By LOU WILIN
Beleaguered by floods and fire in recent years, Findlay’s downtown will get a major boost in the next three years thanks to Marathon Petroleum Corp. Marathon will spend $80 million to add two office buildings and two multi-level parking garages to its campus.
Gone will be the former Elks and RCM Architects buildings, at 601 and 613 S. Main St. Demolition dates have not yet been set, Marathon Petroleum reported. Trees, green spaces and employee gathering areas will replace them.
“There’s a lot of green space,” Marathon Petroleum Chief Executive Officer Gary Heminger said of the plan.
“We want to open this up, make it look more like a campus,” he told Findlay Rotary Club on Monday.
In the future, a corporate hotel/conference center for use by Marathon and possibly other companies could be built at the northeast corner of Main and Lincoln streets. Marathon is seeking investors to build that.
Marathon’s growth, combined with recent expansions at Blanchard Valley Hospital, the University of Findlay, and the coming $10 million Marathon Performing Arts Center downtown, will make Findlay stand out, Heminger said.
“Findlay should have the template for downtown community for, I think, all of America,” he said.
From Marathon’s standpoint, it will be addressing its office and parking needs. It has added 200 employees in two and a half years, bringing its Findlay total to 1,800. It has been renting space around town for employees. Plus, pipeline subsidiary MPLX LP, currently located in the Marathon Petroleum complex, will add 150 Findlay jobs by December 2017.
So, Marathon will add more than 550 work spaces to its complex with construction of a six-story, 120,000-square-foot MPLX LP headquarters on Hardin Street, and a three-story multi-use office/services building at the southwest corner of Sandusky and Beech streets.
The MPLX LP headquarters will front on Hardin Street, opposite the Marathon Petroleum main entrance.
“All over town we have employees in many different spots. You lose a lot of business continuity not having people together,” Heminger said after his speech. The construction projects will provide room for “more employees, much more parking, much more office space.”
Marathon Petroleum leaders took a serious look at using the former Elks building, but it just would not have worked, Heminger said.
“We did an exhaustive study of the Elks building to see whether or not it would fit our plans going forward, and it just didn’t, the amount of work that had to be done to make it compliant with today’s offices,” Heminger said.
Taking down the Elks building and the RCM building next door “just gives us the ability to build this campus out,” he said.
Two parking garages will be built. Construction will start in April or May on one at the southeast corner of Sandusky and Beech streets. It will have 800 spaces on five levels.
A second parking garage, south of Hardin Street and over Beech Street, will have 1,200 spaces on six levels. Beech Street will remain open under the parking garage.
Ground-level parking spaces for employees and visitors will remain south of Hardin Street, west of East Street and north of Lincoln Street.
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