing that is as much craftsmanship as it is anything else.”