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 Commerce Park to eventually yield?
A. An economic impact analysis by the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati estimated that South Afton Commerce 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 Commerce 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.