Northeast Ohio’s cost of doing business is 10% lower than national averag

Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO), a regional economic development nonprofit organization, recently conducted an analysis that shows Northeast Ohio has a competitive advantage when it comes to the cost of doing business, Crain’s Cleveland reports. Team NEO “surveyed comparative data on a number of economic indicators including the cost of labor and energy, as well as construction and leasing costs and rates of state and local taxes,” according to the article. The group’s research found that “the cost to lease industrial space is 33% below average,” a company building a facility in Northeast Ohio “would pay 2% below the national average for materials and labor,” and “the cost of living in Northeast Ohio is 11.4% below the national average,” among other factors. Overall, when compared to the national average, “the cost of doing business is 10% lower” in the region. Jacob Duritsky, Team NEO vice president for strategy and research, said, “[w]e have a business case to make for why it’s more affordable (to do business) here.” Fore more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Tax credits move two Athens apartment projects forward

Two apartment projects in Athens are likely to proceed after receiving state tax credits, The Athens Messenger reports. Frontier Community Services of Chillicothe “was awarded $780,000 in federal tax credits for Sandstone Apartments,” which calls for 50 family housing apartments located on Route 682 in The Plains. Frontier’s chief development officer, Rod Siddons, said the apartments will be “below market level” but not rent-subsidized. Tax credits totaling $658,243 were awarded to Fairfield Homes Inc. of Lancaster for another project, the “rehabilitation of Beasley Mill Apartments on Union Street and Sheltering Arms Apartments on Clarke Street,” according to the article. Those apartments are “rent-subsidized housing for seniors and others who qualify.” The two projects have also applied for funding from both the Housing Development Assistance Program and the Housing Development Loan Program; Siddons and Jennifer Walters, president of Fairfield Homes, both said that the state tax credits mean they are likely to receive the additional funding for their projects. For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Federal guidance announced for residential PACE programs

On July 19, 2016, the White House announced the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative, a new partnership among several federal agencies designed to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency. The new initiative has a goal of bringing 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020 through collaboration with state and local groups. 

The White House also announced new steps that the federal agencies involved with the initiative are taking to promote energy efficiency financing. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) are releasing guidance regarding how Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs can be used in conjunction with residential mortgages insured by the VA or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The Department of Energy (DOE) is releasing an updated draft of its Best Practices Guidelines for Residential PACE Financing that includes protections to consumers who voluntarily opt into residential PACE programs, as well as lenders who hold mortgages on residential properties with PACE assessments. The DOE is also providing assistance to support the design and implementation of new PACE programs, and creating the Community Solar Challenge to promote the development of innovative models that increase access to solar and energy efficiency programs, particularly in low-income communities. 

For more, read the full White House press release.

Federal Updates, Financial Incentives

Columbus’s unusual approach has lured development to transform downtown

After “decades of disinvestment,” downtown Columbus has seen a surge of development thanks to a plan that “emphasized three unexpected ingredients: more grass, less water and targeted taxpayer spending,” The New York Times reports. In 2009, local lawmakers convinced the city’s residents to approve an increase in city income tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. Revenue from the increase “enabled Columbus to begin investing in its reconstruction plan,” according to the article. That plan included replacing the aging and flagging City Center shopping mall with the $25 million Columbus Commons and creating the $44 million Scioto Mile on the eastern shore of the Scioto River. The city then removed the Main Street Dam and created “the $36 million Scioto Greenways park” on “33 acres of once-submerged shoreline.” While the city’s strategy of using taxpayer money to seed anticipated private development “defied the tactics of low taxes and public spending austerity that gripped Ohio’s state lawmakers through and since the recession,” the gamble paid off. City officials say developers have privately financed “nearly $350 million in new and renovated market-rate buildings that house thousands of downtown residents, and helped generate 1,000 jobs.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

CareSource’s expansion into Indiana will bring 100 new jobs to Dayton

A Dayton business’s expansion into a neighboring state will bring new jobs to Ohio, the Dayton Daily News reports. CareSource, “one of the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care providers,” has been selected as one of four providers to administer Indiana’s “managed care program and its Medicaid alternative expansion program,” according to the article. As part of this expansion, CareSource will add 100 new positions to its downtown Dayton headquarters. Pamela Morris, President and CEO of CareSource, said, “[o]ur growth in Indiana represents additional recognition of CareSource’s innovative member-centric model of care, a legacy which began right here in Dayton 27 years ago.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Spectrum Brand’s $33M Dayton facility will be “multiplier” for area business growth

The new 570,000-square-foot facility Spectrum Brands is building near the Dayton International Airport will bring more than just its own 350 new jobs and $12.8 million in payroll, the Dayton Business Journal reports. Erik Collins, director of community and economic development for Montgomery County, said the project is “expected to have an impact for more local businesses,” according to the article. County predictions “show it could create as many as 462 jobs” including the ones at Spectrum and add as much as $17.5 million total in payroll. Additional jobs are expected to come from “companies within [Spectrum’s] supply chain” as well as “induced” jobs from “everything from local restaurants to dry cleaners.” That multiplier effect was key in the county’s decision to grant $350,000 in economic development money. The City of Dayton “will grant $150,000 for the project and also moved to designate land near the airport as a Community Reinvestment Area, allowing for tax incentives for property owners who develop the land.” For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Riddell moving jobs from Elyria to new facility in North Ridgeville

Football helmet manufacturer Riddell is moving from its current facility in Elyria to a larger one to be built in North Ridgeville, after that city approved legislation to allow tax incentives, the North Ridgeville Press reports. That move will bring “[m]ore than 350 jobs” to North Ridgeville, and Mayor David Gillock “said bringing Riddell will improve the city’s finances and should also have a positive impact for area businesses,” according to the article. Riddell will “relocate its production of full-size collectible football helmets and distribution of most football gear and apparel” to the new location. Riddell will lease the new building from Scannell Properties, a company “that specializes in build-to-suit and speculative development projects.” The tax-increment financing (TIF) incentives that North Ridgeville City Council approved will “allow money that would have been paid as property tax by Scannell to the county to remain in North Ridgeville and be used for infrastructure improvements,” including roads, street lights and sidewalks. North Ridgeville City Schools Treasurer Mike Verlingo said the district should see a boost in revenue as well. For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Credit union’s downtown Dayton presence will grow with $2.5 million expansion

CODE Credit Union Inc. will expand its downtown Dayton headquarters with the purchase of land adjacent to its West Monument Avenue building, as part of a plan to double the company’s current space and add employees, the Dayton Business Journal reports. Ford Weber, Dayton’s economic development director, said CODE also plans to renovate its current 8,500-square-foot office space; the total project is “expected to cost about $2.5 million,” according to the article. The company employs 24 people now, and “the expansion will help it grow to as many as 39 employees.” Weber called the expansion “a pretty big investment for them” as well as “a sign that business is doing well.” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the city has seen several business expansions and investments in the downtown area, noting, “[w]e’ve been investing in downtown for decades, and we’re seeing the fruit of that.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

New law adds certain infrastructure maintenance expenses to the list of authorized uses for TIF revenues

On June 28, 2016, Governor Kasich signed Sub. H.B. 413, which expands the eligible expenditures of tax increment financing (TIF) funds to expressly include “the continued maintenance of those public roads and highways and water and sewer lines” that were financed by the TIF program. H.B. 413 also includes various measures related to township government in Ohio.

State Updates

Tiffin Pointe project will move forward with $800,000 in tax credits

A project to construct new affordable housing in Tiffin will help fill a need in the community, according to Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) President and CEO David Zak, The Advertiser-Tribune reports. Cleveland-based NRP Group “has received $800,000 in housing tax credits,” allowing the Tiffin Pointe apartment project to proceed, SIEDC announced in a recent press release. Zak said a feasibility study showed the need for this type of housing, saying, “[b]asically, all affordable housing units are occupied. There is a huge need for quality affordable housing in Tiffin.” Tiffin City Council voted in February to “create a Community Reinvestment Area in the city’s Third Ward (see our February 16, 2016 blog post), where the proposed development is located.” Council member Jim Roberts, the single dissenter in that vote, expressed concerns for residents who will be displaced by the development. NRP, in response to those concerns, will “use $50,000 in pledged developer’s fees from SIEDC to create, fund and implement a relocation plan for mobile home park residents who find themselves involuntarily displaced,” according to the article. The Tiffin Pointe project will “involve a $9.1 million investment and is contingent upon receiving the CRA tax exemption.” For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates
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