The clamor of bulldozers on a patch of former farmland in rural Carroll County, Ohio makes Glenn Enslen, the county’s economic development director, feel “like an eight-year-old kid on Christmas morning,” he said.
The 330-acre tract of Appalachian property is being transformed into an industrial park. The first tenant will be MRC Global Inc. (MRC), a Houston-based pipe and valve supplier that will serve Ohio’s emerging oil and natural-gas industry.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is bringing new development to the Midwest, creating demand for commercial real estate in the region even as landlords struggle to pay off earlier property loans. Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK), the second- largest U.S. natural-gas supplier, has acquired $2 billion in land leases comprising 1.35 million acres in Ohio and contributing to the beginnings of an economic recovery in the state. The company has leased or bought real estate in towns including Canton and St. Clairsville, according to Pete Kenworthy, a company spokesman.
“Thank God for the oil and gas business,” said Tim Putnam, president of Putnam Properties Inc., a commercial real estate company based in Canton, about 60 miles south of Cleveland. “It’s created a lot of optimism among people that live here.” Read more.