Steve Rogers

About Steve Rogers

Assistant News Director/Assignment Editor; degree in finance and administration from Yale University; 35 years experience in journalism.

Business Park Owner Optimistic

COLUMBUS, mISS. (wcbi) — He’s got two long-term tenants and by next spring, he hopes to be 60 percent committed.

And within 18 months, he hopes to have as many as 300 people working.

That’s good news for Columbus and the Old Omnova plant site off Highway 69 South.

Investor Stuart Millner bought the 700,000-square-foot Omnova plant and more than 70 acres four months ago. Since then, he’s hauled out hundreds of tons of metal and sold machinery as far away as Thailand and India.

It’s all part of his plan to turn the site into a world class business park for distribution and light manufacturing.

Omnova has leased 220,000 square feet and Ohio-based Machinery Mart recently signed a five-year lease for another 60,000 square feet. Millner is transforming both spaces with new lighting and other features.

A rail car repair company may soon sign on.

“And already we can tell you there’s about 45 people that are working here. They committed on that kind of space. It’s easily in my opinion we’re going to reach our goal of 200 to 300 people within the next year for sure,” Millner said.

Millner is redoing the interior of every building, cleaning up the exTeriors and parking lots, and plans new landscaping. He also plans to add a new entrance off Highway 69 South to serve Omnova’s distribution and other potential tenants on the property’s north side.

He hopes to have most of that work — its amounts to an investment of about $25,000 a week — completed by next spring.

He says he’s also open to potential development of 45 vacant acres on the north end of the property.