When the deals make a difference: Bringing Niagara Bottling to the Columbus area

The solar panels outside of Niagara Bottling's facility in Gahanna, Ohio.

The solar panels outside of Niagara Bottling’s facility in Gahanna, Ohio.

 

by Dan Rafter

Some commercial deals make a greater impact than others. Brad Kitchen points to the deal he helped close in 2012 that brought Niagara Bottling to Gahanna, Ohio, a community located less than 10 miles from Columbus.

Niagara Bottling purchased a 308,000-square-foot facility in Gahanna for $7 million. The bottled water business resulted in the creation of more than 70 jobs in the area, jobs with an average hourly wage of nearly $20.

For Kitchen, president of Alterra Real Estate Advisors in Columbus, the deal was a chance to make a positive impact in his community.

“We got a great deal on the building and they have an excellent facility in a great community,” Kitchen said.

Niagara Bottling supplies single-serve, private-label bottled water to grocery, club store, convenience and wholesale customers across the United States. The Columbus-area plant focuses on product manufacturing.

When looking for locations, Niagara also considered Louisville and Detroit before choosing Columbus.

Kitchen said that the city of Gahanna “rolled out the red carpet” to attract the bottling company. Economic development corporations helped, too, such as Columbus 2020 and JobsOhio. Kitchen said that Ohio Gov. John Kasich also took time to promote the benefits of doing business in the state and region.

“It was great to be part of the team to help get the deal done, incuding economic incentives,” Kitchen said.

Kitchen, of course, had to do his part, too. This meant performing what he called an “exhaustive and fast” search of area properties. The key was satisfying the heavy power requirements that the plant would require while also finding a site that had easy access to groundwater.

Niagara even took Kitchen on a tour of one of their potential spring-water suppliers. As Kitchen says, he learned plenty about the process of sourcing and bottling water.

“There is a lot more that goes into it then you would think,” he said.

Finding the right facility took time. Kitchen said that he and his team would find buildings that looked right. They would then call the power company only to discover that it would not be able to provide the amount of power that the building needed without a delay of 18 months. The problem? Niagara needed the facility up and running in just a few months, not 18.

Eventually, Kitchen and his team found Niagara the right facility, at 1700 Eastgate Parkway in Gahanna. The company has been operating at the facility since 2013.

Today, the facility is employing local residents and providing an economic boost to the Columbus region. And Kitchen is proud to have played a role in bringing the company to the area.

“Gahanna really impressed them on how quickly they would work to help Niagara, and do whatever it takes to get them there,” Kitchen said.

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