White Castle plans $27M Dayton-area expansion, 30 new jobs

Columbus-based fast food chain White Castle will invest $27 million to add about 75,000 square feet to its frozen-food manufacturing plant near the Dayton International Airport, nearly doubling its current size, Columbus Business First reports. JobsOhio recently provided “a $2.5 million growth fund loan” for the project, which will “add 30 jobs to the plant over a three-year period” that are “expected to generate $900,000 in annual payroll,” according to the article. Another 162 existing jobs will be retained at the facility. Jamie Richardson, White Castle vice president of marketing and public relations, said, “[w]e’re especially grateful to JobsOhio, the Ohio Development Services Agency and the Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority for thoughtful collaborative leadership that provides a path forward to make the vision for this investment opportunity a reality.” For more, read the full article

 

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

You just caught that purple unicorn – now what? Ohio’s operating budget appropriates $500 million in grant funds for brownfield remediation and (commercial) building demolition

For many observers tracking the state budget bill, the General Assembly’s change in the name of the state’s development agency – reverting back to the Ohio Department of Development – was breathtaking in and of itself. However, two new funding lines inserted into the measure (H.B. 110), representing $500 million in total grant funds available during state fiscal year (SFY) 2022, have lassoed the purple unicorn. That is, an answer now exists to the question, “how will Ohio fund clean-up and demolition of legacy commercial and industrial sites?” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Other people’s money: Certain use of federal stimulus cash by land banks “presumed” eligible

During the past decade, county land banks ramped up operations across Ohio largely employing one-time cash. The Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), sourced from Ohio’s share of mortgage industry settlement payments related to the Great Recession, was a catalytic funding source for demolishing thousands of vacant and abandoned residential structures throughout the state. HHF served its purpose, and served it well. However, as the remaining program dollars are drawn down, many county land banks are facing existential funding questions. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Ohio Senate Committee chefs baking economic development morsels into their version of the state budget bill

On June 1, 2021, the Ohio Senate Finance Committee released its version of the state’s biennial operating budget (HB 110), which must be signed into law by June 30, 2021. As often happens, there are millions of dollars in appropriated funds across state government, and then there are actual, no-kidding changes to unrelated elements of Ohio law also inserted into the bill. There are two such changes that should be noted by Ohio’s economic development practitioners. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Ants arriving at the picnic: U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals finds merit in federal “takings” claim filed against county land bank

In May 2021, the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sent a county land bank case back to the district court in Dayton for reconsideration. Rejecting the winning argument at the lower level—that the owner of an abandoned property had her chance to raise objections earlier in a tax foreclosure process, which she didn’t—the appeals court held that new U.S. Supreme Court precedent does, in fact, allow the owner to raise a federal “takings” argument under the Constitution once a property is deemed abandoned and titled to a county land bank. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Much more than just “drug houses”; State grants to fund commercial building demolition would propel county land banks as key drivers of Ohio’s economic development

In late April 2021, a legislative committee in the Ohio House held its second hearing to consider creating a $100 million grant program, exclusively for county land banks, to fund commercial building demolition. Ohio’s land bank statutes are recognized as a national model, uniquely providing an opt-in for county commissioners to direct tax collections to fund their county land banks’ activities. That revenue model, coupled with allocations from the state’s Hardest Hit Fund, allowed land banks to grow in number during the past decade and thrive in addressing so-called nonproductive land in their communities. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

Bricker & Eckler to present American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 webinar for Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bricker & Eckler will present a free webinar, "American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Impact on Local Governments and Small Businesses," for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, April 20, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Many Americans have already begun receiving their “stimmies” - one of the most well-known aspects of the stimulus package. For the lesser known provisions – including large sums to be paid to local governments and small businesses - Bricker attorneys Jeff Harris, Jackie Lewis and Brooke Mangiarelli will provide an overview presentation and take questions from attendees. The webinar is open to Chamber members and non-members alike. Register here >>

Economic Development, Federal Updates, Financial Incentives, Project Finance

Bricker closes Northern Michigan PACE project

Treetops Resort in Otsego County recently closed the first PACE project in Northern Michigan, a transaction over $2.9 million, for a renovation that will include a comprehensive energy efficiency upgrade. Bricker & Eckler, LLP served as counsel to the lender, Inland Green Capital. Barry Owens, Treetops Resort general manager, said the PACE project funding will enable improvements that guests will “not only see — but also feel” and reduce the resort’s carbon footprint. The renovation is expected to save the ski and golf resort over $3.3 million while helping to meet its latest sustainability goals. 

Energy Efficiency, Environmental, Project Finance

Bricker & Eckler’s Bell to present PACE financing at Smart Columbus Energy webinar

Learn more about PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing at Smart Columbus Energy’s online event featuring a presentation by Bricker & Eckler’s Caleb Bell. A new initiative through Smart Columbus enables Central Ohio energy buyers to collaboratively purchase cost effective, Ohio-based renewable energy. Bell will discuss how Midwest property owners can use PACE financing to unlock energy-saving and renewable energy opportunities with no upfront costs. The presentation will include an overview of PACE programs available throughout Central Ohio and example transactions. To register for this event, click here.

Economic Development, Project Finance, Renewable Energy, State Updates

Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority’s 2020 was success despite pandemic

Despite the “chaos and uncertainty” of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic slowdown, the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority (CFFA) said in a recent news release that the organization’s “transaction level remained strong” in 2020. The Finance Authority “was involved in 23 transactions representing more than $291 million in development financing and loans,” with projects including Grandview Crossing, Dublin’s Bridge Park, and The Peninsula in Franklinton. The Finance Authority also introduced its new Neighborhood Improvement and Small Business Loan program and supported the Columbus Regional Energy Special Improvement District (ESID). For more, read the full news release.

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates
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