Cleveland microgrid would protect against outages

Cuyahoga County’s Sustainability office has proposed a four-square-mile microgrid in and around downtown Cleveland that would protect the area against power outages (see our November 12, 2018 blog post), Crain’s Cleveland reports. The redundant power grid is billed as “a more resilient power source with less downtime and fewer brownouts” that would pair with Cleveland Public Power and Cleveland Thermal, “with the addition of an ultra-efficient ‘smart grid’ technology,” according to the article. The Cleveland Foundation board of directors recently approved a $200,000 grant “to fund the management of the RFQ/RFP process” for the project. A multiyear feasibility study showed “companies moving into the microgrid area could generate more than 1,000 new jobs in the county, resulting in nearly $100 million in income” and additional tax revenues of approximately $2.8 million per year. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Bell featured on Debtwire: PACE financing likely to expand as a result of regulation, securitization

Issued by local government entities, PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) bonds allow residential or commercial property owners to finance energy improvement upgrades to their properties. Bonds may be issued and sold directly to the property owner, to a third-party lender, or to institutional investors. Until recently, as Bricker’s Public Finance Chair Caleb Bell notes in a recent article on Acuris’ Debtwire, PACE bonds have been mostly unregulated with only state and local legal requirements. In California, where stricter lending standards are taking shape, Bell notes, “those protections broaden into the actual ability of the homeowner to repay the loan,” resulting in a “much more solid product.” Bell adds that securitizations are becoming increasingly common in this sector and that commercial PACE financing is “becoming its own unique asset class.” These new developments in standardization and regulation are likely to increase the popularity of PACE bonds with investors.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Developer shares thoughts on Dayton’s downtown momentum

Jason Woodard, founder and principal of Dayton-based Woodard Development, has “played a key role in developing scores of projects” in the city’s downtown, including the Water Street District, and says the area continues to have “strong momentum in almost every aspect,” the Dayton Business Journal reports. Those aspects include strong housing, new restaurants and amenities opening, and an office market that continues to brighten with “significant activity from Stratacache and CareSource but also smaller growth companies,” Woodard said in the article. Woodard also noted “the recent progress of the Arcade should have a big impact on the core of the city.” The developer is currently working on projects with Crawford Hoying including Centerfield Flats, a new building for Marsh & McLennan, and several “other projects in predevelopment.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Work begins on $300M Scioto Ridge wind farm

Innogy, a German renewable energy company, has officially started work on a 250-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Hardin and Logan counties, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The $300-million Scioto Ridge wind farm “is expected to become operational before the end of 2020,” according to the article. With 75 wind turbines, the wind farm “will generate enough electricity for about 60,000 homes,” and will create approximately 150 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus 2020 explores what’s next, after original goals nearly completed

The “seemingly ambitious” goals economic development group Columbus 2020 set in 2010 have nearly been met, and the organization is now determining “what’s next” and what its new name should be, The Columbus Dispatch reports. The original goals of 150,000 new jobs and $8 billion in new capital investment have already been hit; the goal of “a 30% increase in per-person income by 2020” is nearly met with a 28.5% increase through 2017, the most recent data available, according to the article. Kenny McDonald, Columbus 2020’s chief economic officer, said the group wants to “do a better job of showing how well the region is doing” and “to monitor factors such as housing prices, infrastructure, wage numbers, commute times and levels of disparity.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Tax abatement will help bring new life to former Anthem HQ

One of the largest suburban office buildings in central Ohio “is being positioned for redevelopment” thanks to a tax break from the City of Worthington, Columbus Business First reports. Worthington City Council granted a “10-year, 75% community reinvestment area property tax abatement for improvements” to the 207,961-square-foot former Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Ohio headquarters building to help “its new owner, Worthington 17 LLC, position the building for new life,” according to the article. Upgrades are expected to cost $4 to $6 million; estimates included in city documents “predict the property could host up to 400 jobs and $16 million in payroll once the renovation is complete.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Cincinnati Development Fund receives $40M allocation for economic development

An Over-the-Rhine-based nonprofit lending institution, Cincinnati Development Fund Inc., that “fills gaps not covered by traditional lenders,” received a New Markets Tax Credit allocation of $40 million, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Joe Huber, chief operating officer of Cincinnati Development Fund, said “the allocation will allow the organization to partner with other community development entities to stretch its $40 million allocation to as many projects as possible,” helping “a number of projects come to fruition that otherwise would not happen,” according to the article. Huber said the goal of the program “is to drive investment into underserved communities, stimulate economic development, and create quality jobs and opportunities for all residents of these distressed communities.” For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

$72M One Lakewood Place expected to get green light

Lakewood City Council is expected to approve a major mixed-use project for the city-owned former Lakewood Hospital site that could begin construction this summer, reports. The proposed $72 million One Lakewood Place “calls for 100,000 square feet of office, 80,000 square feet of retail, 200 housing units with both lease and for-sale options, a .5-acre public plaza, parking garage and the historic renovation of the Curtis Block,” according to the article. City Council President Sam O’Leary said, “[w]e’re at the final approval stage for basically what amounts to a rezoning of the property to a planned development (PD) district designation in our code.” When completed, the project will “provide more than $1.5 million annually to the city and schools” in property and income taxes. For more, read the full article.


Economic Development, State Updates

South Field Energy $1.3B investment benefits community, school district

South Field Energy LLC’s project to build “a modern, technologically sophisticated combined-cycle electrical generation plant” in Wellsville, Ohio, is “one of the largest single construction projects” as well as one of the largest single investments the region has seen, The Business Journal reports. Operating Engineers Local 66 business agent Carlton Ingram said the project “expects to have more than 1,000 tradesmen at the site” during peak construction, according to the article. South Field has paid $1.7 million to the Wellsville School District during the construction phase, and will pay the district $1.3 million annually for 15 years when operational. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Delaware County 2,000-acre Berlin Business Park would focus on commercial, light industrial

Officials in Delaware County are working on plans for a “massive new business park” in Berlin Township, on “about 2,000 acres of mostly rural land,” Columbus Business First reports. Bob Lamb, the county’s economic development director, said “the intent is for commercial and light industrial businesses to occupy major parts of the land, with some room for retail and medical offices.” Delaware County is planning to invest “in major infrastructure work to support the development”; once the site is ready to be developed, the county “will roll out a host of incentives” including a Community Reinvestment Area tax credit and access to bond financing, among others. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates
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