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Published: Friday, 7/4/2014 - Updated: 3 weeks ago

The Andersons goes shopping for new headquarters location

Firm’s recent growth has outpaced space

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

After 34 years at its present location in Maumee’s Arrowhead Industrial Park, The Andersons Inc. is looking for a new home.

The Fortune 500 company confirmed on Thursday that it is shopping for a site on which to build a replacement headquarters because space at its 480 W. Dussel Dr. site has been maxed out and the 103,000-square-foot building has no possibility of expansion.

The company, which posted a profit of $89.9 million in 2013 on revenues of $5.6 billion, plans to stay in northwest Ohio and prefers the metro Toledo area.

But where The Andersons might go, and when are unknown.

The company has been tight-lipped about its plans.

“I can confirm this and can say that we are looking,” said Debra Crow, The Andersons spokesman.

The agribusiness, which deals primarily in grain sales and purchases but also leases and repairs rail cars, produces ethanol, and operates retail stores, has looked at a variety of options.

“We looked at ... existing structures, vacant land, and developed land,” Ms. Crow said. “We have ruled out some things. We’re confident we will be building a new structure,” she added. “Ideally, we are talking a matter of weeks [to decide]. We would like to get things underway soon.”

But Ms. Crow emphasized that the 67-year-old company has yet to select a site for its new headquarters.

She also said the company has not drafted an overall budget for the project and has not applied for any financial incentives or tax breaks.

“We are in the very early stages on possibles incentives,” she said.

Ms. Crow hinted that The Andersons, a company traditionally known for its steadfast family values, conservative manner, and generous philanthropy toward the communities in which it operates, is not looking to make a big splash or image statement with its new headquarters.

Primarily, she said, it wants to solve its current space problems and provide for potential expansion as the company continues to grow.

Maumee city administrator John Jezak said the city has been aware that The Andersons has been seeking a site for a new headquarters.

“They have been apparently looking for a site that could be anywhere, I suppose. I can confirm that we were aware of that. But I have no insights as to all their priorities or timetables,” Mr. Jezak said. “We hope that when everything is all said and done that they stay here. Maumee has a lot to offer as a business location.”

Ms. Crow said the new headquarters would need to accommodate about 500 people at the outset — 400 from the company’s Dussel Drive headquarters plus 100 more from offices at its grain facilities on Illinois Avenue in Maumee — and then more personnel later as The Andersons continues to expand and grow.

“I think that basically, it’s about that we’ve experienced a lot of growth in the last five to 10 years,” Ms. Crow said. “We are hiring at a pretty rapid rate. We’ve looked around and decided that the growth that we’ve been experiencing for the past eight years or so is really perpetuating. So we need room to grow.”

Since 2012, the company has made seven acquisitions. 

With each acquisition, the headquarters staff grows by several people, Ms. Crow said.

So more than a year ago, the company sent out requests to the area’s commercial real estate industry asking agents to submit properties that would accommodate a potential new headquarters of at least 150,000 square feet.

The Andersons also requested that its search be kept strictly confidential. Out of respect for the Maumee firm, the search was kept extremely quiet, although many real estate agents and government administrators knew about it.

“They kept it very, very quiet. And it was a big search,” said one real estate agent who asked not to be named.

Agents submitted numerous properties in Rossford, Perrysburg, Maumee, Monclova Township, and Toledo that involved undeveloped and developed land.

Reportedly, the company has reviewed vacant land off of Ford Street and Longbow Drive in Arrowhead Park directly west of its current headquarters.

It also examined land in the 200-acre Triad Industrial Park, which is in Maumee but also is in a joint economic development zone between Toledo, Maumee, and Monclova Township.

The three entities split the proceeds evenly from a 1.5 percent income tax.

But The Andersons also reportedly received submissions to review land near Levis Commons in Perrysburg and the Crossroads Parkway area of Rossford. Sources said the company was also asked to consider the vacant 56-acre Southwyck Shopping Center property on Reynolds Road in South Toledo.

Toledo councilman Matt Cherry said he had not heard that The Andersons was interested in the Southwyck site, but said he would welcome such a move.

“I think it’s a great valuable idea and something worth looking into for sure. It seems like The Andersons throughout our area has been a good neighbor, so that would be very encouraging,” Mr. Cherry said. “We have a lot of areas in Toledo that could use some revitalization and that would be great if it were to happen there.”

The Andersons has leased and occupied its three-story building since it was built in 1980. At the time, construction costs totaled $5 million and the building, built by the Lathrop Co. and designed by SSOE Inc., was jointly owned by two partners, Lathrop and Entelco Corp., a division of Webstrand Corp. The building is still owned by the same general partnership.

When opened, the building housed 260 employees — The Andersons’ financial staff, consumer and processing groups, retail, fertilizer, seed, and chemical divisions.

Since that time the company has added railcar leasing and repair, and ethanol production and added nearly 150 employees.

The building now houses six divisions: grain, ethanol, plant nutrients, rail, turf & specialty, and retail.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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