New authority formed to own and operate Dayton Convention Center

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners agreed to create a new joint city and county entity to own and operate the Dayton Convention Center, a move “hailed as an important step to ensuring the convention center will have the funding needed to make capital investments to keep the facility competitive and attract more business,” the Dayton Daily News reports. The Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority “has the power to increase the lodgings tax to pay to upgrade the aging facility,” according to the article. A task force that studied the convention center “estimated it needed between $20 million to $28 million in improvements.” The new authority will also “help the community compete for convention groups . . . and many other types of business that will bring outside dollars and visitors in,” Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau President Jacquelyn Powell said. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

H2Ohio water quality plan announced

On November 14, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled his long-awaited H2Ohio Water Quality Plan, a program aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff and harmful algal blooms, improving water infrastructure (including tackling the problem of failing septic systems) and preventing lead contamination to water in Ohio. On phosphorus runoff reduction, the primary area of focus will be reducing runoff in the Maumee River Watershed and Lake Erie through a certification process that will provide farmers with economic incentives if they develop a certified nutrient management plan. On water infrastructure, Ohio EPA will head up H2Ohio’s directive to fund infrastructure projects in disadvantaged communities to ensure access to safe drinking water and quality sewer infrastructure. As part of this effort, H2Ohio will fund the replacement of failing septic systems and lead pipes and fixtures in high-risk areas around Ohio. It is expected that Ohio EPA will announce more detail on these projects in the near future. For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Lakewood city facilities to use 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2025

As part of the Sierra Club’s national “Ready for 100” campaign, Lakewood City Council recently pledged that the city will use 100 percent clean, renewable energy in city facilities by 2025, and go “communitywide by 2035,” Cleveland.com reports. Council-at-large representative Tristan Rader said Lakewood has also “prioritized reducing emissions and increasing efficiency in this year’s budgeting process,” the article reports. Earlier this year, Lakewood procured “100 percent clean electricity for its two largest meters and 50 percent for all others, including for streetlights.” The city “generates clean power from a cogeneration system” at the wastewater treatment plant, and is considering “the installation of four large solar systems on city buildings over the next year.” For more, read the full article.

Environmental, Renewable Energy, State Updates

JobsOhio “2.0” strategy to focus on talent, sites and innovation

JobsOhio recently rolled out its new “2.0” strategy “that could help generate significantly more jobs and investment throughout the state,” focusing “on three key areas: talent, sites and innovation,” the Dayton Business Journal reports. The group plans to “align the tech talent supply with corporate demand,” and create “a better overall availability of in-demand workforce,” according to the article. Other goals are to “scale up Ohio site investments through additional grant funding” and establish additional innovation districts, according to the article. Combined, these efforts could lead to an additional 18,000 to 27,000 jobs per year, the organization believes. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Amendment introduced would prohibit foreign ownership in critical Ohio infrastructure

Introduced on October 26, 2019, House Joint Resolution 2 (HJR 2), titled the “Ohio Critical Infrastructure Protection Amendment,” seeks to place a constitutional amendment before Ohio voters prohibiting foreign businesses and individuals from having a majority ownership interest in critical infrastructure located in Ohio. HJR 2 is a state legislative proposal that could profoundly affect business in Ohio. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Columbus setting the “PACE,” according to Kalvas in Columbus Business First article

Not only is Ohio a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) leader among other U.S. states, but, as of mid-2019, the Columbus region “had the largest total commercial PACE investment of any single metropolitan region in the nation.” According to public finance attorney and PACE advisor Colin Kalvas in his article “Columbus setting the PACE nationally for commercial energy efficiency and sustainability financing,” PACE is a winning option for a variety of stakeholders, including property owners, tenants and lenders.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Dayton Arcade developer seeking critical state tax credits for next phase

Developer Cross Street Partners of the Dayton Arcade redevelopment says state historic tax incentives are “hugely critical” to the project going forward, the Dayton Daily News reports. The second phase, to rehab the north arcade and create “new housing, offices and a shared-use commercial kitchen,” could be “a $28 million to $30 million investment,” said Dave Williams, Cross Street’s senior director of development. Williams said like the $90-million first phase of the project, historic tax incentives are required for the next phase to be economically feasible, according to the article. Failure to win tax credits in the current round of awards would “likely delay the financing package” by about six months. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Municipal Light Plant creative redevelopment “rapidly coming together”

The Municipal Light Plant in Columbus’s Arena District is starting to shine again, after more than a year of work on the 1903-built portion of the building, which was “falling apart” and on a brownfield site when work began, Columbus Business First reports. Developer Brad DeHays called it “one of the most complex kinds of construction projects possible,” according to the article. As construction wraps up on “some of the key pieces of the 24,000-square-foot 1903 portion of the building,” work will begin on the 36,000-square-foot, seven-story structure next door, which will be “built out into a creative office space, including two parking decks.” The state awarded approximately $2 million in historic tax credits for the project. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Downtown Toledo TIF proactive step to fund improvements

City officials in Toledo are looking at establishing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) area downtown that “could help pay for infrastructure improvements” in the Central Business, UpTown and Warehouse districts, The Toledo Blade reports. Toledo has implemented TIFs in the past for large development projects, but this TIF would be “the first time that we’re putting it in proactively hoping that it will generate revenue,” according to Brandon Sehlhorst, commissioner of economic and business development. Infrastructure improvements would be prioritized based on the transportation and downtown master plans, and could include sidewalk improvements, planting trees and curb construction, among others. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Project Finance

Columbus creates EV parking ordinance with neighborhoods and businesses in mind

A recent amendment to the Columbus Zoning Code will encourage electric vehicle (EV) charging stations “at commercial and residential developments,” according to a post on smart.columbus.gov. Columbus City Council passed the ordinance that “off-street parking spaces dedicated to EV charging and located outside special parking areas will count as a required parking space and not count toward the maximum number of parking spaces” developers are required to include based on a business’s industry, location and size, according to the article. Prior to this ordinance, dedicated EV parking spaces did not count toward parking space calculations. The goal is to avoid “too few or too many parking spaces that could impede other businesses and residents.” For more, read the full article.

Smart Cities, State Updates
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