Feb. 1, 2016
Where: 242 acres located at the southeastern corner of State Route 32 and Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township.
Cost: $4.9 million, paid for from proceeds of Ivy Pointe development.
Buildout: 10 years.
County will provide: Water, sewer and natural gas extensions; storm water infrastructure; telecom infrastructure; and public roads.
Impact: 3,530 direct and indirect jobs; $1.5 billion in economic activity per year when completed.
Q. What is a “business ready” site?
A “business ready” or “shovel ready” site is one that through ownership or option is easily available for transfer to the interested company; utilities are present or can be quickly delivered; environmental and other studies have identified any areas of risk; and transportation access exists.
For an interested company, these factors can cut down considerably on the site development costs and time to market.
Q. Why is it important for Clermont County to have more developable sites?
A. As more companies decide to locate in Clermont County, more jobs become available to county residents. In the four-county metro region (Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont), a greater percentage of Clermont residents commute out-of-county (60%) compared to the others. An expanding job base in Clermont County means better quality of life and more tax dollars invested at home.
Q. How many jobs and what kinds of jobs do you expect South Afton Industrial Park to eventually yield?
A. An economic impact analysis by the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati estimated that South Afton Industrial Park will create 1,855 jobs at the site and 1,675 indirect jobs in supplies, services, etc. when fully built out. South Afton is expected to attract manufacturing and warehousing businesses. Additionally, the report states that development and construction of the site will generate 863 jobs over 10 years.
Q. Why is county government involved in financing a business ready site? Shouldn’t private developers be doing this?
A. Under Ohio law, local governments have several economic development tools at their disposal, including CICs (community improvement corporations) and Port Authorities, and public financing tools such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts and Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD). CICs and Port Authorities can be used to acquire real estate. Both TIFs and JEDDs can be used to help finance public infrastructure components such as roads, water, sewer, storm water, etc. Private developers now expect public finance tools to pay for these components, and most large development projects in the Cincinnati region now utilize many of these tools to close financing gaps.
Clermont County makes these investments because it wants to attract more companies, whether in manufacturing, distribution or services, which will create more jobs, and grow the local economy. Further, these investments, such as Clermont County’s in Ivy Pointe (see white paper) seed later investments.
Q. What exactly is the Clermont County CIC?
A. The Community Improvement Corporation, established in 2003, is an economic development tool for Clermont County. It is focused on facilitating industrial and office park development. Its current members are the County Commissioners, a Clermont County resident and private business owner, and the director of the county’s Community and Economic Development Department. The CIC can acquire and market real estate.
Q. What other projects has the CIC been involved in?
A. The Clermont County CIC was instrumental in the development of Ivy Pointe in Union Township, now the headquarters of TQL; a second office building for Tata Consultancy Services and Senco; and the future site of Mercy Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital campuses.
More than 1,300 people are currently employed at TQL and Tata/Senco at Ivy Pointe. Another 1,200 jobs are attributed to the indirect impact as well as reinvestment from the proceeds generated by the Ivy Pointe investment, and $95 million in new real property investment by the private sector. The county purchased 99 acres of land for $8.3 million, all of which has been returned to the county as land was sold, and has realized $1.7 million in interest earnings.
Q. Will the South Afton Industrial Park make Clermont County more competitive?
A. Yes. Compared to Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties, Clermont County currently has much less available industrial space of 50,000 square feet or greater. Clermont County has a total of 790,000 square feet available, including four buildings with at least 50,000 square feet, compared to Butler County’s 2.4 million square feet and 27 buildings. This new site will make Clermont County more attractive to existing manufacturers in the county that want to expand, but lack the current footprint, or manufacturers who are new to the area.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Feb. 1, 2016) — The Clermont County CIC, Inc. has purchased 242 acres of land at Half Acre Road and State Route 32 in Williamsburg Township that will be developed as South Afton Commerce Park, a “business-ready” site for manufacturers.
The CIC is a nonprofit created under Ohio law to facilitate economic development activities for the Clermont County commissioners, and has served in this capacity since 2004.
Related: South Afton Industrial Park FAQ
The $4.9 million purchase, which was finalized today, was announced by Bob Proud, President of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners. Commissioners are members of the CIC Board of Trustees. “With this land, we will be able to offer manufacturers both inside and outside Clermont County a prime location,” Proud said. “Our job is to create the environment for economic development. The jobs themselves will come from the private sector. I support this effort because it will lead to good paying jobs for our residents and generate new property tax revenue to support the local school district, township services, and countywide services.”
3,500+ jobs projected
The site has the potential to significantly boost Clermont County’s economy. According to a study by the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center, the site could provide 1,855 permanent jobs once fully built out, with an additional 1,675 in related jobs (suppliers and services) for an annual payroll of $186 million. Many of those jobs would go to Clermont County residents, approximately 60% of whom now commute out of the county to work.
By year 11, the property value of the South Afton Commerce Park is estimated to be at $94 million, generating a total of $32 million in new property taxes over the life of the development, according to the study.
The Williamsburg Township Trustees applauded the efforts of the county in developing South Afton Commerce Park. “We are excited to be part of the team in bringing new investment to the township. The new real estate taxes from this business park will help offset recent cuts to our local government fund and allow us to maintain our current level of township services. This development could also be the catalyst needed to spur retail and service sector development to the eastern area of the county,” said Guy Bainum, chairman of the Williamsburg Township Board of Trustees.
This site fulfills a need not just in Clermont County, but in Greater Cincinnati. Last August, Johnna Reeder, CEO of REDI Cincinnati, said that the region was far behind where it needed to be to attract manufacturers. Sixty-one companies came to Greater Cincinnati in 2014 looking for potential locations, she said, and there weren’t sufficient sites to show them. Clermont County’s economic development team was unable to submit sites or buildings for 83% of the 58 inquiries received last year, due to a lack of market-ready properties.
County to provide basic infrastructure
To prepare South Afton Commerce Park for potential tenants, the CIC will provide water, sewer and natural gas extensions; storm water infrastructure; telecom infrastructure; and roads. The CIC will pursue grants to help defray those costs, which will leverage the use of local public funds and increase the return on investment.
The purchase price of the land is being funded from proceeds of Clermont County’s Ivy Pointe investment. In 2005, the county, using the CIC, bought the land that became Ivy Pointe, which now houses TQL, Tata Consultancy Services, Senco and others. Mercy Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have each also purchased over 20 acres of land at Ivy Pointe for future expansions. The principal, which has been repaid, is being used for this purchase, said Kuchta.
“Developers aren’t creating new industrial parks due to the high cost of regulations and required infrastructure,” said Commissioner David Uible. “It has been over 20 years since a new industrial park has been developed in Clermont County, and we need to step into that role if we want to see continued job growth in our county. Leveraging a $5 million initial investment into an estimated $94 million of new property value, and $32 million in new property taxes, is a phenomenal return on investment that will benefit many county residents and agencies.“
Commissioner Ed Humphrey, who is recovering from an automobile accident, said that he fully supported Clermont County taking this step. “The South Afton Commerce Park will be more easily accessible because of the transportation improvements that have been made to State Route 32, and are planned to continue over the next five years,” he said. “A primary reason for the significant investments in the Eastern Corridor work is to facilitate the movement of people and goods between Clermont County and the rest of the Cincinnati region, so the development of this business park complements those investments and will increase the benefit of those investments to the residents of the county.”
South Afton Commerce Park will become the largest industrial park in Clermont County and one of the largest in Greater Cincinnati in terms of available land.