Time magazine names Columbus as one of its “6 Best Big Cities” in the country

Columbus is the best big city in the Midwest, according to Time magazine’s “Best Places to Live 2016 Best Big Cities” list, which “identifies the metro area (300,000-plus population) in each region of the country that offers all the benefits of big-city living” plus “great quality-of-life factors,” according to a recent article in that magazine. Time cited Andy and Phil George, co-founders of startup MentorcliQ, who chose Columbus as their company’s permanent home based not only on the “low cost of living vs. Los Angeles,” or the “dozen-plus Fortune 1,000 firms in town,” but also “the promise of a city on the rise.” More than 150 companies have moved to the Columbus area in the past five years, “drawn by a highly educated workforce” from the region’s 60-plus college and university campuses, “and a solid business base that includes major retailers L Brands and Abercrombie & Fitch.” The city had “the highest wage growth in the country” in 2015, “with average hourly rates shooting up 6.2%, far exceeding the national rate of around 2% and surpassing even such go-go burgs as San Francisco (6%),” according to the article. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Cincinnati’s streetcar funding may be “model” for reforming tax incentives

The new Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar system may be changing more than just how people get around in Cincinnati — one of its funding sources may serve as a model for future development in the city, Cincinnati.com reports. Beginning January 1, 2015, “property owners and real estate developers in Over-the-Rhine and Downtown seeking tax abatements for redevelopment projects could direct a portion of their savings to the streetcar’s operating fund,” according to the article. Voluntary Tax Incentive Contribution Agreements (VTICAs) have been “bringing in about $694,000 a year, according to independent consultant HR&A Advisors.” City Councilman Kevin Flynn “said the VTICA program has been a huge success story that could serve as a development model for other Cincinnati neighborhoods,” while Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley’s goal was to “ensure those people who benefit most from the streetcar (the property owners) pay expenses that would otherwise be paid by Cincinnati residents,” the article reports. HR&A completed a yearlong study of Cincinnati’s economic development incentive programs (see our June 16, 2016 blog post) and recommended “expanding the use of instruments similar to VTICA in an effort to recapture property tax revenue to invest in infrastructure and other catalytic projects.” For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

CNBC says Columbus’s resources make it “a growing mecca” for small businesses

Columbus is “experiencing a start-up boom” with companies such as Hot Chicken Takeover and Print Syndicate, thanks to local resources that help small businesses establish themselves and fuel growth, CNBC.com reports. The Columbus metro area “ranked in the top 15 nationally for start-up activity on the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 and 2016 start-up indexes,” according to the article. The nation’s first Small Business Concierge, “a one-stop-shop and point of contact,” assists Columbus entrepreneurs with “everything from finances to actually opening up shop,” and offers its services for free, “an important benefit for cash-strapped start-ups.” Columbus “has a robust loan program as well, in partnership with nonprofit lending organizations including the Economic Community Development Institute and Finance Fund,” said Ryan Schick, Small Business Concierge for the city. A report from VentureOhio, “an organization focused on catalyzing growth in the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” showed “total venture capital investments in Ohio start-ups hit $373 million in 2015, up 16 percent from the year prior,” reports CNBC. For more, read the full article.

Regional Updates, State Updates

Amazon’s growth in Ohio bringing more business to Wilmington Air Park

Atlas Air Worldwide “is the latest tenant” to move into Wilmington Air Park, after that company signed an agreement with Amazon to fly cargo for the online retail giant, the Dayton Daily News reports. Amazon has “now leased a total of 40 Boeing jets from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group Inc. (see our January 19, 2016 blog post), which is Wilmington Air Park’s biggest and busiest tenant,” according to the article. Daniel Evers, executive director for the Clinton County Port Authority, said Atlas Air Worldwide will be flying “one flight seven days a week,” which is anticipated to “generate some employment.”  The air park “lost 7,000 jobs in 2008 when DHL announced it was leaving”; DHL donated the air park to the port authority in 2010. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Port authority using ODSA grant to remediate vacant Austinburg gas station

A “long-vacant” Austinburg gas station will be remediated thanks to a $99,247 grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency to the Ashtabula County Port Authority (ACPA), the Star Beacon reports. The grant “will wholly pay for removal and emptying of the station’s underground storage tanks, which filled with water over time, and its pump islands, and scraping any contaminated backfill after excavation,” according to the article. After the work is completed, samples will be taken to confirm the “contaminants are gone.” Sean Ratican, ACPA’s executive director, said, “[w]e believe there’s redevelopment potential for that corner and the environmental condition of the property was the biggest hurdle.” Several commercial retail or foodservice entities have “already expressed interest in the lot,” according to Ratican, who said the authority’s “ultimate goal . . . is to maximize the site’s potential for job creation.” For more, read the full article

JobsOhio/ODSA, Regional Updates, State Updates

JobsOhio packages state’s many advantages for investors in new Investing in Ohio guide

It’s easy to sell a great product when you have a brochure that highlights all the key features and advantages it provides, and that’s just what JobsOhio has with its new Investing in Ohio guide to capital investment in our state. The guide is a detailed, 100+ page selling tool that profiles the state by region, industries, resources and funding, among other information. Opening with a business climate overview and a letter from Governor John Kasich touting Ohio’s economic achievements and its lures to job creators, investors will also find information on sources of venture funding, logistics and a statistical profile of Ohio. For more information, including links to download or request a copy of the guide, click here.

JobsOhio/ODSA, Regional Updates, State Updates

Ohio ranks high on “leading indicator” report for new investment and jobs

Ohio ranked among the top ten states for both capital investment and mobile project jobs in Ernst & Young’s 2016 US Investment Monitor (USIM), according to a recent press release. The USIM “is a leading indicator showing where new investment spending and jobs can be expected over the next several years,” according to the release. Ohio ranked sixth in capital investment with $5.1 billion, and third in mobile project jobs, with 25,800. Andrew Phillips, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP, said, “[m]any factors contribute to a company’s decision to invest in a particular location, and awareness of industry trends, workforce development levels and the availability of state and local tax incentives can help businesses choose where to locate their mobile capital investments. States should continue to find their competitive edge to attract a wide variety of investment types and maintain a healthy economy.” For more, read the full press release and the full report

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

JobsOhio launches R&D Grant Program with $50 million in initial funding

A new program from JobsOhio is designed with unique features to “extend the breadth and strength of Ohio research and development to help spur innovation and job creation,” according to a recent post on The JobsOhio Blog. The JobsOhio Board of Directors authorized $50 million in initial funding for the new Research & Development (R&D) Grant Program that will “allow JobsOhio to make strategic investments in new R&D Centers that support existing and emerging sectors,” according to the blog post. Among its unique features, the program “is specifically designed to be accessible to middle-market companies,” such as its first grant recipient, Quality Electrodynamics (QED) of Mayfield Village. The program is also designed for both for-profit companies and non-profit institutes, and is “focused on commercialization and future production facilities that create jobs at scale.” For more, including links to a full program description and contact information to apply for a grant, read the full JobsOhio Blog post.

JobsOhio/ODSA, State Updates

IRS issues new safe harbor provisions for management contracts

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a new safe harbor for management contracts relating to certain bond-financed facilities.  Rev. Proc.  2016-44 aims to provide what it characterizes as a “more flexible and less formulaic approach” to the question of whether an arrangement with a service provider could adversely affect the tax-exempt status of governmental bonds and qualified 501(c)(3) bonds under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.  The new safe harbor permits longer term arrangements between the beneficiaries of tax exempt bonds and service providers without adversely affecting the tax status of those bonds. For more, read the full article.

Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Legal Developments

Defiance approves incentive for new corporate HQ bringing dozens of jobs

Defiance City Council approved an incentive for Credit Adjustments to build a new corporate headquarters that will “bring dozens of new jobs” to the city, The Crescent-News reports. The company plans to build a new facility within the next two years and projects that it will “hire ‘at least’ 120 additional people,” the article reports. The ordinance City Council approved “will provide the Defiance Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) with $50,000 each year for 10 years ‘to fund a job creation incentive award’” for Credit Adjustments. The company must create at least 120 new jobs with “an aggregate new payroll of not less than $4,617,600” to meet the condition for the first annual incentive payment. The Crescent-News reports the news release said “Regional Growth Partnership and JobsOhio” are also “supporting the project” with JobsOhio financial incentives “contingent on final approvals from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.” For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, JobsOhio/ODSA, Regional Updates, State Updates
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