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Published: Friday, 1/16/2009

Columbia Gas to move to West Toledo

BLADE STAFF

After a year-long search, Columbia Gas of Ohio Inc., is expected to announce today that it is moving its local headquarters from downtown Toledo to a vacant retail center on Central Avenue near Secor Road in West Toledo.

Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge is expected to announce the move to 3222 West Central Ave. during a news conference today.

A year ago, Columbia Gas said its 135 employees would plan to leave company offices and a garage at 333 South Erie St. to permit the cleanup of pollutants believed to have accumulated under the complex for more than a century.

The company had expected to move to a temporary location more than six months ago and then find a permanent area headquarters, possibly outside the city. But for now, the work force has remained downtown.

The downtown site houses 30 office workers and 105 vehicle mechanics, along with service technicians and other employees assigned to the road.

The new location on West Central Avenue has no garage, but Mr. Partridge is expected to explain how the utility will deal with that situation at the announcement, a Columbia Gas spokesman said.

The move to be announced today is likely to satisfy Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who decried any thoughts of the utility's workers and office moving outside Toledo.

The Toledo office is considered a regional office, but handles no customer service issues. Those issues area handled by company call centers elsewhere.

Columbia Gas, a division of NiSource Inc., has its company headquarters in Columbus.



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