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LEDC breaks ground on new spec building (WITH GALLERY)

SOUTH POINT — Local and regional political and business leaders gathered at The Point industrial park on Thursday to celebrate the beginning of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the region.

A groundbreaking took place for the new Spec 13 building, across from the FedEx facility on Commerce Drive, which the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation said will bring economic growth to the region and serve as a home to both existing and new businesses.

“We stand here, proud of our partners,” Lawrence County Commission President DeAnna Holliday said, noting that the building will be 60,000 square feet and host crane and racking amenities to entice tenants.

The building will have a 34’ minimum clearance height and will also be designed to allow a future office appendage add-on.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, described it as “a great day” for Lawrence County. He noted that he first toured the Point when he took office in 2011.

“The growth seen here through today is astonishing,” Johnson said. “It’s not the first time I’ve been here for a groundbreaking and it certainly won’t be the last.”

Johnson said, far too often, he hears of economic projects that never get off the ground or “fizzle out.”

“But that is not the case here in Lawrence County,” he said, stating The Point has been successful by being situated on the Ohio River, having low utility costs and having “a workforce ready and willing to go to work.”

“To see this kind of growth is unbelievable, especially in Appalachia, which is so often forgotten,” Johnson said.

The keynote speaker for the event was Lydia Mihalik, the director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, which LEDC said is “responsible for investing more than $1 billion annually in communities, businesses and individuals to contribute to a better life for all Ohioans.”

Appointed to the position by Gov. Mike DeWine, Mihalik previously served as mayor of Findlay.

“This is another opportunity for the region to celebrate,” she said. “It really gives our partners an opportunity. When the facilities are already built, it take less time to get jobs online.”

Mihalik said the state’s business climate is “pretty darn good and we’ve weathered the storm.”

She pledged the governor would continue to work with the region.

“In this administration, Appalachia is a priority and will continue to be,” she said, stating one of their goals is improved broadband service for the area.

“We have local leaders making things happen and great partners in Columbus,” she said.