Rite Rug first tenant at Whitehall tech park

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March 6, 2014

Whitehall has landed its first tenant for its fledgling business park, a move that officials hope will jump-start activity there.

Rite Rug will lease a 150,000-square-foot space in the Airport South Commerce & Tech Park, the city announced yesterday.

“Economic development is a momentum business, and getting an anchor or new business with the reputation of a Rite Rug will help us with other developers,” said Zach Woodruff, Whitehall’s director of development.

“Getting them as our first new tenant will be instrumental in getting the second and third.”

Columbus-based Rite Rug will use the space in the former Kroger warehouse as a distribution center and wholesale and outlet showroom.

The company has already moved its property-management division there.

“We’re excited to be here. ... We see this as a great partnership with Whitehall,” said Mickey Goldberg, president of Rite Rug. He is the third generation of his family to lead the company, which was founded in 1934.

Rite Rug had revenue of $180 million in 2013 and expects this to increase to $205 million this year, Goldberg said.

The flooring company has outperformed others in the still-struggling housing industry, he said.

“We’re growing at a pace of 20 to 30 percent a year.”

Rite Rug has 550 employees and expects about 30 to work in the Whitehall business. It has 11 central Ohio locations, as well as retail stores and installation centers in 10 other states.

The accessibility to major highways and Columbus’ location in the center of Rite Rug’s regional ring of operations made the business park attractive.

“We liked the locations and the space,” Goldberg said. “The building was very solid and didn’t need much updating. It had the docks and space we needed and was up to code.”

The construction of the showroom at 4450 Poth Rd. required the most renovation. Its completion date is still to be determined, Goldberg said.

Whitehall announced the creation of the business park in February. The 350-acre site has a variety of properties, including vacant buildings and open space that can be developed. It is located just south of Port Columbus, along Poth Road between Hamilton and Young roads.

Woodruff said the park’s advantages include its location and “the combination of available properties from 1,500 to 300,000 square feet that can be customized for any business and available land for development.”

swartenberg@dispatch.com

@stevewartenberg