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

Mansfield proposes citywide CRA

Developers could receive tax abatements for added or improved value anywhere in the city of Mansfield if City Council approves a proposed citywide community reinvestment area (CRA), the Mansfield News Journal reports. Mansfield economic development director Tim Bowersock said, “we’re not hurting the existing tax base with this program — we’re trying to spur investment,” according to the article. Bowersock noted nearby communities Galion, Mount Vernon, Ashland and Lexington have CRAs. Mansfield’s program would allow taxes on improved value to be abated for up to 10 to 15 years depending on the scope of the project. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

With $30M investment, Cuyahoga County could double solar power generation in five years

A $13-million “green bank” could allow Cuyahoga County to “double the amount of solar power generated” in five years, according to a study partly financed by the county government, reports. That $13-million investment fund would allow developers to “borrow up to $17 million from conventional lenders and enable them to install solar panels on small businesses” and then sell the generated electricity to the businesses at fixed rates, according to the article. The study reports “smaller-scale solar developers struggle to finance such projects in the county because of tight profit margins and solar energy being more expensive than energy generated by coal and natural gas.” For more, read the full article

Project Finance, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus’s energy benchmarking ordinance is the first in Ohio

Officials in Columbus “are getting ready to help building owners comply with the state’s first energy benchmarking ordinance,” which will require those owners “to report data on building size, energy usage and utility bills,” reports. An EPA energy manager program will use that data to provide “Energy Star scores for energy and water usage,” according to the article. Stefan Schaffer, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s city strategist for the American Cities Climate Challenge, said the building sector “accounts for the majority of carbon emissions in Columbus,” at 58%. Cities that have adopted benchmarking policies have reported a 3% to 8% reduction in annual carbon emissions two to four years after implementation. For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, State Updates

GM, LG Chem joint venture Ultium Cells “to power EV future”

The partnership between General Motors (GM) and LG Chem to manufacture battery cells has a new name: Ultium Cells LLC, the Tribune Chronicle reports. GM and LG Chem “will mass produce battery cells for future battery-electric vehicles” at the Lordstown plant (see our March 31, 2020 blog post) that is expected to create more than 1,100 new jobs, the article reports. GM earlier announced “a strategy to grow the company’s electric vehicle [EV] sales quickly,” the heart of which “is a modular propulsion system and the highly flexible, third-generation global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries.” The Ultium batteries are unique “because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack,” allowing engineers “to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.” For more, read the full article

State Updates

Rickenbacker-based Foreign Trade Zone moved $10.4B in goods in 2018

Pringles cans and “a superfast Swedish sports car” have helped Central Ohio’s status as an import-export hub to grow, with Rickenbacker Airport-based Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) 138 ranked seventh out of 195 such zones in the United States, Columbus Monthly reports. The Columbus Regional Airport Authority announced “$10.4 billion in goods” passed through FTZ 138 in 2018. The zones are considered to be outside U.S Customs territory, “so imported goods don’t require duty payment upon entry,” according to the article. The majority of goods moving through Zone 138 in 2018 were textiles and footwear, but the zone also saw horses exported to the Middle East and a Swedish Koenigsegg Agera supercar exported to Dubai. The zone’s only manufacturing site is International Converter, “which fuses ultrathin aluminum to packaging paper for the likes of Pringles cans and Arby’s wrappers.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

University of Toledo joins group promoting emerging solar technology

The University of Toledo (UT) recently announced “it has become a founding member of a national group which strives to promote development of the emerging perovskite solar cell technology,” The Toledo Blade reports. The organization, the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium (US-MAP), “is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory” in Colorado, the article reports. Perovskites “are compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry”; U.S. Rep Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), said technology using perovskites “will move our country and region forward in solar energy development.” For more, read the full article.

Renewable Energy, State Updates

Zanesville wins grant to promote Opportunity Zones

The City of Zanesville teamed up with the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority to apply for a grant from Opportunity Appalachia, which will “provide technical expertise to help advertise” the city’s two Opportunity Zones, the Times Recorder reports. Zanesville Mayor Don Mason credits that partnership with securing the grant designed “to help attract investment to smaller, rural areas,” according to the article. Mason said the grant “will help us strategically market the Opportunity Zones to investors who are seeking the program’s federal tax advantages,” noting it is important to the community and local schools to encourage that investment. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Updated Economic Incentives Toolkit available now

Bricker’s DevelopOhio blog is intended to serve as the go-to resource for economic development practitioners in Ohio. Arguably, the blog’s most valuable resource is the Economic Incentives Toolkit, first written in 2011 and updated several times since then. User-friendly by design, the Toolkit works best in the hands of the newly-minted economic developer asked to brief city council on how tax increment financing works. The Toolkit works equally well as a desk reference guide for the experienced economic developer who needs to remember that one JobsOhio funding program she heard about at a conference, as she prepares to meet with a business attraction prospect.

We’re pleased to release an updated and revised Toolkit. Our team of experienced attorneys sharpened their pencils and rewrote large segments of the guide for this year. We updated the Toolkit for new JobsOhio programs, such as the Ohio Site Inventory Program. We include a discussion on county land banks and how those entities compare to their older cousins, community improvement corporations. And the Toolkit now includes practical tips to consider when deploying local economic development incentive tools like Community Reinvestment Areas and Enterprise Zones. 

We know that the COVID pandemic has caused wide-scale disruptions in our business and personal lives. To aid these disruptions and ongoing change, our team has worked during the past several weeks to provide the most accurate, up-to-date resource manual available in the marketplace for Ohio’s economic practitioners.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

$27M project near Dayton airport expected to create 100 new jobs

New details regarding a “massive construction project” near the Dayton International Airport have been revealed, as the developer recently filed for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement with the city, the Dayton Business Journal reports. NorthPoint Development, “the Kansas-City based developer behind the majority of new construction near the airport,” filed the request for Dayton Building V, a more than 521,000-square-foot facility that will cost an estimated $27.7 million to construct, according to the article. NorthPoint “estimates approximately 100 new jobs will be created as a result of the project, generating an annual payroll of $4.1 million.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates
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