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WiFi, shared forklift attract businesses to ‘co-warehousing’ complex

Posted By: Toledo Blade on September 15, 2022.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


Ben Mashni wasn’t liking the options as he searched for a small warehouse space to serve as home base to install commercial water meters in Toledo.

Available spaces tended to be in shopworn areas with minimal security and had monthly price tags above $2,000, said Mr. Mashni, a regional vice president for Vanguard Utility Service.

Then in July a colleague at Vanguard found the RISE Commercial District at 2550 Tracy Road in Northwood. A $999 monthly lease has not only yielded a climate-controlled 30-by-40-foot garage stall to operate from but several key ancillary services built into the lease.

Those include on-site WiFi, unlimited use of a RISE forklift, access to a conference room, camera-guarded security and clean restrooms at the ends of every multi-tenant warehouse.

“When we saw what was included, we kind of knew it was the right spot,” Mr. Mashni said.

RISE Commercial District based in Indianapolis, is a Midwest leader in so-called co-warehousing, which allows companies to lease parts of multi-tenant steel buildings under a contract that includes a host of shared services.

RISE has built a complex in Northwood that features seven commercial buildings on 10 acres with plans for seven more multi-tenant buildings.

The buildings resemble large self-storage units with bays of varying size and high overhead roll-up doors. The $10 million Northwood district opened about a year ago. It has 21 tenants so far or about 50 percent of the units available.

Rise has 13 complexes in the Midwest, either open or under construction, including three in Columbus, two in the Cleveland area, and another outside of Cincinnati.

Each features a general office building in the front of the district equipped with a conference room, individual offices and a kitchenette, said Allison Barber, RISE Director of Marketing. The concept is similar to the co-working office trend, in which tenants not needing major office space share a building to save money and have access to services.

Mr. Mashni said the WiFi in the storage stall being leased by Vanguard is crucial because it allows staff to remotely monitor the functioning of commercial water meters it is installing across the City of Toledo.

Owensboro, Ky.-based Vanguard is installing the meters, which weigh between 200 and 500 pounds each, as a subcontractor to industrial giant Johnson Controls Inc.

Vanguard uses the forklift provided by RISE to pick-up, load and store the meters that come from a Johnson Controls warehouse in Toledo.

The conference room also is available for meetings or seeing customers, he said.

Vanguard has installed about 100 of the 667 meters it is tasked with installing over the next year or so, Mr. Mashni said. One of the attractions of RISE, he said, is that it offers flexible leasing options that allow companies to move in and out without being locked into a long-term lease.

RISE offers leases as short as one month, Ms. Barber said.

Some units also have roll-up doors on each side of the building so that trucks can roll in and out for easy loading and unloading, she said. Semi-trucks also can drive through the complex, unlike many self-storage units.

Shanelle Childress said she was one of the first to lease a unit at the Northwood complex in October for her growing online shopping business, Shanelle’s Online Shop.

She had tried to operate her shipping and procurement from an unheated storage bay near the airport. But she said she froze during the winter and couldn’t conveniently print labels and operate without WiFi. She had to go home to complete those tasks.

So though her monthly lease about quintupled to $800 at the RISE Commercial District, she said she has been able to buy and sell lights, faucets and other commodities that Shanelle’s specializes in much more efficiently than in the past. She stores the product there that is often bought in bulk or on pallets at big box clearance auctions.

Moreover, she said she appreciates the security in the Northwood park. The district has security cameras and entry is through a keypad-operated gate.

Ms. Childress said she finally decided to leave the previous storage unit after a pickup she parked there overnight had its catalytic converter stolen.

“That was the last straw,” she said.

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