As a traveling musician 30 years ago, I conducted title searches to supplement my income. But after acquiring a small interest in a title company in 1978, I put down my guitar to enter the industry full-time. I later founded Stewart Title of Columbus in 1997 and have had the pleasure to watch three very distinct Ohio cities change with ebbs and flows of the economy.
With its auto, steel and manufacturing companies, Cleveland has a more blue-collar feel than Cincinnati and Columbus. But with recent growth in facilities such as the Cleveland Clinic, and a new one million square-foot hospital development downtown, we can expect to see the regional healthcare industry grow as these new projects spur ancillary medical buildings. The addition of new office buildings and hotels will bolster our commercial business.
Cincinnati, on the other hand, is an older, historic city and operates on different business practices, mostly directed by attorneys. Located on the border of Ohio and Kentucky, most of its real estate growth is happening on the other side of the river, in northern Kentucky.
Of Ohio’s three major cities, Columbus has the most interesting real estate market. With major industries like healthcare, banking and education, Columbus’ predominantly white-collar business landscape has been more resilient in the face of economic spikes and valleys. And as the biggest city in Ohio and home to Ohio State University, there has been significant job growth in the past few years.
Columbus has a vibrant commercial market, with large companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Limited Brands, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel based in the area. Additionally, the city’s close proximity to 50 percent of the US population, as well as to warehouse and logistics sites, is turning Columbus into a major distribution center. There are even plans for a major rail hub that will encourage distribution business and create an estimated 10,000 jobs.
Outside of the three major cities, energy projects are changing our more rural areas. The Marcellus shale field in eastern Ohio, as well as a major wind farm on the western side of the state, has created an influx of people, hotels and offices into traditionally poor and underdeveloped areas.
At Stewart, our goal is to become a partner in each step of the transaction, from helping developers obtain raw ground to their development of mixed-use facilities, eventually handing a deal off to our residential branch once construction is complete and the building is ready for tenants.
Throughout the transaction, our job is to be prepared to handle challenges without slowing down the deal. We’re deeply committed to understanding the process and removing barriers before they are even recognized. And beyond ensuring smooth and transparent transactions, we strive to build strong, lasting relationships with our customers.