Commissioners approve property tax exemption for Metal Systems

BATAVIA, Ohio (Oct. 4, 2018) – Metal Systems F&E LLC will expand its operation in Miami Township, adding six employees and a 14,000-square-foot building under the terms of an enterprise zone agreement approved Oct. 3 by the Clermont County Commissioners.

Metal Systems, which fabricates building materials, will invest $1.3 million in its expansion. As part of the Enterprise Zone Agreement approved by the Commissioners and the Miami Township Board of Trustees, Metal Systems was granted a tax exemption on real property improvements of 60% for 10 years.

Metal Systems will retain its current 15 positions with an annual payroll of $750,000. It plans to add another six positions over the next three years for an additional payroll amount of $180,000.

Metal Systems will save approximately $16,000 in property tax. It expects to begin construction later this month.

South Afton Industrial Park earns SiteOhio authentication

BATAVIA, Ohio (Sept. 26, 2018) – Clermont County’s South Afton Industrial Park has been certified a SiteOhioIndustrial Site by JobsOhio, meaning it has JobsOhio’s imprint as a site “ready for immediate development on day one.”

South Afton is the first industrial park in Southwest Ohio to receive the SiteOhio authentication. It joins 12 other industrial sites throughout Ohio. South Afton comprises 242 acres at Half Acre Road and State Route 32 in Williamsburg Township. Its first project, a distribution facility for upscale furniture manufacturer Design Within Reach, is expected to open next spring and will employ 85 people.

To obtain the authentication, Clermont County had to complete a number of investigative studies as well as install infrastructure on the site. The county began working to accomplish this in 2016, the year it purchased the property. The infrastructure included 2,000 linear feet of road, water main and sanitary sewers, storm water infrastructure, a natural gas line, and conduit for electric, telecom and fiber. All told, the county has invested $2.5 million in infrastructure at South Afton.

The studies included an environmental Phase I report, a geotechnical report, a historic and cultural resources report, a wetlands study, and an endangered species study. Detailed information had to be provided on utility excess capacities, including water, sanitary sewer, natural gas and electric. Duke Energy worked closely with the county on the site.

“The SiteOhio process required Clermont County to meet some very exacting and tough standards,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “This authentication will tell potential companies that seek us out that we are serious about providing the best environment possible for their expansion.”

Kristi Clouse, JobsOhio Executive Director of Operations, said, “The SiteOhio Authentication provides businesses the confidence that they can invest in Clermont County successfully on day one. The South Afton site is the first in Southwest Ohio to receive this distinction, and we are excited for the opportunities it can bring to job creators looking to grow in Williamsburg Township.”

JobsOhio began its SiteOhio authentication program in 2016. It hired InSite Consulting Group to evaluate industrial park sites around the state to determine if they met the standards for being included in the SiteOhio program. InSite said South Afton has great potential. “The South Afton Industrial Park is one of the top industrial parks in the Midwest,” said Rob Cornwell of InSite Consulting. “When you combine Clermont County’s great economic development team with the Site Ohio authentication program, the Design Within Reach location is the first of many more to come.”

“Clermont County has become a model for site competitiveness in Southwest Ohio by investing for long-term success,” said Kimm Lauterbach, President & CEO of REDI Cincinnati. “With the creation of the South Afton Industrial Park, Clermont County will be attracting new businesses to build, invest, and create jobs in our region for years to come. As the first site in Southwest Ohio authenticated through the SiteOhio program, we look forward to seeing more companies grow in Greater Cincinnati.”

Andy Kuchta, Director of Clermont County Department of Community & Economic

Development, added, “Some prospective clients that come to JobsOhio won’t even look at a site unless it has been authenticated as SiteOhio. With the SiteOhio authentication, South Afton Industrial Park will have even more appeal to businesses looking to expand or relocate.”

About South Afton Industrial Park: South Afton is a 242-acre industrial park at the southeastern corner of State Route 32 and Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township. The land was purchased by the Clermont County CIC in February 2016 for $4.9 million, using proceeds from the Ivy Pointe development in Union Township. An economic impact study by the Economics Center of the University of Cincinnati estimated that the industrial park would eventually create more than 1,800 direct jobs and more than 1,600 indirect jobs. Read more here: http://cincinnatiohioindustrialpark.com/.

Port Authority approves bonds to support FC Cincinnati complex in Milford

BATAVIA, Ohio (Sept. 5, 2018) – The Clermont County Port Authority today approved issuing $30 million in lease revenue bonds to finance the cost of building a training facility and youth academy for FC Cincinnati, Cincinnati’s professional soccer league.

The vote was 4-1. Port Authority Vice Chairman Loretta Rokey, Administrator, Pierce Township; Fiscal Officer Sam DeBonis, Assistant Vice President, Park National Bank, and members Greg DeFisher, President & CEO, Freeman Schwabe Machinery, and Rex Parsons, Administrator, Batavia Township; voted in favor. Member Greg Simpson, Principal, Key Transportation Inc., voted against the resolution.

Under the agreement, the Port Authority will lease the land — 24 acres on U.S. 50 in the City of Milford near Interstate 275 – and facilities to be built to FC Cincinnati. The bonds will be privately purchased by FC Cincinnati. The construction materials will be exempted from sales tax, estimated to be $1 million.

Because the Port Authority is tax exempt, FC Cincinnati will not have to pay property taxes. It has negotiated annual payments with the Milford School District to help compensate for that. The Port Authority will receive a one-time fee of $105,000 and an annual average fee of $9,000, most of which will go to support various county levies.

“The structure of the lease answers all of the questions related to what the economic impact will actually be and if it is worth the level of incentives being provided,” said Andy Kuchta, Executive Director and Secretary of the Port Authority. “The Port Authority will have the choice to not renew the lease every 360 days for any reason. This is not a 20-year deal but a 360-day deal, full stop.

“Within the next 3-5 years there will be a comprehensive evaluation of the actual economic impacts and benefits once the facility has been constructed and operational for a period of time,” Kuchta continued. “If that evaluation determines the economic impacts have not materialized, the Port Authority will be able to substantially renegotiate the terms of these agreements or simply not renew them and return the property to a fully taxable status.”

Under the agreement, FC Cincinnati will indemnify the Port Authority from any cost, liability, claim, lawsuit or loss related to the project.

On Aug. 22, Clermont County Commissioners approved an increase in the lodging tax in the county, from 6% to 7%. The revenue generated by the increase in the tax, approximately $223,000 a year, will also be used to help support the project.

The $30 million soccer complex will include a 30,000-square-foot training facility and a 6,500-square-foot youth academy. FC Cincinnati hopes to complete the training facility by next summer.

The Port Authority decision represents the last step before the project can begin. FC Cincinnati also entered into agreements with the City of Milford and the Clermont County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A study by Sports Facilities Advisory, a sports management consulting group based in Clearwater, Fla., estimated that the FC complex would generate almost 65,000 visitor days by out-of-town visitors and result in almost $7 million in direct spending annually.

FC Cincinnati, whose owners were recently granted expansion status by Major League Soccer, will also build an estimated $200 million stadium in the West End of Cincinnati, which is expected to be open for the 2021 season. The team currently plays at Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati.

Clermont County, Duke Realty, Design Within Reach celebrate groundbreaking at South Afton Industrial Park

BATAVIA, Ohio – Clermont County Commissioners were joined today by executives from Design Within Reach and Duke Realty to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $17 million distribution facility at South Afton Industrial Park. It is the first property to be developed at South Afton, a 242-acre shovel-ready industrial park in Williamsburg Township owned by the Clermont County CIC with the intent of bringing more jobs to Clermont County.

When Design Within Reach, a furniture and home accessories company, opens its new facility next year, it will employ 85 people with an estimated payroll of $3 million. The facility, at 617,760 square feet, will be the second largest industrial building in Clermont County, second only to the former Ford plant, which was built 37 years ago. The facility will be built by Duke Realty, which purchased 46.83 acres at South Afton on July 9.

South Afton Industrial Park is on SR 32 and Half Acre Road. Executives at Design Within Reach praised the site’s proximity to a number of interstates and its markets in the eastern half of the United States.

“We appreciate the commitment of Duke Realty and Design Within Reach to South Afton,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners, after welcoming guests to the groundbreaking, including Bethany Kemp, Senior Vice President of Operations at DWR, and Dan Colletto, Vice President of Leasing and Development at Duke Realty.

“Commissioners decided to invest in our economic future and purchase the land for the South Afton Industrial Park in 2016,” Commissioner Humphrey said. “Considerable research went into this, research that showed that this could become the home to hundreds of new jobs. We firmly believe that South Afton Industrial Park will spur development in the eastern half of Clermont County. Our investment will pay off for all of Clermont County.”

David Painter, Vice President of the Board of County Commissioners, praised the stakeholders who worked on this project. “Our partners have included Williamsburg Township, the Village of Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Local Schools. This team has made things work,” he said.

“It’s also important to emphasize that our investment has created an environment that is attractive to the private sector,” Commissioner Painter added. “As government, we don’t create jobs, but we can help create an environment that will lead to new jobs. And that is what South Afton is doing.

“As more jobs come here, as more people move into Clermont County, our tax base grows. And that helps our school districts. It helps our townships and villages. It benefits us all.”

Commissioner David Uible noted that in today’s environment, manufacturers and distribution companies expect industrial land to be primed for development.

“The fact is, manufacturing and distribution companies looking to expand want to come to turn-key industrial parks. They want the utility, water, sewer and fiber infrastructure already in place. They want the environmental studies completed and complied with. And if Clermont County isn’t prepared to offer them a site that checks all these boxes, they will find another county that is ready to do that,” he said.

“Before we made this decision, we commissioned a study from the University of Cincinnati,” Mr. Uible added. “The study concluded that over time, South Afton might lead to 1,800 jobs, and offer a tremendous multiplier effect to the economy.  We’re confident that our investment will pay off over time, with hundreds of new jobs at South Afton. ”

*****

About South Afton Industrial Park: A 242-acre industrial park at the southeastern corner of State Route 32 and Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township. The land was purchased by the Clermont County CIC (Community Improvement Corporation) in February 2016 for $4.9 million, using proceeds from the Ivy Pointe development in Union Township. The CIC has invested $2.7 million in infrastructure at South Afton. An economic impact study by the Economics Center of the University of Cincinnati estimated that the industrial park would eventually create more than 1,800 direct jobs and more than 1,600 indirect jobs. Read more here: www.southafton.com.

About Design Within Reach: Design Within Reach, Inc., founded in 1998 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, sells its furniture and accessories to residential and commercial customers. It is a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc. More information can be found here: http://www.dwr.com.

About Duke Realty: In the Cincinnati metro area, Duke Realty owns, manages, or has under development nearly 10 million square feet of industrial properties. Nationally, Duke Realty Corp. owns and operates 150 million rentable square feet of industrial assets in 20 key U.S. logistics markets. Duke Realty is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol DRE and is listed on the S&P 500. More information about Duke Realty Corporation is available at www.dukerealty.com.

For more information on South Afton Industrial Park and this project, contact Adele Evans, jaevans@clermontcountyohio.gov, 513.732.7912.

Duke Realty contact: Helen McCarthy, Helen.Mccarthy@dukerealty.com, 317.708.8010.

85 new jobs coming to Clermont County at South Afton Industrial Park

BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County CIC has sold its first property at South Afton Industrial Park to Duke Realty, which will build a $17 million, 617,760-square-foot, build-to-suit distribution facility for Design Within Reach, a furniture and home accessories company. Design Within Reach expects to employ 85 people at its facility.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for Aug. 15 and Duke Realty expects to finish the project by early 2019.

Duke Realty closed on its purchase of 46.83 acres at South Afton for $30,000 per acre on July 9. South Afton, which is located on State Route 32 at Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township, is a 242-acre industrial park in Clermont County. The Clermont County CIC purchased the land in 2016 to develop a business-ready site that would be attractive for both manufacturing and distribution businesses.

“When Commissioners made the decision to purchase the South Afton property, and invest in the infrastructure, we knew that over time our commitment would pay off,” said Commissioner Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “We’re so pleased that Design Within Reach has decided to locate in Clermont County at South Afton Industrial Park, and bring 85 new jobs to our county. We believe that as more businesses locate to South Afton that it will be the home of hundreds of jobs, and be a spur to development in the eastern half of Clermont County.”

“We’re thrilled that our new facility will contribute to economic growth in the local area with the creation of many new jobs,” said John McPhee, President of Design Within Reach.

“This new facility will incorporate modern features that are designed to enhance storage, distribution and fulfillment capabilities and provide excellent access to several major highways,” said Dan Colletto, Vice President of Leasing and Development for Duke Realty in Cincinnati.

McPhee added that the location “will provide better access to I-77 and to the New York City metropolitan area, where we have a large client base and a significant portion of our deliveries take place.”

Under an Ohio Enterprise Zone agreement approved by the Board of Commissioners on July 25, the project was granted a 20% tax exemption for 10 years on real estate taxes, saving approximately $75,000 annually. The Williamsburg Township Board of Trustees approved the agreement on July 9.

On July 30, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved job creation tax credits for Design Within Reach.

The Clermont County CIC, an economic development entity of the county, has invested $2.5 million in infrastructure at South Afton to make it more desirable to potential customers. Beginning in late 2016 and continuing through 2017, the CIC added 2,000 linear feet of road, water main and sanitary sewers, storm water infrastructure, a natural gas line, and conduit for electric, telecom and fiber, making South Afton truly “shovel ready.”

“The county made a substantial investment into South Afton, and we are confident that over time we will see significant job growth here. The addition of 85 jobs in Williamsburg Township at South Afton Industrial Park is a promising first step in the development of this area of Clermont County,” said Commissioner David Painter. “We are thrilled to welcome Duke Realty and Design Within Reach to South Afton Industrial Park!”

“Duke Realty’s decision to buy 47 acres of land and build a new state-of-the-art distribution facility for Design Within Reach is a great vote of confidence for South Afton Industrial Park and Clermont County,” said Commissioner David Uible. “When we began South Afton, it was with the realization that not enough shovel-ready industrial sites were available in Greater Cincinnati. We fully intended South Afton to help fill that gap, and it will. South Afton will be a true spur to our county’s growth.”

Gary Jordan, Chairman of the Williamsburg Township Board of Trustees, said, “We’re excited to have Duke Realty and Design Within Reach as the first project at South Afton. We thank them for investing in Williamsburg Township and wish them the greatest success!

“We also appreciate the Clermont County Commissioners and the Clermont County economic development team for partnering with us to make South Afton Industrial Park a reality, and their leadership in creating the environment for companies to bring new jobs and invest in our community,” Jordan added. “This effort has been a shared vision and a common goal.”

About South Afton Industrial Park: A 242-acre industrial park at the southeastern corner of State Route 32 and Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township. The land was purchased by the Clermont County CIC in February 2016 for $4.9 million, using proceeds from the Ivy Pointe development in Union Township. An economic impact study by the Economics Center of the University of Cincinnati estimated that the industrial park would eventually create more than 1,800 direct jobs and more than 1,600 indirect jobs. Read more here: http://cincinnatiohioindustrialpark.com/

 About Design Within Reach: Design Within Reach, Inc., founded in 1998 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, sells its furniture and accessories to residential and commercial customers. It is a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc. More information can be found here: http://www.dwr.com.

About Duke Realty: In the Cincinnati metro area, Duke Realty owns, manages, or has under development nearly 10 million square feet of industrial properties. Nationally, Duke Realty Corp. owns and operates 150 million rentable square feet of industrial assets in 20 key U.S. logistics markets. Duke Realty is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol DRE and is listed on the S&P 500. More information about Duke Realty Corporation is available at www.dukerealty.com.

Commissioners approve tax abatement for Engineered Mobile Solutions

BATAVIA, Ohio (June 6, 2016) — Clermont County Commissioners today (June 6) approved an enterprise zone tax abatement agreement for Engineered Mobile Solutions, Inc.

Engineered Mobile Solutions will build a $4.38 million 80,000-square-foot facility at 4155 Taylor Road in Batavia Township. The company is currently located in the IRG Building (the former Ford transmission plant), also in Batavia Township.

Engineered Mobile Solutions will retain its current 51 positions with an annual payroll of $2.08 million and plans to add another 15 positions over the next three years for an additional payroll amount of $518,000.

Together with Batavia Township Board of Trustees, Commissioners approved a 60 percent property tax abatement for 10 years, saving the company approximately $720,000.

Engineered Mobile Solutions designs and manufactures custom trailers, shelters and mobile facilities for military, broadcast and commercial customers. The company has been in business since 2007.

Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners, said, “It’s gratifying to see a home-grown company such as Engineered Mobile Solutions succeed, and need to expand. The Commissioners are pleased that the company is staying in our county and providing job opportunities to residents here.”

Company President Bryce Johnson said he was committed to staying in Clermont County. “Our company is growing, and the tax abatement will allow EMS to put that money into hiring more workers and expanding our operations. We’re grateful that Clermont County and Batavia Township agreed to this abatement, and we believe our growth will benefit our community.”

Randy Perry, President of Batavia Township Board of Trustees, said, “Our township has a stake in the growth of Engineered Mobile Solutions. We’re pleased with this investment in our community, and the confidence it signals in Batavia Township.”

The project is scheduled to begin later this month.

Commissioners approve tax abatement for Bryan Equipment Sales

BATAVIA, Ohio (May 24, 2018) — Clermont County Commissioners approved on May 23 an enterprise zone tax abatement agreement for Bryan Equipment Sales, Inc., of Miami Township. Bryan Equipment plans to construct a 170,000-square-foot building at a new location on State Route 28 in Goshen Township.

In concert with Goshen Township Board of Trustees, Commissioners OK’d a  60 percent property tax abatement for 10 years, saving Bryan Equipment Sales approximately $1.5 million. Rick Bryan, Chief Executive Officer of Bryan Equipment, said, “These savings will be directly reinvested in the project.”

The company, which has been in business since 1948, sells outdoor power equipment tools, primarily Stihl products, to retailers. “Bryan Equipment Sales has had a long-time presence here, and we’re pleased that they decided to keep their operations in Clermont County,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. Company executives had considered moving its corporate headquarters to northern Kentucky as it cannot expand at its current site on Wards Corner Road in Miami Township.

Bryan Equipment Sales has committed to retaining all 60 employees currently employed at its Miami Township facility.

“We are excited about what this significant investment in Goshen Township means to our community from an economic development perspective,” added Bob Hausermann, Chairman of the Board of Goshen Township Trustees. “When we can help bring in new businesses, it can be the catalyst for other great things to happen in our community.”

“We look forward to being a great community and corporate partner in Goshen Township and Clermont County. We appreciate the support received for our project, as it will give us the opportunity to further invest in our company operations and continue to grow, which is beneficial to everyone,” Bryan said.

Construction is set to begin this summer, with an expected completion date in mid-2019.

ODOT awards $5M for SR 32 improvements

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 24, 2018) – The Clermont County Transportation Improvement District (CCTID) today announced that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will invest an additional $5 million in Clermont County to support ongoing infrastructure improvements along the State Route (SR) 32 corridor. The award is part of the highly competitive Transportation Review Advisory Committee process, which will allocate $55 million for statewide infrastructure improvements during this funding cycle.

“Together with the Ohio Department of Transportation and our local transportation partners, we have invested more than $162 million in Clermont County to improve travel for those who use the SR 32 corridor,” said Pat Manger, Clermont County Engineer and Board Member of the CCTID. “We are pleased that ODOT has extended its commitment to improving safety, easing congestion and supporting job creation by continuing its investment in our area.”

Manger said the $5 million award would be used to fund property acquisition costs related to the construction of an interchange to replace the intersection of SR 32 with Bach-Buxton Road and Elick Lane, which is part of the Eastern Corridor Program of projects. These improvements, which include an additional travel lane on SR 32 in each direction, will allow traffic to move from I-275 to Batavia on SR 32 without a traffic signal.

Infrastructure investments support the local and statewide economy as well as the creation of new jobs

The funding will also help open up economic development opportunities in Clermont County and east along the SR 32 corridor. “We believe ODOT recognized the importance of funding this project work because of the strong connection SR 32 has to supporting increased investment throughout the entire southern region of the state,” said Clermont County Commissioner and Board President Ed Humphrey.

SR 32 is one of the highest-volume local routes in Ohio and is a critical east-west connection for the movement of people, goods and services throughout the state. Current projections show that traffic volumes on SR 32 are approaching interstate levels and that by the year 2030, SR 32 is expected to carry 79,000 vehicles per day, not much less than I-275’s estimated 84,000 vehicles a day.

Investments along the corridor have already resulted in tangible development opportunities with the completion of access improvements to the South Afton Commerce Park in 2017. South Afton Commerce Park is a business-ready site for manufacturers.

“Business-ready sites are considered highly attractive to potential companies because they reduce the time it takes for companies to locate and start operations in a given location,” said Humphrey. “More than 1,850 jobs are expected to be created directly at the South Afton site, with an additional 1,675 new jobs with suppliers and other supporting services. The development is expected to lead to $1.5 billion in local economic activity per year once completed,” he added.

 Progress continues; multiple upcoming projects are fully-funded and slated for construction

Later this year, the Transportation Improvement District will begin making improvements on SR 32 at Bells Lane; and ODOT will complete work to add a second lane from the southbound I-275 exit to SR 32 and construct an additional travel lane on eastbound SR 32 from GlenEste-Withamsville Road to Olive Branch-Stonelick Road. In 2019, the Clepper Lane Extension will be built, Old SR 74 will be widened from Schoolhouse Road to GlenEste-Withamsville Road, and access improvements at Old SR 74, Tealtown Road and Paul Drive will be made.

 Engineer Manger said that the Transportation Improvement District has a record of success, noting that the organization has completed more than 60 projects in Clermont County since its creation in 2006. “Our goal is to bring together multiple groups, develop one agenda and speak with one voice to local, regional, state and federal decision-makers so that numerous projects can be completed in a coordinated fashion, and the resources of those agencies can be leveraged to generate funding for projects that might not otherwise have been completed. This award from ODOT will allow us to continue that progress.”

 About the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District

The Clermont County Transportation Improvement District (CCTID) works across geographic and political lines to improve the quality of life for Clermont County residents by stimulating economic development through regional transportation improvements. The five-member board is made up of representatives from the Clermont County Engineer’s Office, Clermont County, Miami and Union Townships, and the private sector.

 The CCTID is currently working on nearly two dozen roadway improvements that will increase safety, support better traffic flow through the area, and provide the infrastructure for continued economic development throughout the county. More information about the CCTID and their project work can be found on-line at GoClermont.org.

About the Eastern Corridor Program

The Eastern Corridor is a program of integrated, multi-modal transportation investments. The Program will enhance our regional transportation network by improving travel and connections between central Cincinnati and the communities extending east through Hamilton County into western Clermont County. Program elements include improvements to existing road networks, new and expanded roadways, rail transit, expanded bus routes and improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Eastern Corridor Program is administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Eastern Corridor Implementation Partners.

 The Eastern Corridor Implementation Partners include the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District, the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District, the City of Cincinnati, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

To learn more, go to: EasternCorridor.org.