Ohio’s New Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program to Spur Development

The state of Ohio, through their recently enacted state operating budget, created the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program within the Ohio Department of Development to award grants for the demolition of commercial and residential buildings and revitalization of surrounding properties on sites that are not brownfields.

The growth of the industrial and multi-family marketplace is bringing a renewed focus on what the public and private sector can do to prepare sites for development. The first step in the site development process is to understand the region’s potential for economic growth, availability of a skilled workforce and the costs of doing business as compared to other regions and states of equal business value. Measures of economic growth will center on a comparison of GDP growth, personal income, COVID 19 infections, demographic measures such as population growth, poverty rates, median home values and other measures that define the equity of a region for a wide range of potential workers. Cost of doing business measures should also be created to better understand the wages key workers will require, the costs of real estate, taxes, utilities and other major cost factors for competing regions. 

Montrose Group Site Development Process

Once the region survives the economic, workforce and cost of doing business comparison, negotiating local real estate options is the next step. If the company wishes to purchase a site, before they gain control of the site, the company needs to complete due diligence on the site such as confirming the zoning, determining if environmental contamination exists, if the title of the land is marketable, and if the project has tax incentives.[i] Prior to final land purchase, the potential buyer needs to gain all the necessary governmental approvals such as zoning, tax incentives, and Brownfield remediation protection. 

Financing site development costs may be just as important as zoning and other steps in the site development process. Many sources of funding exist to support the preparation of sites for development. The state of Ohio operating budget created a new $150 M Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Fund to spur new growth and development through site preparation. The program requires the Ohio Development Department to reserve $500,000 in funding for each county ($44.0 M statewide) or a proportionate share for each county if the amount appropriated for the program is less than that amount. They must reserve these amounts for one calendar year from the date of the appropriation, after which they become available for other projects statewide and the amounts which are not reserved be awarded on a first come, first-served basis. Grant awards are limited to the amount of grants distributed to 75% of a project’s cost.

Working with JobsOhio’s Ohio Site Inventory Program, Ohio Revitalization Program, Ohio Transformational Mixed Use District Program, Tax Increment Financing and other programs, the Buckeye state is blessed with a large number of programs that can bring millions of dollars to site development efforts. Montrose Group has represented public and private sector partners to gain funding and prepare sites for development, and please contact Dave Robinson at drobinson@montrosegroupllc.com if you need assistance with site development or other matters.

[i] The Ten Steps to Real Estate Purchase discussion comes in large part from Ohio State University Law Professor Rick Daley’s class material developed for his real estate development class.