Ohio’s Vacant (Dinosaur) Buildings are not Extinct-Incentives Available to Create Jurassic Building Parks

When I think of old, vacant industrial buildings, I see opportunities vs. eyesores. Brick and block is a far better insulator than thin-skinned metal siding, and certainly adds character to the exterior appearance as well. Often, floors are 6’’ level concrete, spans (between columns) are 40’ to 60’, clear ceiling height is at a premium and  amenities like cranes, high pressure gas lines and an abundance of power are common. While there are often challenges to retro-fit a vacant industrial or commercial facility, there are many incentives in Ohio, as well. Three programs, particularly worth mentioning are:

1.  Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund: The Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund was enacted as part of HB
18 (signed by Governor Kasich on May 4, 2012) to provide grant funds for businesses that create jobs in underutilized commercial and industrial sites.  The $2 million Fund basically offers a $500 grant for each new job created in a building that has been at least 75% vacant for a year or more.  The funds can be used for acquisition, renovation, or equipment for the building. Employers must hire at least 50 employees or bring at least half of their current Ohio work force to the facility. The Jobs must be full-time and meet or exceed minimum wage. 

With 10 projects underway and more than 300 new jobs created, this incentive is already making a big impact across Ohio. The funding process is on an open cycle and the money is authorized through August of 2015.

To learn more about the Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund click here.

2. JobsOhio Revitalization Program Loan and Grant Fund: Created to replace the popular Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund and Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, The JobsOhio Revitalization Program is designed to support the acceleration of redeveloping brownfields, vacant and underutilized sites in Ohio. Priority is to be placed on projects that support near term job creation
opportunities for Ohioans.

An eligible site is “an abandoned or under-utilized contiguous property where redevelopment for the immediate and primary purpose of job creation and retention are challenged by significant redevelopment constraints”.

An eligible applicant is “a business, non-profit or local government where an end user has signed an agreement such as a letter of intent, option, lease or holds title for the project site and has a
specific business plan, financing plan and schedule for redevelopment and job creation to occur.”

Possible loans and grants under the JobsOhio Revitalization Program include:

a) Grant of up to $200,000 for Phase II environmental assessments;

b) Grant of up to $500,000 re: asbestos and lead paint. The funds can be used for asbestos abatement, demolition, site preparation, and disposal of waste; and

c) Loan for up to 75% of environmental clean-up/remediation costs (max. $5 Million) with the possibility of up to $1 million cleanup grant coupled with the loan.

If you have a project and would like to discuss funding opportunities through the program, you can contact the JobsOhio Network Partner for your area.

3. Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program: The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a twenty-five percent (25%) tax credit for the rehabilitation expenses of owners and lessees of historically significant buildings. A building is eligible if it is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places; contributes to a National Register Historic District, National Park Service Certified Historic District, or Certified Local Government historic district; or is listed as a local landmark by a Certified Local Government. The program is competitive and receives applications bi-annually in March and September.
Over the first ten funding rounds, tax credits have been approved for 174 projects to rehabilitate 246 historic buildings in 40 different communities. The program is projected to leverage more $2.2 billion in private redevelopment funding and federal tax credits directly through the rehabilitation projects. For more information log on to: https://development.ohio.gov/cs/cs_ohptc.htm

While you still may not be able to get a silk purse from a sow’s ear, it may certainly be worth your while to revitalize your business and one of Ohio’s “Jurassic” buildings at the same time.

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