Athens County Port Authority Holds Groundbreaking Event for Building Project

The Athens County Port Authority hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, September 9, for its speculative building project at the Bill Theisen Industrial Park and celebrated the $5 million grant award from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The building will be 60,000 SF, expandable up to 120,000 SF, and will house light manufacturing and biotech companies.

In addition to the EDA, project partners in attendance included JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), the Athens County Economic Development Council, the Athens County Commissioners, and the Ohio University Innovation Center.

“The construction of the new speculative building at the Bill Theisen Industrial Park will provide an attractive option for businesses looking to Ohio for growth and opportunity, and it signifies the support and investment that JobsOhio and the DeWine/Husted administration are making to secure the future of the Southeast Ohio region,” said J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO, JobsOhio.

“Historically, when companies decide they need a new location, seventy-five to eighty percent of the time they look for existing buildings rather than a site for a construction project,” said OhioSE President Mike Jacoby. “The Athens community has a great track record of spinning innovative companies out of Ohio University and the Innovation Center.  I think there is great potential to fill this building with just such a company.”

Mollie Fitzgerald, Director of the Athens County Economic Development Council, acknowledged those who worked on this project before her saying, “this development has been a priority since I became Director of the EDC, and whereas I get to see it across the finish line, it’s possible due to the work put forth by previous directors and board members, our county commissioners, and our amazing state and regional partners.”

The speculative building will result in the creation of 100 jobs and generate $5 million in private investment. It will help diversify the Athens economy and create living wage jobs that support a good quality of life.

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Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is the JobsOhio Network Partner for southern, eastern, and southeastern Ohio, providing economic development work and resources in 25 rural counties; they are the newest and geographically the largest of the six regions across the state. OhioSE partners closely with regional development districts, local economic development offices, state agencies, and other entities to expand, retain, and attract businesses in the counties they serve.

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