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.

Welcome to Lorain Opportunity Video

Please check out our new Welcome to Lorain Opportunity Video! This video details Lorain’s rich past and presents the wonderful assets and opportunities available in Lorain for a bright future.

There is still time to RSVP to the Expression of Interest Information Session this week.

June 14th, 2018, 1:00 PM
City of Lorain Port Authority
319 Black River Lane
Lorain, OH 44052

RSVP: warren@vitanuova.net

 

Join us for an Information Session on the ongoing Expression of Interest in Lorain County.

Where: Lorain County Port Authority, 319 Black River Lane, Lorain, OH 44052
When: Thursday June, 14th at 1:00 pm
What: a chance to hear from Lorain City and County officials and participate in land or water tours of the exciting opportunities Lorain has to offer.
Information Session Agenda
1:00 PM – 1:05 PM Introduction – City of Lorain and Lorain County Department of Community Development
1:05 PM – 1:25 PM EOI Site(s) Presentation and Current Area Development – City of Lorain Port Authority
1:20 PM – 1:35 PM City Development Process – City of Lorain
1:35 PM – 1:50 PM Local Financing – City of Lorain Port Authority and Lorain County Department of Community Development
1:50 PM – 2:00 PM State Financing – Jobs Ohio (State of Ohio)
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM Questions and Answers
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM Group Site Tour (Land/Boat)

The Lorain Harbor Area-Wide Planning Project Area consists of five publicly-owned properties, totaling 534 acres, located along the Black River and within close proximity to Lake Erie. These five sites are important to the revitalization of Lorain’s historic urban waterfront. The project area has the potential to transform into a mixed-use and sustainable community, featuring nature trails that connect the public to Lake Erie. In addition, all the sites are adjacent to the downtown area and have water access.

For more information, please explore our website www.LorainHarborAWP.com and check out our fact sheets.

If you are interested in participating in this EOI process, please contact Tiffany McClelland at the City of Lorain Port Authority, tmcclelland@lorainportauthority.com, (440)204-1194 or Will Warren, Project Manager, Vita Nuova LLC, warren@vitanuova.net, (888) 508-6710.

Five Opportunity Zones Named in Lorain County

On March 21st the Lorain County Board of Commissioners learned that the State has nominated 5 tracts within Lorain County to be Opportunity Zones as part of the Investment in Opportunity Act. The nomination of 5 tracts, 4 in Lorain and 1 in Elyria, is notable as it is more than double the number of tracts that were nominated within other counties similarly situated within the region.

The Investment in Opportunity Act was signed into law in December 2017 as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.  The law seeks to bolster economically depressed areas across the U.S. by offering deferred taxes and significant tax breaks to those parties willing to sustain investment in low-income areas.  Incentives for a broad array of investors in designated “Opportunity Zones” will deploy capital in vulnerable and underserved areas at a low risk to investors. Opportunity Zones will act as a compliment to the New Market Tax Credit Program to help underserved communities promote community development projects.  

The Benefits to Selected Opportunity Zones include:

  • Investors may temporarily defer the recognition of capital gains that are invested in the Opportunity Zones. A new class of private investment vehicles called “Opportunity Funds”, which are investment vehicles organized as corporations or partnerships that hold at least 90% of their assets in opportunity zone assets, have been created.
  • Investments in Opportunity Zones or Opportunity Funds that are held for at least five years are eligible for capital gains tax reductions, and investments held for at least 10 years are eligible for capital gains exemptions.
  • As the incentives are linked to the duration of the investor’s commitment to the Opportunity Zone rather than an upfront subsidy, the program provides an incentive for investors to re-invest their capital gains in Opportunity Funds to provide patient capital for low-income communities.

 

Furthermore, Lorain County will benefit directly from the opportunity zone designation through:

  • Attraction of new type of investors into a project area,
  • Expansion of capital to fund redevelopment,
  • Encourages local reinvestment in community,
  • Strengthens financial security in areas adjacent to designated tracts.

Team NEO, the Fund, Lorain City Port Authority and City of Lorain worked together on the request for nominations, which made the Lorain requests attractive to the State which put a priority on tracts that had regional support.

Commissioner Lundy stated “The announcement that the County now has 5 Opportunity Zones nominated by the State will allow us and our partners to have every tool we can provide available to stay competitive, drive investment and create jobs in our two downtown areas and our waterfront in Lorain.”

“Working with local and regional partners allowed us to pull together a strong list of tracts that were nominated. Now we will be working to see these zones put to work and attract needed investment in our communities through the actions of the County and its partners in the Port, Land Bank and the cities of Lorain and Elyria.” said Commissioner Kalo.

Each of the nominated tracts in the City of Lorain were located within a planning area designated by the County and funded by the USEPA. This planning effort will result in 6 strategic developable land areas being brought to market. The designation of these as Opportunity Zones should enhance the level and speed of development.

The tracts nominated were:

  • 39093097300 – Downtown Lorain with Broadway Hotel redevelopment and Black River Landing
  • 39093022400 – Finger piers and First Energy lakefront land
  • 39093023100 – US Steel and Republic with announcement of pig iron line – Job Hub
  • 39093023000 – Riverbend Commerce Park, Rowland Property and Emerson Buildings
  • 39093070800 – Downtown Elyria Streetscape and TLCI Plan – County Investment – Developers – Job Hub

For additional information please call 440-328-2322 and ask for Don Romancak.

 

Black River Summit – Thursday March 29, 9 – 11:15 am, Lorain Palace Theater

March 13, 2018

PRESS RELEASE

The Black River Advisory Committee in concert with Lorain County, City of Lorain and the LoCo Yaks are proud to announce the first annual Black River Summit being held at the Lorain Palace Theater, 617 Broadway, Lorain OH 44052 from 9 am – 11:15 am on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

The Black River Summit is a celebration and informative gathering for all of those with an interest in the progress that Black River in Lorain County has made in the past 20 years. In the early 1980s the river was sick, it was known as the River of Fish Tumors. Children were told not to play in the water and no one used the river for recreation.

Things have certainly changed. Thanks to the EPA’s guidance and funding the people of Lorain County and particularly the City of Lorain have a beautiful ribbon of recreation on which to kayak, fish, lounge and bird watch. It has taken many years and millions of dollars to bring the river back from the brink of despair. In the past 10 years approximately 20 million dollars have been spent cleaning up the river. The Black River Advisory Committee has been informed that the Black River will soon complete all of its management actions and the Black River will move from being an Area of Concern (a designation from the EPA as being one of the worst of the worst for waters in the Great Lakes Basin) to a River in Recovery.
The recovery of the Black River is not the only thing occurring in Lorain County. The Lorain County, City of Lorain and the Lorain Port Authority are currently implementing a USEPA Areawide Planning Grant focused on redevelopment of six key land areas along the Black River. The Port and Lorain County have used assessment funds from the EPA to assist in the redevelopment of downtown buildings and other sites with success. The Lorain County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) whose mission is to return properties to productive reuse.

You are invited to this celebration. We will have several keynote speakers including: Tinka Hyde Director of US EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office in Chicago. Mayor John Antaramian from Kenosha, Wisconsin speaking about the success his community has experienced in redevelopment. (Kenosha has a similar location on a great lake and an industrial legacy.) Russ Gibson from the Ohio EPA Nonpoint Source Section Manager in the Division of Surface Water. As well as Ted Kalo, Lori Kokoski, and Matt Lundy the Lorain County Commissioners and Mayor Chase Ritenauer of the City of Lorain. We certainly hope to see you there to give you the opportunity to share our excitement with your audience.

For additional information please call 440-328-2322 and ask for Don Romancak.

Lorain Port, developer announce hotel agreement for Broadway Building

A Wisconsin-based hotel operation will be part of the redevelopment of the Broadway Building, according to

The Broadway Building, 301 Broadway, Lorain, is pictured on Dec. 8, 2017. The building also has been called the Spitzer Plaza Hotel and the Lorain Renaissance Inn. the Lorain Port Authority. The Port and Cleveland businesswoman Radhika Reddy of Ariel Ventures LLC announced their plan to work with Cobblestone Hotels to operate the Ariel Broadway Hotel By Cobblestone, a 55-room hotel in the Broadway Building. The rooftop and fourth-floor event space, along with a restaurant, office and retail spaces, are set to open in summer 2019 at 301 Broadway. Read more about the exciting development news in the Morning Journal

 

 

More Development News: 

Plans to make pig iron in Lorain moving forward

Plans to begin making pig iron at a blast furnace in Lorain are in motion.

Lorain Pig Iron LLC, which is owned and operated by Canton-based steelmaker Republic Steel and iron ore producer ERP Iron Ore LLC in Minnesota, recently announced in a news release that it is working with technical service providers to “review and submit proposals for the recommissioning” of a Republic Steel blast furnace.

Currently, the company is “negotiating agreements” with Republic Steel and others to recommission and use Blast Furnace 4 in Lorain, the release stated. Read more in Crain’s Cleveland Business.