Business Meetings

Columbus embraces cultural diversity in its community leaders, businesses, arts and entertainment scene. Throughout the city are a wealth of restaurants and a handful of markets representing all cuisine types. You'll find galleries with world art, such as Kibibi , Global Gallery and Black Arts Plus sprinkled among larger exhibits at The King Arts Complex and the Riffe Gallery.

Population of the city of Columbus is approximately 730,000 with 134 nations represented speaking 105 languages. According to the 2000 Census, the cultural breakdown is 24.5% African American, 3.4% Asian and 2.5% Hispanic. Important segments of the population include up to 45,000 Somalis and 65,000 Latinos/Hispanics.

Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office

The Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office promotes inclusiveness of minority and female owned businesses within the City's procurement process and to facilitate the equitable awarding of contracts to minority and female business enterprises.

Financial Assistance

We offer numerous financial tools to assist the needs of a growing business. Financial incentives are used strategically to leverage significant business expansions or relocations. Incentives are based on the benefits a project represents for the community and whether tax incentives are necessary to secure the project for Columbus. Criteria include the amount of investment and job creation and/or retention, and whether the project involves a priority sector or targeted geographic area.

Property Tax Abatement:
Enterprise Zone – The Enterprize Zone covers about 97% of the City and allows us to abate new property taxes up to 75% for 10 Years.

Community Reinvestment Area – We currently have nine Pre-1994 CRAs and 7 Post-1994 CRAs within the City. These CRA districts allow abatement on new property taxes up to 100% for 15 years.

Performance Incentives:
Downtown Office Incentive - Payment equal to 50% of local income tax withholdings for a negotiated amount of years for new jobs created and retained within Downtown.

Large Employer Office Incentive – Payment equal to 50% of local income tax withholdings for a negotiated amount of years for large-scale (500+) job creation and retention within the City.

Jobs Growth Incentives – Payments equivalent up to 30% of local income tax withholdings for a negotiated amount of years for non-Downtown job creation and retention within the City.

Capital Improvements Funds:
Downtown Streetscape Improvements – Funding for Downtown Commercial and residential projects to be used specifically for streetscape projects.

Capital Improvements for ED – Funding for improvements in the public right-of-way to assist in the development of commercial sites.

Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund – Annual awards made to central city neighborhoods for capital improvement proposed by the neighborhood.

Business Loans:
Business Development Loan Fund – Loan of up to $200,000 for acquisition of machinery and equipment or real estate.

Working Capital Loan Fund – Loan of up to $100,000 per year for five years to be used for operating costs.

NCR Investment Fund – Loan of up to $200,000 for fixed asset financing within the NCR Districts.

NCR Commercial Investment Fund– Loan of up to $25,000 for exterior renovation of real property within the NCR Districts.

NCR Façade Renovation Fund – 0% interest loan of up to $7,500 for exterior renovation of real property within the NCR Districts.

Green Switch Loan Fund – Loan of up to $200,000 for gap financing of energy efficient construction/renovation projects. Loan funds can also be used for the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment.

International Business Assistance

Columbus' International Assistance Program is designed to stimulate foreign direct investment through international trade opportunities. Types of assistance include business-to-business linkages with Columbus companies, coordination of business visits to Columbus and packaging of available sites, building and incentives.

Columbus is the location of Foreign Trade Zone No. 138, comprised of nearly 5,000 acres of industrial space. Benefits of the Foreign Trade Zone include reduction or eliminations of customs duties associated with the import and export of goods.

Neighborhood Commercial Revitaliztion

The Neighborhood Commercial Revitaliztion (NCR) program offers technical assistance, loans and matching grants, capital improvements and planning services in conjunction with the established business association in 6 commercial areas surrounding downtown. NCR staff provides assistance to individual businesses to secure architectual design services and financial incentives for acquisition and exterior rehabilitation of commercial property through the NCR Investment Fund, the NCR Commercial Improvement Loan Fund, the NCR Facade Renovation Fund and the NCR Storefront Renovation Grant Fund.

New Business Attraction

The City of Columbus' economic development staff is available to assist you in your evaluation of our community. We can streamline your efforts by researching the facts and figures you're looking for. You'll receive a complete presentation from us outlining the points important to you.

We can assist in the following ways:

  • Available real estate
  • Financial Incentives
  • Business Taxes
  • Demographics and Economic Data
  • Workforce Development and Training
  • Regulatory Navigation
  • Introductions to community leaders
  • Community Tours

Columbus is an aggressive city that prides itself on providing a community where businesses can thrive. Contact us to learn more.

Economic Development Division
150 S. Front Street, Suite 220
Columbus, OH 43215
614-645-8616

E-mail us: pf.development.economicdevelopment@columbus.gov

Green Columbus Fund

Green Columbus Fund is a reimbursement grant program that uses financial incentives to encourage sustainable development and redevelopment. Private businesses and non-profits can apply for grants to either redevelop Brownfield sites or to build green in Columbus.

For more information open any of the following documents:

The grants process consists of the following steps:

  1. Submit LEED or Brownfield application
  2. Development Department reviews and approves
  3. City Council authorizes & encumbers funds
  4. Enter into grant agreement
  5. Complete the project
  6. Request reimbursement and receive grant

On February 28, 2011, Columbus City Council authorized the first four grants under this program, thus encumbering 24% of the one million dollar fund. These grant awards went to two LEED projects - the Wesley Glen Wellness Center and the Capital Park Family Health Center - and for Brownfield assessment work at two sites - 421-435 West State Street and 154-164 South Yale Avenue.

For specifics contact:

David Hull
Assistant Director
Development Department
dkhull@columbus.gov
614-645-6330

Brownfield Remediation

Brownfields are abandoned and/or environmentally contaminated industrial sites which are under utilized and afford the potential for redevelopment. Such redevelopment can be in the form of commercial, industrial or residential uses that benefit the community by removing hazardous and unsightly properties and restoring them to productive use.

Brownfield Funding Sources

  1. Clean Ohio Fund: Up to $3 million in State of Ohio grant funding, per site, may be made available for site acquisition, clean up, infrastructure, or engineering costs.
  2. U.S. EPA Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund: Up to $500,000 in federal loans are available for clean-up costs with application to the Columbus Department of Development. Loans may be used for all cleanup activities, but may not include site assessments or projects where contamination stems for asbestos, lead paint, or petroleum.
  3. U.S. EPA Brownfield Assessment Pilot: This program funds phase I and phase II site assessments as well as cleanup design. The funds may not be applied to actual cleanup costs as these funds are used only to determine the extent and character or contamination along with estimating the cost of cleanup.

Who is Eligible?
Any owner of a Columbus brownfield site willing to work with the Columbus Department of Development on a site clean up and redevelopment plan is eligible.

How Can I Apply?
The Division of Economic Development is happy to assist you in all phases of the application process. Please feel free to contact Gary Guglielmi at:

Department of Development/Division of Economic Development
150 S. Front St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 645-6427

Notice of public meeting and information
repository for a Clean Ohio Revitalization Grant.

The City of Columbus is applying for a Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund Grant for cleanup of the former Timken Site located at 1047 Cleveland Ave., Columbus, Ohio. The application will be available for review beginning July 18, 2011 at the Northside Public Library located at 1423 N. High Street, Columbus, OH until September 9, 2011. A public meeting to discuss and solicit comments to the grant application will be held on September 9, 2011 at 3 pm at the Northside Public Library, Meeting Room, located at 1423 N. High Street. Application information is also available online at http://econdev.columbus.gov/content_two_column.aspx?id=26120 . Any questions may be referred to City of Columbus, Gary Guglielmi at (614) 645-6427.

Former Timken Site Application Summary

1. Goal of the Brownfield Project

a) Economic Benefit

The goal of the City of Columbus (Applicant) and its Development Partner, Wagenbrenner Development Inc (Wagenbrenner) is to utilize a $3,000,000 Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF) grant as a catalyst for the re-development of the vacant industrial property at the former Timken Site. The property is located at the southwest corner of East Fifth Avenue and Cleveland Avenue just north of downtown Columbus. It is the intentions of the Applicant and Development Partner to apply for a Round 11, Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund (CORF) grant in July 2011. Subject to receiving a CORF grant, early redevelopment plans consist of a mixed-use development to include retail and flex-office industrial buildings. This project will remove a heavy industrial use from the Milo-Grogan neighborhood and eliminate the ongoing threats to public health, safety and the environment associated with the abandoned property and soil contamination at the Site.

Upon receiving a CORF grant, the 31 acre site (“Project”) will be re-developed by Wagenbrenner, who was the developer on seven other successful CORF projects in Central Ohio, including the Gowdy Field projects (two separate CORF Grants), Columbus Coated Fabrics, A.C. Humko/Harrison Park, Kimball Midwest, 3M, and Lancaster Glass sites. In addition, subject to the issuance of an NFA and CNS, The Strait & Lamp Group (dba 5th Avenue Lumber), which is located immediately adjacent to the Timken site, will expand its facilities/operations onto part of the Timken site. As part of this expansion onto the Timken site, The Strait & Lamp Group has committed to both the retention and creation of new jobs for the City of Columbus. It is anticipated that as a result of their expansion, Strait & Lamp Group will invest over $1,500,000 and Wagenbrenner will invest approximately $10,000,000 in the development of the remaining Timken site which equates to a total combined investment of approximately $11,500,000. The estimated dollars to be leveraged or taxes generated, as a result of this development is expected to be in excess of $400,000 per year in taxes and income tax to the City of Columbus and Franklin County. Today, the property sits vacant and has no economic benefit to the community.

b) Community Benefit

The former Timken site is located on a high profile corner within the Milo-Grogan neighborhood on the near north side of Columbus. The redevelopment of this site will have a tremendous social and economic impact for downtown. Some of the unique aspects of this project are:

  • Economic support from responsible party – the responsible party, The Timken Company (Timken), is playing an instrumental role in the remediation and redevelopment of this property. Timken has donated this 31 acre site to 1047 Cleveland LLC, an affiliated company of Wagenbrenner Development. Timken has been tremendously helpful, flexible and responsive through the CORF application process.
  • Economic benefit to the City of Columbus – this site is very important to both the City of Columbus and Milo-Grogan neighborhood as it represents a “gateway” to the area. It is a unique opportunity to have nearly 31 acres of prime real estate in a downtown environment available for development. The superior site visibility and high traffic volume give this corner strong retail redevelopment potential. The proximity of this site to downtown and the overall size of this vacant site make it ideal for flex-office industrial/distribution development. In addition, with the planned expansion of the 5th Avenue Lumber facility, jobs will be retained and created.
  • Environmental issues associated with vacant site – Because all the buildings on site have been previously demolished, water saturation through contaminated soil and possible migration of these contaminants is a dangerous existing condition.

c) Other Funding Sources

Subject to receiving a CORF grant, the Applicant, the City of Columbus, will invest approximately $2,520,000 of infrastructure improvements immediately at or adjacent to the Timken site along 5th Avenue and Cleveland Avenue. In addition, the Development Partner, Wagenbrenner Development, will invest approximately $330,000 for Cleanup/Remediation of the site. These amounts total $2,850,000 of matching funds (43.08%) for the Timken project.

2. History of the project property

The Phase I Property Assessment indicates the property was developed prior to 1900 and at that time the northwest portion of the property contained a brick manufacturer. The remainder of the property was developed subsequent to approximately 1920 for manufacturing industrial and automotive bearings. World War II saw increased manufacturing development of the entire property. Timken ceased manufacturing in 2001 and has removed all but one former manufacturing building. The property contains primarily former building slabs, asphalt pavement, and gravel surfaces. Timken has voluntarily undertaken numerous environmental investigations and performed corrective actions relative to quench oil and PCB releases to certain areas below the property.

Surrounding uses immediately around the subject property include 5th Avenue Lumber on the northwest corner of the site with various commercial/industrial buildings to the south. Retail exists at the corners of Cleveland Ave and E. 5th Ave.

Buildings were demolished between approximately the mid 1980s and 2007, although underground building foundations remain. Most of the surface of site is currently vacant.

3) Environmental improvements and benefits

a) Cleanup Benefits

Soil and groundwater below the property have been sampled between the mid 2001 and 2011 as part of VAP Phase II Property Assessment activities. Soil and groundwater below the northern and southeastern portions of the property are impacted by petroleum compounds (i.e. total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in excess of VAP generic standards. PCB concentrations remaining on the property are limited to the former Building 251 basement area, which currently is covered by a protective concrete cap. Groundwater below the northwestern and southeastern portions of the property is impacted by VOC and PAH compounds above the VAP generic unrestricted potable use standards (UPUS). The property has an urban setting designation (USD) relative to the potable use of groundwater pathway.

Cleanup activities proposed for the project include removing source area soils containing elevated contaminant concentrations to remove compound concentrations to VAP acceptable levels. Environmental benefits of the cleanup will include reducing the threat to human health and the environment, through removal of elevated contaminant concentrations. Additional environmental benefits will be removing the blighting influence of the property's current condition as a vacant former industrial site, and returning the site to productive use.

b) Sustainability

  1. Recycling of demolition materials – Current concrete pavements and building foundation materials remaining on the property will be recycled for beneficial re-use as recycled aggregate construction materials.
  2. Minimizing any storm water run-off impacts from the site during remediation activities - Potential storm water run-off impacts from the site during remediation activities will be minimized through use of approved storm water mitigation techniques.
  3. Utilizing green building techniques – Wagenbrenner will evaluate opportunities for green (or LEED) development on a case-by-case basis but will strive to utilize sustainable building practices where possible.
  4. Utilizing alternative and sustainable energy sources during and after remediation activities. - As part of the redevelopment of the site, the developer will make every effort to use alternative and sustainable energy sources including, but not limited to: energy star products, lighting and windows, high efficiency HVAC, and low or no VOC paints.
4) Project's readiness to proceed if funded.

Wagenbrenner Development through and affiliated company, 1047 Cleveland LLC, has already acquired the 31 acre site as a result of the donation of the property by the responsible party, The Timken Company. The City and Wagenbrenner are prepared to proceed with the demolition of the existing building foundations, remediation of the property and construction of new infrastructure throughout the Project Property upon award of the requested $3,000,000 grant. Construction of the new buildings will begin upon the issuance of a Covenant Not to Sue by the Ohio EPA.

Atlas Building

1. Goal of the Brownfield Project

The Schiff Capital Group is a privately held real estate and investment firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Schiff Capital specializes in buying, selling, and developing properties, obtaining and providing financing, and using its extensive experience to structure complex real estate deals and business transactions. Schiff Capital is currently working on and finalizing deals in hospitality, multi-family, office, retail, medical office, and financing. Although we are currently working on projects across the country, Schiff Capital focuses on the central Ohio and Columbus market. Specifically, we are focused on multi-family developments in Columbus's Short North and downtown neighborhoods. Schiff Capital Group was founded by Michael S. Schiff. Before starting Schiff Capital Group, Michael was Executive Vice-President of Schottenstein Property Group. At Schottenstein, Michael was responsible for developing over 10 million square feet of office and retail space, and looks forward to re-developing the Atlas Building. The transformation of the Atlas building by the Schiff Capital Group includes reconstructing the interior configuration of floors two through 13 to include apartment units with an average size of 950 square feet. The basement and some above-grade space will be used to create amenities for the apartments.

The 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan (the Plan) includes 10 principles, 12 ideas, and 8 strategies. The Plan is included in its entirety at: http://www.downtowncolumbus.com/plan . The Plan indicates that the downtown Columbus housing market has expanded over the past 10 years and that downtown actually gained residential population for the first time since 1950, even in the midst of the housing market downturn. According to the Plan, over 600 housing units are currently under construction, planned or recently opened in downtown Columbus. The Plan indicates that since 2002, more than 2,000 residents have moved into downtown Columbus. The Plan indicates that there is still work to be done to achieve enough critical population mass to make downtown vibrant and active.

Principle #5 of the Plan is to increase the amount and the variety of downtown housing. The 12 ideas of the Plan cover three areas of the city: the Discovery District, High Street Core and the Riverfront. The project property is situated in the High Street Core. Specifically, Principle #5 covers the project property that involves restoring High Street as downtown's commercial corridor.

The project property is included in Strategy #1- Urban Form. The strategy of Urban Form is to establish minimum density, height and design standards for downtown development to ensure an orderly and appropriate development pattern and concentrate neighborhood and retail nodes to achieve a vibrant and active downtown. The project property is included in District A, which is identified as the primary urban core/downtown commercial district. According to the Strategy #1-Urban Form, District A of Columbus should have housing ten-stories and greater and that any new construction should consist of eight and greater stories. This Strategy coincides with the Atlas building construction and redevelopment goals.

Thus, the project property is discussed in the 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan, as included in this Attachment of the COAF Application. Portions of the Plan that are included in this attachment contain a map that indicates land use of the project property and the adjacent properties.

Funding associated with the re-development of the Atlas Building is as follows:

  • Schiff Capital- $2,500,000
  • Bank Financing- $8,750,000
  • Historic Tax Credits- $4,500,000
  • COAF -$300,000
  • City of Columbus LEED Incentives- $200,000
  • City of Columbus Streetscape Funds -$ 100,000

2. History of the Project Property

From at least 1887 through 1901 the Project Property (the "Property") had consisted of residential dwellings and/or 1 or 2-story store fronts that included a "change laundry" facility in the central portion of the Property and "Orro Printing" in the eastern portion (1887) and a kitchen and restaurant in the eastern portion (1891). Sometime subsequent to 1901, the store fronts were demolished and a new building, consisting of twelve floors and a basement, was erected in 1905, encompassing the entire Property. An attempt was made to locate the approximate locations of historical laundry facilities by utilizing the scales associated with historical Sanborn fire insurance maps. It was determined, utilizing the scales associated with historical Sanborn fire insurance maps, that the laundry facilities occupied (approximately) the tenant space that is currently occupied by a dental office. Based on the information obtained from the 1887, 1891 and 1901 Sanborn fire insurance maps, several store fronts occupied the Property prior to the Atlas Building's construction in 1904-1905. The Certified Professional determined that any contamination that may have been caused by possible dry-cleaning operations (or any other operations) was not of concern due to the fact that once the buildings residing on the Property prior to the Atlas Building were demolished, any potentially contaminated soils were most likely removed in order to construct the foundation of the Atlas Building.

Furthermore, any dry-cleaning facilities (or any other facility) that may have resided on the Property subsequent to 1905 would not have impacted soil and/or groundwater since a basement is located underneath all of the store fronts within the Atlas Building. The building has historically been referred to as the "Columbus Savings & Trust Building" (1916 Columbus City Directories) and "Ferris Building" (1921 Sanborn Fire Insurance map) but is more commonly referred to as the "Atlas Building" (1923-2009 Columbus City Directories). Columbus City Directories indicated that in 1916, all twelve floors of the Atlas Building were occupied, consisting of individual businesses including, but not limited to, realty companies, insurance agencies, legal offices, medical offices and construction companies. Throughout the years, occupancy has dwindled as to where only a handful of tenants are currently occupying the store fronts and all the upper floors (two through twelve) are vacant.

3. Environmental Improvements and Benefits

The Atlas Building consists of a mostly vacant building in a dilapidated condition. An asbestos survey of the building identified the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), which are to be abated as part of remedial activities at the site, and will reduce the potential risk to human health and the environment.

4. Project's Readiness to Proceed

There are no impediments to the Project's ability to proceed immediately upon funding.


 


 


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