Area-Wide Planning Report

The Lorain Harbor Area-Wide Planning Project focused on the historic waterfront and downtown core of Lorain, OH. The area has been negatively impacted by the past downturn in the domestic steel production industry and has experienced disinvestment, poverty, and abandonment. To address these factors, the project concentrated on evaluating market conditions, potential catalytic sites, and managing a formal Expression of Interest process to generate development interest in key catalytic sites. This process capitalized on extensive grassroot, community-led initiatives and developed concrete steps to realize the area’s true potential as a mixed-use and sustainable waterfront community.

Located in Ohio’s industrial heartland, the City of Lorain is on the verge of transformation. With an ideal waterfront location and a dedicated citizenry, Lorain stands ready to create a bridge between its historic industrial past and a new revitalized future. The Lorain Harbor Area-Wide Planning project provides guidance to reinvigorate Lorain’s historic downtown core and waterfront.

Click the link below to view a short presentation of the final report.

AWP Presentation Report




New Restaurant on Broadway “Union Town Provisions”

Union Town Provisions

While the new cafe was originally slated to open mid-January, it welcomed an eager crowd of locals and visitors alike about a month after the couple’s expected start date.

“Everyone was like, ‘You’re never going to get this done,’” Grieves said. “And I’m like, trust me, I will.”

Click here for the full story from The Chronicle Telegram

Lorain Broadway Streetscape Begins in Basements

The Broadway streetscape project has begun! The long-awaited renovation of Broadway will change the sidewalks, signage, lighting and traffic patterns from West Erie Avenue to Ninth Street. Crews are beginning work by shoring up the underground vaults that extend beneath the sidewalk from the basements of buildings along Broadway.

Click Here to read the full story from The Morning Journal.

Manning announces $4M for dredge material reuse facility in Lorain

The city of Lorain has scored $4 million to create a facility that will reuse sediment scooped out of the Black River.

State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, on Dec. 4 announced Ohio State Controlling Board approval of $9.9 million in capital funds for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

The money will be used for three dredge material reuse projects, including in Lorain.

The city will use $4 million for planning, design, permitting and construction of a new Black River Dredge Reuse Facility that will be located on a 30-acre site within a larger reclamation facility owned by the city.

“I am pleased to see these funds released for conservation efforts to ensure the protection of Ohio’s crown jewel,” Manning said. “The General Assembly has worked tirelessly toward a cleaner Lake Erie through the funding of various water quality programs, and this is yet another step to do so.”

The projects were made possible by the Healthy Lake Erie Initiative in legislation known as Senate Bill 299. The money was designated with the goal of reducing open lake dumping of dredged materials by 2020.

The material is sediment and sand that is dredged from the bottom of the Black River to maintain the required depth for freighters to enter and leave the Port of Lorain.

The Morning Journal

Big plans for 422 Broadway in Lorain

Riding the wave of redevelopment along Broadway, Shawn Grieves and Tim Scholl are looking to bring a restaurant and retail store downtown.

The pair bought the building at 422 Broadway and plan to transform what used to be clothing and jewelry stores into Union Town Provisions. It will offer a casual but “delicious” dining experience, offering house-made cheese, charcuterie, sandwiches, pizza, baked goods, wine and preserves.

Read more about this project in The Chronicle



Lorain Downtown PREPARED Workshop

October 24, 2018 – Key stakeholders in the Lorain community joined at the Charleston Coffee House for a special event designed to work toward a strategic plan to reinvigorate the downtown and waterfront of Lorain.

Among those to present downtown initiatives were representatives from the Lorain County Port Authority,USEPA Region 5, and the City of Lorain, as well as members of the Lorain Historical Society, Lorain Public Health, the Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, and the Rotary Club of Lorain.

The four focus areas of the workshop were: improving broadband downtown, public/private partnerships, sustainable redevelopment, and investment.


Following the community brief on ongoing projects, Vita Nuova members guided workshop attendees through the PREPARED workshop process and led community exercises and discussions on goal development, opportunities and obstacles action item prioritization, and development of a strategic action item list.

The workshop closed with a presentation on the findings from the Area-Wide Planning Project and a dinner for the community members in attendance at the event.

A report will be generated and posted on this website and this group has committed to meet on a quarterly basis to help implement the steps agreed upon in the workshop.

The workshop was sponsored by the Lorain County Port Authority funded by USEPA’s Land Revitalization Program.


Continued Development Incentives in Lorain

Lorain County in partnership with the cities of Oberlin and Sheffield Lake applied for and received $1,150,000 in Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program. As partners each community has funds set aside to address home repair and rehabilitation of privately owned – owner occupied housing.

Applications for assistance are being released on October 1 and may be turned in starting on October 2nd through November 28th. To be eligible for the assistance the housing unit must be occupied by the owner as their primary residence. Household income must be at 80% or less of Area Median Income which is adjusted for the number of persons living in the house. The home needs to be located in a township, village, or the cities of Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Oberlin or Sheffield Lake. Applications need to be turned into Lorain County Community Development Department at 226 Middle Avenue, 5th Floor, Elyria OH 44035.

The Home Repair Program is typically a one item project such as a roof repair, a furnace, a hot water tank or other code related item. The Private Owner Rehabilitation is a more intensive program that addresses all code related items within the home and will address multiple repairs.

While the programs are designed to be grants, liens will be placed on the home that will be forgiven over a period of time. There is no out of pocket costs to the home owner if they meet the terms of the program.

For more information please call (440) 328-2322 and ask for Linda Blanchette or Drake Hopewell.

NAIOP Event Draws 120 from Development Community to Lorain Event

Please note: the deadline for submitting Expressions of Interest has been extended to Friday September 21, 2018. The Lorain Port Authority is currently accepting EOIs and will review all received by 9/21/18. 

On Thursday, July 26th the Northern Ohio Chapter of NAIOP, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Lorain County, City of Lorain Port Authority, Lorain County Board of Commissioners and Vita Nuova partnered to hold an event to introduce over 500+ acres of publicly owned waterfront land along the Black River for development potential and to discuss the newly released Federal Opportunity Zone regulations.  Held at the Black River Landing Transportation Center (often referred to as the “Train Station”) the event entertained a sold out crowd of more than 120 individuals from the development community in Northeast Ohio.

The attendees heard about the history of the Black River Clean up and development and the recently released Expression of Interest (EOI) by the City of Lorain Port Authority.  The EOI represents five vacant publicly owned sites (totaling over 500 acres) and two privately owned sites (roughly 100 acres) along the Black River in downtown Lorain that is ready for development opportunities.  Images and explanations of these sites were also on display throughout the room for the attendees to view.  As part of this overview, local incentives were presented by County Commissioner Ted Kalo who welcomed the development community to Lorain and stated the city and county were ready to work together to assist in the development.  Patricia Overmeyer, Acting Deputy Office Director, EPA Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization also was in attendance and discussed environmental and financial incentives available at these and other sites.

In addition, the event discussed the new Opportunity Zones program, which allows funds to be used for economic development purposes in exchange for Federal tax breaks.  As part of this, there was a panel discussion with Tracey Nichols, Director of Financial Services/Project Management Consultants; Dan Bergrin, Vice President & Tax Counsel, GBX Group; Diana Rife, Revitalization Project Manager, JobsOhio and moderated by Michael Taylor, President, Vita Nuova.

The attendees also had the opportunity to tour the EOI sites via a boat tour along the Black River guided by Tom Brown, Executive Director of the City of Lorain Port Authority and Don Romancak, Director of Lorain County Community Development. The well attended event also provided an opportunity for the attendees to network and furhter discuss the development potential in Lorain, OH.

Lorain Council approves Broadway Building tax incentive plan

In a boon for Lorain downtown redevelopmnet, the Lorain City Council has approved the financial incentive package for the Ariel on Broadway LLC, the Cleveland Development firm that is planning to create a 55-unit hotel and gathering space in the Broadway Building. The project, which will cost around $8 million, will receive two kinds of financial assistance from new city legislation. Firstly, the city will forgive 100% of the property taxes for improvements to the building for the next 12 years. Secondly, the council voted to create a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) for the hotel which will forgive property taxes for improvements to the building for 30 years. Both measures were passed unanimously by the council. The project will bring new life to the historic Broadway Building and will aid in the revitalization of Lorain’s downtown area. Read more about the recently approved financial incentives in the Morning Journal article here.

In a separate article, Port Authority Executive Director, Tom Brown, says that projects like the Broadway Building can be part of a series of smaller successes that will lead to the overall revitalization of Lorain. Read more on Tom Brown’s comments on downtown revitalization, and on the Port Authority’s role in that revitalization, here.

NAIOP to Co-host Event on Lorain County Opportunity Zone

The Northern Ohio chapter of NAIOP will join the USEPA, Lorain County, Lorain Port Authority, Lorain County Board of Commissioners, and Vita Nuova in hosting an Opportunity Zone showcase in Lorain County. The event will highlight opportunities in Lorain, explore the Opportunity Zone program, and demonstrate economic and financial incentives available for sites in the Black River Opportunity Zone. Find more information in the flyer below and sign up for the event here.