Central Ohio developers say pandemic has changed, but not stopped, growth

The COVID-19 pandemic has “called much into question about how people will live and how communities are designed,” but several local developers say new projects continue to move forward despite a slowdown, Columbus Business First reports. Brad DeHays, whose Connect Realty has been busy with several development projects in Central Ohio, said while COVID-19’s impact has changed consumer interaction, his projects are “largely stabilized” and he is “banking on the city’s continued growth,” according to the article. Brent Racer, principal at New Avenue Architects & Engineers, estimates his company’s business “has dropped by 20%” but it has used the time “to help restaurants and retailers design for social distancing while they reopen.” Market president of Pepper Construction of Ohio Paul Francis expects retail and hospitality will be the hardest hit, while logistics “has moved right ahead.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

MORPC names Ted Geer as new economic development & infrastructure officer

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announced Westerville native Ted Geer has joined the organization as its economic development & infrastructure officer. A MORPC news release described Geer as “an accomplished urban and regional development professional with experience in public policy, public finance, economic development and government relations.” He “will be part of MORPC’s transportation & infrastructure development team and be responsible for guiding critical infrastructure projects that bolster economic development in Central Ohio,” according to the release. For more, read the full release.

Economic Development, State Updates

JobsOhio plans for post-pandemic recovery include focus on manufacturing

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for more goods to be manufactured in the United States, JobsOhio is planning a shift “from business attraction to economic rescue” that involves “the recent push for re-shoring,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Ohio “has the country’s third-highest concentration of manufacturing,” and JobsOhio, which is funded through the state’s liquor franchise, may have an advantage over states whose economic development is funded through state budgets that are seeing cuts due to the economic downturn from the pandemic, according to the article. JobsOhio’s strategy “will be to capture consolidations from companies in Ohio” that want to return operations from overseas, “lure coastal companies looking for lower-cost areas to save money, and capitalize on the federal and military installations.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Former GM plant in Lordstown will employ thousands again, CEO says

Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns “has bold plans to fill the 6.2-million-square-foot facility” he bought after General Motors (GM) shuttered its Chevrolet Cruze production there over a year ago, the Record-Courier reports. Burns “said he will start hiring 600 workers next year to build the first 20,000 Endurance all-electric pickups Lordstown Motors is designing,” according to the article. The company has “‘well over several thousand’ pre-orders for the $52,000 Endurance,” which has not yet been revealed; a virtual reveal is targeted for late June. Burns will hire more people beginning in 2022 to build other all-electric vehicles such as SUVs and a midsize pickup. He expects to employ 4,000 to 5,000 people “in the near future based on demand for electric vehicles.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Central Ohio pursues public tech company’s 285-job operations center

MongoDB Inc., an open-source general purpose database platform provider, is looking at locations including central Ohio for an administrative hub that would employ about 285 people, Columbus Business First reports. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority recently approved a 10-year, 1.96% tax credit “if MongoDB chooses Franklin County and stays at least 13 years,” according to the article. That credit “would be worth $3 million” if the company meets the job-creation goal and other terms of the deal. MongoDB currently employs 1,800 employees worldwide, and its reported revenue for the year ending January 31, 2020 was $422 million. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Should Akron and Canton become part of Greater Cleveland?

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is “lobbying the federal government to move Akron and Canton into Greater Cleveland,” a move NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci says would attract more businesses and unlock federal revenue streams, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Meanwhile, Stark and Summit County leaders last year adopted the Akron-Canton Metroplex concept, which would combine the Akron metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and the Canton-Massillon MSA “into a single MSA ranking almost in the top 50 nationally,” according to the article. The Cleveland-Akron-Canton MSA would rank in the top 20 in the United States. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Lower Price Hill mixed-use project wins federal tax credits and loans for construction

A mixed-use development project that will bring “47 units of affordable housing and renovated commercial space” to Cincinnati’s Lower Price Hill has landed approximately $846,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Authority (OHFA), CityBeat reports. Lower Price Hill nonprofit Community Matters “is partnering with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) on the project,” called LPH Thrives, according to the article. The tax credits “can be used to attract investors to finance construction”; in return, the property owner must “keep the residential units affordable and reserved for low and moderate income households.” OHFA also approved federal loans to help finance project costs. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Could Dayton be home base for the U.S. Space Command?

With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base “already slated to play a significant role in the new Space Force,” some Dayton leaders want to make the case for the new U.S. military branch to be headquartered in the area as well, the Journal-News reports. Five Wright-Patterson “units or missions are slated to be transferred to Space Force,” according to the article. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Dayton) has urged the Dayton Development Coalition and Governor Mike DeWine to “assemble our team to prepare our community’s submission in the Space Command competition.” The Space Command HQ will “have about 1400 military and civilian employees” once it is established. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Huber Heights establishing incentive programs to bolster economic growth

Officials in Huber Heights are “establishing several new programs as part of an economic and workforce development strategy” with the mission to ensure the city continues to grow its economy, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The programs include a tuition subsidy for residents working to obtain degrees in certain specialized fields, a façade improvement program for older properties, and a rent guarantee program, according to the article.  Additionally, a local income tax rebate “would benefit Huber Heights residents, current business owners and potential business owners who may be looking to establish operations here.” Jason Foster, the city’s economic development coordinator, “said the goal with all these programs is to bolster the economic vibrancy and quality of life in Huber Heights.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Despite COVID-19, Hamilton still expects 2020 to be “big year” for development

Hamilton city officials “remain bullish on development within their city this year” despite state-mandated business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hamilton Journal-News reports. The city recently published its 2019 Economic Development Annual Report, which shows “the city has seen $539.6 million in private development” over the past 10 years, according to the article. During that time, “75 businesses opened in the urban core; 2,712 jobs were created and 273 housing units were created.” City officials believe the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill indoor sports facility and convention center, due to be completed in 2021, “will significantly buoy the city’s fortunes” as it is expected to attract a million people each year, “a reason new shops have been opening along the Main Street business corridor.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates
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