Developer celebrates progress on $1B Cincinnati-area riverfront project

Covington, Kentucky–based development firm Corporex recently celebrated the progress of its long-term riverfront commercial and residential project by placing a time capsule and holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for a completed pedestrian bridge, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Corporex “has invested $250 million so far out of the projected $1 billion sum needed” to complete the Ovation project on “the shore where the Licking and Ohio rivers meet,” according to the article. Ovation will “see the development of a variety of outdoor excursions and properties across its 25-acre site,” including “a concert venue, restaurants, office space, condominiums and apartments, a hotel and various entertainment sites.” Corporex Chief Real Estate Officer Tom Banta said the project “is centered around being a multifaceted development,” with “diverse building types and transportation methods.” Corporex Chairman Bill Butler said the project would not have been possible with tax increment financing (TIF) policies. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required). 

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates

Plans to convert 1917 shoe factory into apartments closer to approval

The Stonehenge Company’s plans to “transform a bygone South Side shoe factory into a five-story apartment building earned a tentative thumbs-up from city planners” in Columbus recently, reports. The Brewery District Commission “said it is pleased” with the developer’s progress on a proposal to convert the former factory buildings into “a 100-unit apartment complex while keeping intact the brick façade” with the faded “Jones Heel Manufacturing Co.” logo, according to the article. The developer wants at least 10% of the one- and two- bedroom apartment units “to be reserved as affordable housing for low-income and working-class residents.” The Jones Heels buildings, which were built in 1917, are located at the northwest corner of South Front Street and West Whittier Street. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, State Updates

Cincinnati Port could develop its first spec building to prove concept

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority “is considering whether to do something it has never done before: Develop a speculative, multistory industrial building in Camp Washington to show that such a project can be successful,” the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. The Port’s vision for the project is “to build a vertical industrial building with the manufacturing facility on one or several floors, storage, parking and offices all in one stack” at a time when “most manufacturers prefer horizontal structures,” according to the article. One mission of the Port is “to bring more manufacturing jobs to the region by helping redevelop vacant or underutilized industrial land.” Laura Brunner, Port CEO, said, “[w]e have to present options for smaller spaces with a vertical orientation. The best thing is for us to do a proof of concept and self-develop a building.” REDI Cincinnati and JobsOhio are working with the Port to determine which industries can be targeted for the building. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, State Updates

New hotel hopes to be “heart” of The Peninsula in Franklinton

The Junto hotel, “designed to be the beating heart” of the $250 million development called The Peninsula in Franklinton, is preparing to open, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Including 198 rooms, two restaurants, a coffee shop, multiple event and meeting spaces, The Junto (pronounced “joon-tow”) is named after “a club founded by Ben Franklin in 1727 to gather people to improve society,” according to the article. The Junto “includes nearly 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a ballroom with a dedicated kitchen that can seat 180 for dinner.” Other amenities include “a gym, patio, working spaces and the ‘Gear Garage,’ where hotel guests can borrow toys for the day including bicycles, kayaks, paddleboards, instant cameras, backpacks and GoPro video cameras.” Columbus-based private investment firm Rockbridge developed the independent hotel. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, State Updates

Vitamin and supplement manufacturer investing $200M in new central Ohio facility

Pharmavite, the manufacturer of Nature Made and MegaFood brand vitamins and supplements, is “investing more than $200 million” into a new 225,000-square-foot facility in New Albany, Ohio, reports. The plant, “which will create 225 new jobs within the Columbus Region,” will support the company’s national portfolio, according to the article. The $200 million investment will include construction, machinery and equipment for the state-of-the-art facility expected to begin operations by the end of 2024. Pharmavite VP of Operations Kara Roeder said the company will be “joining the area’s emerging science, innovation, and technology hub, thanks largely in part to the support of our public sector partners at the City of New Albany and Jobs Ohio.” For more, read the full article

Economic Development, State Updates

New 1.3M SF distribution center will consolidate Scotts Miracle Gro’s logistics

Scotts Miracle Gro is investing $2.9 million to build “a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center near its Marysville headquarters” that will create 40 to 50 new jobs, Columbus Business First reports. The building “will include 10,000 square feet of office space, with the remaining 1.29 million square feet to be utilized for product storage,” replacing five locations Scotts operates across Central Ohio, according to the article. Scotts Chief Communications Officer Tom Matthews said those current sites are “operated by third-party logistics providers, so the company did not own or lease them,” and Scotts is “working to optimize our entire supply chain network to ensure we’re operating as efficiently as we can.” The new facility “aims to reduce trucking and the use of fossil fuels, while also adding new capacity and distribution capabilities for Scotts.” Crawford Hoying is developing the project, and Contegra Construction is building the distribution center, which is “about 70% complete” and expected to open this summer. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, Environmental, State Updates

Port authority approves financing for Bridgeworks project in Cleveland

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board recently approved bond issuances that will provide “about $3 million in upfront cash” for the 16-story mixed-use Bridgeworks tower in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, Crain’s Cleveland reports. The bond issuances “will allow the developers to save about $2.3 million in sales taxes on construction materials,” according to the article. The port “agreed to issue $4.13 million in taxable revenue bonds through its bond fund” that will be offered on the open market. The bonds are “tied to a tax-increment financing (TIF) arrangement, a 30-year structure that will redirect a portion of the new property-tax revenues generated by the development to paying off project costs.” Bridgeworks will include 140 apartments, 70 of which will be income-restricted “workforce housing,” a restaurant, a 130-room Motto by Hilton hotel, lower-level retail and structured parking. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, Project Finance, State Updates

$31.8M for affordable housing will have ‘profound impact’ on Cincinnati

Developers of “shovel-ready” affordable housing projects in Hamilton County “now have access to more than $31 million” in funding opportunities, reports. County commissioners and the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) are “using money from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA)” to finance “the production, rehabilitation, and preservation of affordable housing units,” according to the article. Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said “the investment will help stabilize neighborhoods and offer more opportunities for families to generate wealth.” Housing projects that may qualify for the funding include multi-family rentals; homeownership, “including single-family and owner-occupied multi-family”; and permanent supportive housing “to improve access to stable, affordable housing among individuals who are homeless.” The county encourages developers to apply for the initial round of funds through May 16. For more, read the full article

Economic Development, Project Finance, State Updates

New $200M mixed-use project will be “transformative” for Middletown, region

A $200 million mixed-use project centered around an entertainment center in Middletown “hopes to provide a ‘one of a kind’ quality of life and economic development benefits to the entire region” and “spur continued investment interest in surrounding areas,” the Dayton Business Journal reports. Todd Duplain, principal at the project’s developer Woodard Development, said the goal is “to create a sustainable, Class A, mixed-use regional asset that benefits the residents of the city of Middletown, Warren County and all Southwest Ohio,” according to the article. The entertainment center accounts for $110 million of the project cost, with “the remaining $90 million slated for surrounding development in retail, restaurant, residential and office space.” The center “will include three linked but separate playing and performance surfaces and areas” that will allow for “ice events, hockey, arena football, soccer and lacrosse” as well as concerts, community events, exhibitions and trade shows, among other uses. Plans also include two hotels, apartments and townhouses, retail and a convenience store with gas. For more, read the full article (subscription may be required).

Economic Development, State Updates

New CRA in Kettering could spur new investment and improvements in older neighborhoods

City officials in Kettering say creating a new Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) could spur economic development in an area on the city’s northeast end that includes about “900 homes and Miami Valley Research Park [MVRP] vacant land” by offering “long-term tax breaks” for improvements to properties, the Dayton Daily News reports. A state-required housing study says the area “includes ‘several properties with blighting influences’ in neighborhoods conceived during World War II that have lacked significant reinvestment,” according to the article. The CRA would provide 75% tax exemptions for 10, 12 or 15 years depending on the amount invested and types of properties improved. City Manager Matt Greeson said Kettering is trying to create a tool that would help residents in the area improve their properties and also “incentivize high-quality, market-rate apartments.” Cleveland-based Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) owns about 50 acres at MVRP and “has expressed strong interest in building a 300-unit apartment complex” there. City Economic Development Manager Amy Schrimpf said she expects ICP to submit plans soon after a CRA is approved by the city. For more, read the full article.

Economic Development, Financial Incentives, State Updates
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