Columbus gets approval to change plans for $40M Smart City grant

The app for truck drivers to reserve loading zone times is out, and prenatal transportation is in, after the U.S. Department of Transportation signed off on changes Columbus requested for its Smart City plans, Columbus Business First reports. Smart Columbus “has realigned priorities,” cutting some of its original projects and adding one after a year of study, according to the article. Research indicated that delivery drivers would not find the proposed app to reserve appointments for loading zones helpful. Bus collision avoidance sensors were also removed from the grant, based on data that showed The Central Ohio Transit Authority “had only six collisions with pedestrians or bikes in 2016, and all took place in low-light conditions.” The proposed sensors do not work in those conditions. Columbus added a “new prenatal visit transportation project,” which aligns with the city’s efforts to lower infant mortality rates. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, Smart Cities

KeyBank award could help Cincinnati Chamber create 500 jobs

A $100,000 investment in the Cincinnati Chamber Minority Business Accelerator “could help create 500 new jobs,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The accelerator “is expected to partner with other members of the Cincinnati Minority Business Collaborative” and Northern Kentucky University to “use the funding to execute a strategy designed to help 50 minority-owned businesses grow their revenue to $5 million and create 500 new jobs in the next five years,” according to the article. KeyBank’s Business Boost & Build program powered by JumpStart awarded the money through the KeyBank Center for Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth. Darrin Redus, vice president and head of the accelerator, said, “[w]e are thrilled to establish this partnership with JumpStart as we collectively strive to grow more larger-scale, job-creating, minority-owned businesses.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Auto supplier plans additional $73M investment, 204 jobs in Springfield

Topre America is expanding its previous plans for a new facility in Springfield (see our June 12, 2017 blog post), announcing it will invest an additional $73 million in the facility to meet increased production requests, the Dayton Business Journal reports. The additional investment in the 177,000 square-foot stamping and steel production plant will “create 204 assembly, research and development, stamping and light manufacturing jobs,” according to the article. The expansion is “contingent upon the approval of state and local incentives.” Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition regional JobsOhio affiliate, said the coalition understands the impact of more than 200 new jobs and “will continue to work with our partners in Springfield and JobsOhio to move this project forward.” For more, read the full article.

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

Dayton’s strategic use of CRA fueling growth in downtown, other areas

While home prices have been rising in downtown Dayton, Webster Station and other Dayton neighborhoods, property taxes don’t always immediately rise along with them, thanks to the city’s Community Reinvestment Area program, the Dayton Daily News reports. The program “incentivizes property improvements and new construction by exempting taxation on the value of the improvements,” the article reports. Dayton uses the abatements strategically by targeting “the neighborhoods that need it most,” said Karl Keith, Montgomery County Auditor. Keith said the city’s targeted approach will help reverse the trends of declining property values in areas that have experienced urban decay and blight. Some of the recent new homes in downtown Dayton have sold for prices that were “unimaginable to developers a decade ago.” As of 2017, “nearly $63 million was invested in Dayton properties” in the CRA program. For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Cincinnati on shortlist of candidates to host World Cup in 2026

Cincinnati “has officially been included” in a bid for the United States, Canada, and Mexico to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The three countries said they have joined together “to deliver a United Bid that offers FIFA and its member associations the power of unity, the promise of certainty, and the potential of extraordinary opportunity,” according to the article. Cincinnati is among the 23 North American cities listed in the proposal, 16 of which will be selected for the international tournament if the United Bid is successful. The Queen City would hold World Cup events at Paul Brown stadium, and as a host city would see an estimated economic impact of $90 million to $480 million. John Kristick, executive director of the United Bid, said, “[w]e are confident that the combination of our 23 existing world-class stadiums, 150 existing elite training facilities, and our modern and interconnected transportation network can help FIFA to achieve new records for attendance and revenue.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Whitehall’s proactive economic development strategy producing big returns

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard had good news at her 2018 State of the City address: the city “now hosts 650 businesses,” and “$50 million in new payroll has been created” since she took office in 2012, Columbus Business First reports. When Maggard became mayor, Whitehall “shifted to a proactive stance to encourage business investment,” according to the article. Since that time, “incentives have drawn $60 million in business investment,” with 48 new companies, including large employers such as Wasserstrom Co. and Heartland Bank, moving to Whitehall. Of the 110 businesses that city staff members have visited, 75 percent “were maintaining or growing their employment,” adding $4.5 million in income tax revenue for the city. Additionally, the city is pursuing new development, such as the $50-million mixed-used Norton Crossing project, which will add 360 residential units as well as retail and restaurant space in 2019. For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Ohio recommends Opportunity Zones for federal tax breaks

The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created an opportunity for states “to identify up to 25% of low-income, high-poverty census tracts” for consideration for federal tax breaks for economic development, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) website. The U.S. Treasury “will make the final determination” of which tracts will be designation as Opportunity Zones, making them eligible for “‘Opportunity Funds’ (not yet formed) to invest in economic development to receive a 10-year federal tax break.” Ohio recommended its full 25% allocation, 320 census tracts out of the 1,280 that were eligible. According to the ODSA, tracts were prioritized by “[j]ob creation potential, history of public/private investment within the tract, future commitments of public/private investment, available land for development,” and other factors. For more, see the ODSA website.

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

State’s “DriveOhio” initiative will be hub for smart transportation research

Governor John Kasich wants to position Ohio “to lead on developing the vehicles, highways and smart transportation technologies of the future,” and the new “DriveOhio” initiative is part of that plan, The Columbus Dispatch reports. As part of the Department of Transportation, DriveOhio “will offer manufacturers and researchers one point of contact to coordinate with state agency assistance in developing driverless vehicles, ‘smart’ roads and other technology,” according to the article. Ohio is creating “‘smart highways,’ such as a 35-mile stretch of Rt. 33 between Dublin and East Liberty, by installing fiber-optic cable and sensors to collect data and allow autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other.” At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year, Kasich “played up Ohio’s new high-tech offerings” to major auto manufacturers and invited tech-giant Google “to consider an investment in a plant and jobs in Ohio.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Wind farm will be Huron County’s largest economic development project

Huron County commissioners gave unanimous approval for a tax increment financing (TIF) program for the Emerson Creek Wind farm, which will be the largest economic development project in the county, the Norwalk Reflector reports. The 120-turbine wind farm will be located in Huron and Erie counties, and will produce enough electricity to power about 94,000 homes. The TIF program establishes an annual service payment of $9,000 per megawatt of electricity installed for Huron and Erie counties plus various townships and schools. Huron County Commissioner Skip Wilde said the wind farm is projected to bring in $4.5 million in annual revenue to the community. Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, a utility-scale renewable energy developer, is developing several projects in Ohio, including Emerson Creek, with a combined private investment of $2.6 billion and 690 construction and operating jobs. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

Forbes says Columbus is now the “first stop” for companies looking to move to the Midwest

The Midwest “is buzzing,” driven by “a national VC industry that’s hit a record high,” and Columbus has the loudest buzz as “the top U.S. metro for scaling young companies,” according to a recent Forbes article. VentureOhio’s 2017 Venture report shows more VC funding “currently flowing through Ohio than at any point in the state’s history,” with $470 million invested in 210 startups in 2016, according to the article. Columbus-based investors raised over 70 percent of nearly $1 billion in new capital that “Ohio-based venture capital funds have raised” since 2013. National investors have noticed; Steve Case and JD Vance’s new seed fund, The Rise the Rest® Seed Fund, “will invest $150 million in startups in the Midwest with the support of a group of America’s major business leaders, including Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz.” Columbus’s appeal includes a concentration of power research organizations such as The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, an attractive tax climate, and several Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 headquarters. For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates
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