Economic development groups “doubling down” to keep expanding companies in Northeast Ohio

JobsOhio, Team Northeast Ohio and the Greater Cleveland Partnership want to make sure local companies who want to grow “do so here rather than elsewhere in the United States and beyond,” Crain’s Cleveland reports. The three groups will add up to a dozen staffers between them “who will be calling on companies” in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties “to identify those that are evaluating the long-term location strategies for their businesses,” according to the article. The organizations want “to be ready with financial incentives or sites available for expansion before the businesses decide to expand a plant at a location out of state, or leave the region altogether.” Kristi Clouse, executive director of operations for JobsOhio, said the increased involvement in retention and expansion is “because the bulk of the job creation, about 80%, comes from the expansion of existing businesses.” For more, read the full article

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

Local governments need more transparency for tax abatements, report says

New rules by the nonprofit Governmental Accounting Standards Board [GASB] “can encourage local governments to be more transparent regarding their tax abatements,” says a report by Policy Matters Ohio, according to a recent Gongwer article. The new accounting standards from the GASB “require more transparency regarding abatements in which tax revenue is reduced due to an agreement between the governor and a taxpayer,” according to that report. Policy Matters “looked at disclosures by 59 counties and 84 cities, villages and townships, with the 10 largest counties reporting a total of $25.8 million in abatements for 2016,” Gongwer reports. Zach Schiller, the author of the report, “said one of the concerns with the findings is that not all local governments are reporting their revenue lost to abatements.” Rep. Keith Farber (R-Celina), who is running for auditor, said, “[i]t’s important for local governments and their constituents to know if they are getting a return on investment from incentives.” 

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

County approves loan to complete financing for Cleveland Athletic Club redevelopment

Tenants may be able to move into new apartments in the former Cleveland Athletic Club by the end of 2018, as Cuyahoga County will provide a $2-million loan to complete the financing for the project, Crain’s Cleveland reports. Cuyahoga County Council’s economic development committee approved the short-term loan to developer CAC Project 2014 LLC “to complete a $56.3 million development package,” according to the article. The Council approved the loan during its January 23, 2018 meeting. The rest of the financing is provided through a $29.1-million construction loan, “an historic tax credit of $12.9 million, a $3.6 million Ohio Water Development Authority environmental cleanup loan and $3 million in Cleveland tax increment financing.” The completed mixed-use development will have 8,000 square feet of office space, 8,000 square feet of retail space, and 161 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Changes to Columbus tax incentives would promote mixed-income housing development

City officials in Columbus want to change tax incentives “to encourage mixed-income housing development in fast-growing neighborhoods such as the Short North,” Columbus Business First reports. Current property tax incentives “treat the Short North the same as disinvested areas such as Linden — exacerbating disparities,” according to the article. The proposed changes would require developers seeking property tax abatements for “mid-rise multifamily housing in market-ready areas” to “make a portion of units affordable for those at and below Columbus’ median income.” City Development Director Steve Schoeny said economically diverse neighborhoods “are healthier.” Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown said, “[i]f we’re getting people living and working in nearby neighborhoods, then there isn’t an emptying out of the city after 5 p.m.” For more, read the full article

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority backs big central Ohio projects

The “long-struggling” Milo-Grogan area is now home to “world-class manufacturer” Rogue Manufacturing, one of the “private neighborhood-anchoring developments” backed by the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The agency, which operates as a port authority, has evolved from backing “purely public projects” to also supporting private projects such as Rogue’s 600,000-square-foot factory close to downtown Columbus. The former industrial site that houses the facility was “no longer productive” but now is “pulling in people back into a neighborhood where you really need investment,” Jean Carter Ryan, president of the authority, said in the article. For more, read the full article.

Regional Updates, State Updates

Dublin developer expanding reach beyond Columbus with big projects in Cincinnati & Dayton

One of Central Ohio’s busiest developers, Dublin-based Crawford Hoying, is “growing beyond Columbus” with two big projects in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Columbus Business First reports. Principal Brent Crawford “said the company is working on a big project near Newport, Kentucky,” that could be bigger than the Bridge Park development in Dublin, the article reports. Bridge Park, Crawford Hoying’s capstone project, “is planned at 2.5 million square feet of space being built over six years at a cost of $300 million.” In Dayton, the developer’s mixed-use Water Street District project “has grown to more than $92 million in development,” including a $15 million hotel, 219 apartments, and “a 50,000-square-foot office building by the city’s downtown riverfront.” For more, read the full article

Regional Updates, State Updates

JEDDs face new reporting rule promulgated by the Ohio Department of Taxation

new state rule requires joint economic development districts (JEDDs) to report and file certain information with the Ohio Tax Commissioner by February 12, 2018. Communities that have used JEDDs to support economic development should carefully consider these new requirements to ensure compliance. For more, read the full article.

State Updates

Columbus one of 20 finalist cities for Amazon’s $5B HQ2

The only city in Ohio to make it through the first cut for Amazon’s $5-billion second headquarters is Columbus, reports Columbus Business First. “Unlike cities that offered plots of land, Columbus offered incentives to recoup partial land acquisition costs in the bid prepared by economic development groups Columbus 2020 and JobsOhio,” according to the article. Among those incentives are a “tax abatement on sites where Amazon opts to invest” and “a cash payment based on a portion of income tax withholding for new jobs.” Columbus also “pledged a dedicated transit and roadwork fund, also funded by reserving Amazon employee withholding tax,” according to Columbus Business First. Out of 238 proposals, Amazon selected 20 finalists; Columbus will compete with New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and others, The Columbus Dispatch reports. For more, read the full Columbus Business First and Columbus Dispatch articles. 

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

Two major projects coming to Green in 2018: FedEx Freight, Chase Bank

More than 100 jobs will be coming to Green in 2018, as FedEx Freight and Chase Bank plan “major commercial construction projects” for the city, theSuburbanite.com reports. Green City Council “approved a five-year, 100 percent community reinvestment area [CRA]” for FedEx’s $16.5 million, 63,000-square-foot distribution center, according to the article. FedEx will relocate “74 full time and 34 part time employees” from its Killian Road, Akron location; those jobs represent an annual payroll of $3.9 million. The terms of the CRA include adding an additional 12 full time and 6 part time employees by December 2022. Additionally, Chase Bank “had site plans approved by the city planning commission for a 3,300 square foot location on the northwest corner of Boettler and Massillon roads,” Green Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said. For more, read the full article.

Financial Incentives, Regional Updates, State Updates

Columbus’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2 involves multiple parcels of land around city

Properties in Franklinton, the OSU campus area, Easton, and the Scioto Peninsula are all part of the bid by the City of Columbus to “land one of the biggest economic-development prizes ever,” Amazon’s $5-billion second corporate headquarters (see our September 20, 2017 blog post), The Columbus Dispatch reports. “Hundreds of pages of emails, documents and other records” released by the city show sites at Mount Carmel West hospital and the Ohio State Fairgrounds were also considered, but ruled out for now, according to the article. Columbus economic-development director Steve Schoney said some potential sites were redacted from the city’s documents “because they are privately owned and have not been identified previously as potential sites.” The “big challenge is piecing together the land that the internet giant says it would need”; Schoney said, “[i]t’s really tough to find 100 acres in an existing urban environment.”  For more, read the full article.

Regional Updates, State Updates
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