Three Over-the-Rhine developments win $7.1M in historic tax credits

Three new development projects in Over-the-Rhine have been awarded $7.1 million in historic tax credits from the State of Ohio.  The three developments will restore a handful of historic structures throughout Over-the-Rhine's burgeoning Gateway Quarter.

The money is coming through the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program used to defray 25 percent of the rehabilitation expenses incurred in redeveloping historic structures, and is considered to be crucial in helping historic redevelopment projects move from paper to reality.

"This program has been a focus of my office since I first came to the legislature and I am very proud to see this funding awarded in Over-the-Rhine. The benefit it will have for this neighborhood is beyond words," said State Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati).“It moves projects off the drawing boards and into construction at a time when Cincinnati needs it most."

Of the three development projects included, Mercer Commons is the largest and consequently received the most money overall ($4.2 million).  Once complete, Mercer Commons will include a mixture of new construction along Vine and Race streets as well as rehabilitated historic structures that will cost more than $20 million to develop and include housing units and commercial space.

The Cincinnati Color Building and Germania Hall received $1.2 and $1.7 million respectively and will both be redeveloped along Vine Street as part of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation's (3CDC) latest phase in the Gateway Quarter.

Applicants compete for the tax credits based on a scoring rubric that measures criteria such as leveraged investment, jobs created, project scope, vacancy, end use, and financing secured. Projects that commit to green building principles; are located near institutions such as hospitals, research facilities, or colleges and universities; or follow the goals of an adopted community strategic plan receive extra points.

"Historic preservation and urban redevelopment are two goals that go hand-in-hand with this program. In terms of jobs created and taxes generated the state will see a return far outpacing its investment," said Senator Kearney.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
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