First-round awards in Appalachian Community Grant Program total $17M

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor John Husted recently announced “the first-round recipients of the Appalachian Community Grant Program [see our September 21, 2022 blog post], which includes the planned renovations of The Athens Armory,” as well as The Logan Theater, The Space at the Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce, The Somerset Builder’s Club, and the Coshocton Collaborative, The Athens News reports. The projects “are ‘lynchpin’ projects, which will breathe new vibrancy into long-neglected downtown districts, and will serve as catalysts for further improvements and development,” according to the article. The Athens Armory “was funded as part of a larger four-county initiative called At Work in Appalachia,” which “establishes coordinated, interconnected remote work and entrepreneur hubs, and locally-designed health and workforce development programming through a series of public and private partnerships.” Plans for The Athens Armory include a community gathering space open to organizations and the general public, shared workspace and permanent offices for the Athens County Foundation. The At Work in Appalachia initiative was awarded $17,674,641 in total from the Ohio Department of Development and the Governor’s Office of Appalachia through the Appalachian Community Grant Program. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

Renaissance Cleveland Hotel awarded $9.1M in TIF bonds from port authority

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has approved “$9.1 million in tax increment financing [TIF] to help the owner of the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel-Marriott complete its years-long renovation,” the Cleveland Business Journal reports. The port authority approved the TIF bonds for the Toronto-based developer Skyline International Development that acquired the historic hotel in 2015 for almost $20 million, according to the article. Selling TIF bonds to investors “provides up-front money for developers who ‘repay’ investors over time by paying higher taxes in their improved property.” The $9.1 million in TIF bonds was “in addition to up to $20 million in TIF bonds” the port authority approved “almost a year ago.” Renovation costs have increased to $74 million on the project “as new features have been added, including new windows.” The hotel is expected to be rebranded as Hotel Cleveland when it reopens, in a return to its former name “that once was marked by an iconic sign on top of the building.” For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

Officials approve proactive CRA for Jersey Township to secure voice in future abatements

Jersey Township Trustees recently unanimously approved the creation of a community reinvestment area (CRA) to ensure “they will have a say on any potential future tax abatements within the township,” the Newark Advocate reports. Township Administrator Rob Platte said “the action of creating the CRA does not approve any abatements at this time” but means “the township’s approval would be required for any future abatements,” according to the article. The township “wants to make sure it has a say in any future abatements” because it previously approved tax increment financing districts (TIFs) that allow it “to direct a portion of the new property tax toward infrastructure improvements” on new development within the TIF area. The CRA allows the township to “negotiate how much is abated or completely deny an abatement, allowing the township to have a say in how much taxes are collected for improvements.” The program also “sets up targets that businesses have to hit,” such as number of people they employ, to receive abatements. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

"B-sides" ARPA – Congress adds fifth and sixth buckets of eligible use

If you were living your life fully in late December 2022, you can be excused for having missed a big deal in the world of the American Rescue Plan Act. Your “B-sides” authors, however, grew excited at the prospect of new eligible funding categories (i.e., additional buckets of use) for recipients’ ARPA allocations. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives

Bexley mayor hopes to see mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment of Main Street site

Capital University is seeking to sell about a 3-acre site on Bexley’s Main Street, creating a rare opportunity in the land-locked Columbus suburb, one “that could translate to more affordable housing” in the community, Columbus Business First reports. Capital is selling the apartment property because the units are no longer needed and “would take about $10 million to renovate,” according to the article. Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler “said he personally would like to see a mixed-use, mixed-income development be built on the site” between Bexley City Hall and the Bexley Gateway shops, and that the city is “open to working with a developer on incentives to make the development happen.” Bexley’s Main Street “currently has a community reinvestment area, or CRA,” to provide tax abatements for developers; the “base incentive is a 15-year, 70% abatement, Kessler said, but if the average development cost per unit is less than $150,000, the abatement would be 100% for 10 years.” Kessler said the incentive was “an early take on an affordable housing incentive. . . . for building housing for a greater swath of the population.” For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Local government incentives available under Inflation Reduction Act

Federal energy policy is making many new incentives available for local governments to fund energy-related assets. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), enacted in 2022, established a set of energy-related asset categories that are now being directly subsidized by the federal government. Under the IRA, nearly any advanced or renewable energy asset constructed by a local government is eligible for some kind of federal cash subsidy. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, Renewable Energy, Solar

Manufacturer will invest $10M in Monroe County facility, add 15 jobs

American Heavy Plate Solutions LLC plans to invest $10 million “to purchase machinery and equipment designed to increase production throughput and expand the range of products the company can manufacture” at its Hannibal Industrial Park facility in Monroe County, The Marietta Times reports. The expansion, which is expected to add 15 jobs over three years, was announced by the company, JobsOhio, the Monroe County Port Authority and Ohio Southeast Economic Development, according to the article. JobsOhio “supported the project with a $100,000 JobsOhio Revitalization Grant,” while the port authority, which owns the industrial park, will provide the additional funds needed to repair “about 17,000 square feet of the roof” to facilitate the expansion. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

New Community Authority could provide money for new development in Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon City Council is considering adding a New Community Authority (NCA) to help fund the infrastructure needed for new development projects without adding to the existing community’s tax burden, reports. An NCA “is a separate government entity that has development powers,” that can “put in infrastructure and acquire land for development as well as levy a special tax in that development only to pay for the project,” according to the article. J. Caleb Bell of Bricker & Eckler spoke to council members, explaining that combination of powers “makes this tool very special,” saying, “it’s a way of getting an additional revenue stream from new development.” Bell “said the NCA tool targets new developments or undeveloped areas that are going to be developed and puts a charge or assessment on those properties only,” creating an “independent revenue stream that comes just from new development.” Assessments run for a specified period of time such as 20 years, the article reports, and NCA money “can be used for land acquisition, infrastructure, roads, sanitary sewer, a new fire station, and community facilities” including “day care centers, pools, parks, educational facilities, lighting, pedestrian underpasses, recreational facilities, and other amenities.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

Cincinnati brewery will transform Brentwood Bowl to production and taproom space

HighGrain Brewing is building a second production brewery along with a taproom in the former Brentwood Bowl bowling alley in Springfield Township, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. HighGrain, a local craft brewery, will also have event spaces that can be rented out, “a large kitchen for a restaurant concept,” a covered patio connected to green space, and a “small outdoor space adjacent to the beer garden that can also be rented out,” according to the article. Construction is expected to begin in March 2023 and last about five months; the total project cost "will be between $3.2 million and $3.4 million.” Grants from state and local agencies have provided $1.1 million for resurfacing the parking lot, demolition and construction. The remaining financing “is coming from Northside Bank and Ohio PACE financing, which offers loans for energy efficient building improvements.” For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, Energy Efficiency, Project Finance, State Updates

Indus Companies proposes “major expansion” for Dublin’s Bridge Park area

Columbus hotel firm Indus Companies has proposed a mixed-use development that would “mark a major expansion of the Bridge Park neighborhood” in Dublin, adding five buildings in the “broader Bridge Street District,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. The developer’s plans include “an eight-story, 147-room hotel with ground-floor retail; a six-story office building with retail; a five-story, 800-car parking garage; and two buildings, eight- and nine-stories, that would contain a total of 169 residences,” according to the article. Indus Bridge Street, as it would be called, also includes plans for a small park between the hotel and parking garage. The project is “not technically in Bridge Park,” but would “continue the Bridge Park street grid” to the north. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required). 

Economic Development, State Updates
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