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Aug 28, 2015

PACE guidance change opens program to FHA homeowners for first time

At the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, President Obama announced new guidance for the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program that should “remove existing barriers and accelerate the use of PACE financing for single-family housing,” reports. PACE loan programs allow property owners to finance energy efficiency improvements, including water-conservation measures, energy efficient window or solar panel installations, and adding insulation, through loans that are paid back through a line item on their property tax bills (for more on this, see Ohio Green Strategies' June 17, 2015 blog post). One barrier to the program has been the first-lien status of these loans in most states, which is unpopular with mortgage lenders. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) established a new PACE guidance requiring PACE loans “to be subordinate to FHA single-family first-mortgage financing” and also allowing the financing to transfer to the new owners when properties are sold. Stacey Lawson, CEO of PACE administrator Ygrene Energy Fund, said, “PACE is now at the forefront of national energy efficiency policy.” For more, read the full article and the full FHA press release, or click here for Bricker & Eckler’s Energy SIDs and PACE Financing Resource Center.  

Posted by C. Bell in  Federal Updates   |  Permalink


Aug 27, 2015

Dayton loses two call centers and 2,000 new jobs to Hamilton

Two companies came looking for space in the Dayton area to bring new call centers this year, but both ended up choosing properties in Hamilton that better met their needs, the Dayton Daily News reports. StarTek Inc., a business process outsourcing company based on Colorado, was looking for space it could move into quickly, and “seriously considered a location in Middletown,” according to Marty Hohenberger, vice president of business development for the Dayton Development Coalition. Barclaycard, a credit card servicer, was also looking for a facility that could be opened quickly, with space for 1,500 employees in a small community “where it could have a big impact.” Both companies ultimately chose existing facilities in Hamilton. Tony Taylor, a partner for Crest Commercial Realty in Dayton, said, “[g]enerally, a call center’s a big, single-story type of building with a sea of parking around it in the suburbs, and we probably don’t have that product readily available.” Combined, the two companies will bring to Hamilton more than 2,000 jobs as well as millions of dollars in investments to renovate the formerly vacant buildings. For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Aug 19, 2015

Redevelopment of historic Dayton building fits city’s goals

The historic Weustoff and Getz building on Wayne Avenue could bring new residential and commercial space to downtown Dayton, which fits perfectly with the city’s strategy to “preserve vacant, historic buildings and stimulate downtown development,” reports the Dayton Daily News. Developers are working on plans to turn the 1868 building into 40 loft apartment units, with 20,000 square feet of restaurant and commercial space on the lower levels. The project has been awarded both state and federal tax credits. Amy Walbridge, special projects administrator for the city’s Department of Economic Development, said “it’s the city’s job to help private individuals put together applications for historic tax credits and advise redevelopers to take on historic projects” to support historic preservation. For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Aug 11, 2015

Akron’s designation as a “TechHire City” means high-tech job training for hundreds

A federal initiative that “aims to connect Americans with well-paying technology jobs through training and education” will help up to 400 people in the Akron area “get training for high tech jobs by the end of 2016,” the Akron Beacon Journal reports. The White House recently named Akron part of the TechHire Initiative, which will enable Summit County and its partners to request up to $6 million in federal grant money from the Department of Labor in order to offer that job training. The Akron/Summit County plan includes community college partners working with higher education, public workforce, government and community-based organizations to “offer training, host internships and apprenticeships and then help people get full-time jobs.” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said, “Akron is a hub for technology and manufacturing innovation — and its new designation as a TechHire City will give Akron the opportunity to strengthen northeast Ohio’s workforce and hire more Ohioans.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Aug 11, 2015

Miamisburg approves package for Evenflo to stay

In a move to keep Evenflo’s corporate headquarters in the city, Miamisburg City Council approved a $400,000 loan the company had requested, the Dayton Daily News reports. Evenflo employs approximately 120 people, and its annual payroll “of between $11.5 million and $12 million,” generates “more than $260,000 a year in income tax revenue,” according to the article. Evenflo’s headquarters have been in Miamisburg since 2008; if the company stays in Miamisburg, it may add another 20 jobs in the next three years. Goodbaby International Holdings Ltd. acquired Evenflo in June 2014; since then, Evenflo has explored relocation options including Boston, where Goodbaby already has offices, and other locations in the Dayton area. A statement Evenflo released said, “Evenflo has flourished in Miamisburg for more than seven years now and we remain committed to the Dayton area. . . . we are hopeful that our relationship with the area will continue into the foreseeable future.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Financial Incentives  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jul 20, 2015

Housing plan for Grove City’s Town Center could add $1M in revenue to local businesses

The Pizzuti Company has plans to transform Grove City’s Town Center by developing an upscale apartment complex, the Southwest Messenger reports. Pizzuti planners met with city leaders and community members for a special work session June 29 to discuss their plan to turn the former lumberyard site next to City Hall into the “higher-rent” apartments. City leaders and planners hope the 120-unit complex  “will attract young professionals and empty nesters.” Planners believe the new tenants could “add close to $1 million in revenue to local businesses.” The  redevelopment plan also recommends “turning City Hall into a mixed-use building for office or retail space and restaurant space.” Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage “said the financial plan involves Pizzuti taking out $4.8 million in taxable bonds. The company would then be eligible for about $4 million in TIF (tax increment financing) funds.” Pizzuti “would guarantee a payment of $335,000 per year to the city.” For more, read the full article.

Posted by C. Bell in   |  Permalink


Jul 16, 2015

REDI Cincinnati capitalizing on All-Star Week to promote long-term economic development

Officials at REDI Cincinnati recognized their opportunity to maximize the benefit of hosting Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week by “taking advantage of the spotlight shining on Cincinnati” to promote the city to top site consultants visiting for the event, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Site consultants “are specialists hired to help identify the best locations for corporate real estate or facilities,” and REDI Cincinnati “is being as innovative as possible to show off what the region has to offer,” according to the article. REDI Cincinnati planned “a Segway tour of the city, breakfast at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza and an aerial tour of the region,” in addition to other events. Monday’s plan included an event with top executives from General Electric Co., Macy’s, Proctor & Gamble Co., Kroger Co. and others; about 150 business leaders planned to “take time out of their schedule to help REDI sell the region.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jul 15, 2015

$250M development could be coming to Hamilton Road near Route 161

The Daimler Group, The New Albany Co. and Casto have their eyes on Hamilton Road near Route 161 for a “330-acre, $250 million mixed-use development,” reports Columbus Business First. Next week, Columbus City Council will “be asked to consider the framework of an economic development agreement” that would “clear the way for the developers to build 700,000 square feet of offices, 1 million square feet of retail and nearly 800 housing units” at the site to be called Hamilton Crossing. The proposed development agreement “calls for a tax-increment financing district to pay for infrastructure.” Road improvements and the initial retail projects could be underway next year. Columbus Development Director Steve Schoeny called the area “one of the greatest undeveloped areas in the city now moving forward.” For more, read the full article.

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Financial Incentives  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jul 14, 2015

Land annex could lead to Columbiana development project

A petition to annex 183 acres in Fairfield Township into the city of Columbiana could, if approved, pave the way for a “significant development project,” according to attorney Mark Huston, who presented the request to Columbiana County commissioners, reports.  The privately owned land near Cherry Fork Road is “the subject of discussions between landowners and a private company,” Huston said, but he declined to identify the company other than as “a ‘global manufacturer’ who is deciding whether to acquire the property and begin construction.” Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck “could not release any project information other than that it is ‘not retail,’” according to the article. Huston said the company hopes to “establish operations in Columbiana” but that other sites out of Ohio are “vying for the project.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jul 13, 2015

Beachwood proposes incentive packages to retain two expanding companies

Two companies in Beachwood are looking for larger spaces as they continue to grow, and Beachwood city officials want to offer incentives to keep them and their jobs in the city, reports. Glenmede, an investment and wealth management firm, employs 23 people with a payroll of $2.5 million. Real Alloy Recycling, an aluminum recycler, has a payroll of $4.6 million, which it expects to grow to $8 million with new hires. Both companies say they need to move from their current locations to gain more space for their businesses. Beachwood Economic Development Director Jim Doutt outlined Glenmede’s plan, which includes “a one-time $50,000 occupancy grant. . . .[and] a 35-percent job retention and creation grant.” Real Alloy Recycling would also receive the $50,000 occupancy grant, “a 50-percent job retention and job creation grant, from 2016–20, for the 45 jobs Beachwood would retain, and the 32 new jobs expected to be created over those five years.” Both companies are considering Beachwood as well as other cities for their expanded operations. For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Financial Incentives  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jun 29, 2015

Belmont County FirstEnergy site could become ethane cracker plant

Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.’s R.E. Burger power plant in Belmont County could become the site for a proposed ethane cracker plant, Columbus Business First reports. An executive from FirstEnergy “has confirmed the site will house the plant if Thailand’s PTT Global Chemical Public Co. and Japan’s Marubeni Corp. decide to go through with the facility,” according the article. The multibillion-dollar plant would “take natural gas components from Ohio’s Utica shale play and the Marcellus in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and break it down for use in the plastics and chemical industry.” The Burger plant is semi-retired, and FirstEnergy “plans to fully retire the plant next spring.” President of FirstEnergy Generation James Lash said the company “is moving a machine shop from the Burger site to a spot in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in part because the cracker could soon take over the site,” according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Pittsburgh Business Times articles. 
Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jun 25, 2015

Anheuser-Busch investing $18 million in Columbus plant improvements

St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch recently announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in improvements across its U.S. operations through 2018 “to expand brewery and packaging operations, increase product innovation and improve sustainability and efficiency,” Columbus Business First reports. The Anheuser-Busch plant in northeast Columbus “is slated for an $18 million slice of that pie, with the key piece being a $4 million heat-recovery project that would take heat generated inside the brewery and redirect that into brewing operations.” According to the article, the company has invested $50 million since 2011 in the Columbus plant “for new capabilities, improved efficiency and general maintenance.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jun 17, 2015

S.B. 185 would significantly simplify PACE financing in Ohio

On June 16, 2015, Senators Seitz, Balderson and Patton introduced Senate Bill (S.B.) 185, a bill that would significantly simplify Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in Ohio. PACE financing allows Ohio property owners to construct special energy improvements on their properties and to pay the costs of the special energy improvement projects by paying special assessments due with their property taxes.

Current Ohio law requires property owners to create or join an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) in order to use PACE financing. S.B. 185 would significantly simplify the PACE process, allowing property owners to use PACE financing without creating or joining an ESID. Instead, property owners could simply choose to seek the approval of the township or municipal corporation in which the property is located. Under S.B. 185, property owners could still choose to create or join ESIDs, and existing districts would not be affected.

S.B. 185 would also revise Chapter 1710 of the Ohio Revised Code to separate the provisions on PACE financing from the provisions on traditional special improvement districts. Unlike H.B. 72, which was originally introduced as H.B. 676 and is currently pending in the House Public Utilities Committee, S.B. 185 would not authorize port authorities to serve as the primary local government involved in creating ESIDs and would not expand the list of projects eligible for PACE financing.

For more, read the full text of S.B 185.

Posted by C. Kalvas in  Financial Incentives  State Updates   |  Permalink


Jun 11, 2015

Cincinnati and Dayton port authorities bond fund finalized

A new regional economic development fund will help Cincinnati and Dayton work together to spur growth in southwest Ohio, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The Southwest Ohio Regional Bond Fund “is intended to allow the two regions to issue more bonds and attract new companies, as well as grow existing ones,” according to the article. The recently finalized fund has reserves of approximately $13.5 million, “including a $5 million letter of credit from Fifth Third Bank,” giving it the capacity to issue $80 million in bonds. Jerry Brunswick, president and executive director of the Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority, said, “[t]he broad development powers afforded to port authorities allow us to issue taxable or tax-exempt bonds through these bond funds to finance a variety of economic development projects.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Jun 01, 2015

Amazon’s Ohio plans could bring 1,000 jobs to the state

Online retail and cloud computing giant Inc.’s plans for a data center network located in Central Ohio are now official, and that could be just the beginning, Columbus Business First reports. During a press conference with Governor John Kasich, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, Paul Misener, said the company’s Big Data network is “just the beginning of Amazon in the state.” John Minor, President of JobsOhio, estimates that Amazon will bring 1,000 jobs to the state over the next few years, “in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  JobsOhio/ODSA  State Updates   |  Permalink


May 28, 2015

Van Wert mega-site ready for big business

City officials in Van Wert are putting up a huge welcome-mat to draw a major industry to their area, as its 1,600-acre mega-site has recently received certification from the state, reports. The Ohio Job Ready Mega-Site is “shovel-ready,” says Van Wert mayor Don Farmer, with “assets that include water, wastewater, electric, natural gas, highway access, a rail spur, pre-annexation agreements and fiber optics,” according to the article. The city has hired site selectors to help find a company interested in the space; city leaders hope to find a company that will bring between 600 and 1,000 jobs to the area. A promotional video from Van Wert economic development director Cynthia Leis’ office notes that the site “is within 600 miles of more than half the U.S. and Canadian populations and a day’s drive from more than 60 percent of North America’s manufacturing capacity.” The city received a $5 million grant in 2009 “to prepare the site and get it outfitted as a job-ready mega-site.” For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


May 21, 2015

$124M development project expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Cincinnati

A plan that will bring over $95.5 million in investment to redevelop the remaining eight acres of Medpace Inc.’s Madisonville campus was unanimously approved by Cincinnati City Council, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Medpace and its development partner, RBM Development, will “create a $60 million, 217-room hotel and conference center; two new office buildings totaling 160,000 square feet…and multiple commercial buildings” on the property. The City expects the project to bring 220 temporary construction jobs and 774 permanent jobs. The deal includes a tax increment financing district that will direct increases in property tax revenue back to the site for infrastructure improvements, which could include parking garages and lots, pedestrian bridges, walkways, and improvements to roadways. In addition, amendments to a “job creation tax credit agreement between the city and Medpace” will allow Medpace to “keep the 55 percent income tax credit it has already earned and continue to earn at that rate for the rest of the agreement,” while Medpace agrees to stay in Madisonville through 2022. For more, read the full article

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Financial Incentives  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


May 14, 2015

Finance authority grants first loan for energy improvement project

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority has issued $655,000 in financing to Trinity Lutheran Seminary, a 501(c)(3) organization, for a “lighting and building automation energy improvement project,” according to a recent press release from the authority. Rick Barger, president of the seminary, said, “We are proud to receive the first low-interest loan from the Columbus Region Energy Fund, which will allow us to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint.”  The Columbus Region Energy Loan Fund program “can provide financing for Central Ohio businesses, non-profits and local governments to fund cost-effective, energy efficiency improvements resulting in lower energy costs.” Investments eligible for the loans include “energy efficiency retrofits to existing buildings” and renewable energy and alternative energy projects. For more, read the full release

Posted by R. McCarthy in  Regional Updates   |  Permalink


Mar 05, 2015

JobsOhio reports increased growth in 2014, plans to continue momentum in 2015

JobsOhio, a nonprofit corporation that works to drive job creation and new capital investments in the state, released its 2014 Annual Report and 2015 Strategic Plan, which reflects a significant increase over 2013, according to a recent press release. JobsOhio, along with its Network Partners, “successfully assisted 276 companies that committed to create 21,377 new jobs for Ohioans and make $6.1 billion in new capital investments,” according to the release. Those new commitments represent increases of nearly 20 percent for new jobs and 72 percent for capital investments over 2013 year-end metrics. JobsOhio’s strategic plan for 2015 is to “remain focused on accelerating job growth and increasing capital investment across businesses of all sizes” as well as to “ramp up efforts to strengthen workforce development programs.” To read the full 2014 report and 2015 plan, click here

Posted by R. McCarthy in  JobsOhio/ODSA   |  Permalink






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