More than $100 million promised for Cincinnati's innovation district

JobsOhio, the state’s main economic development organization, says it will invest up to $100 million over the next 10 years to accelerate what is now formally being called the Cincinnati Innovation District.

Top state and local government officials and leaders from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children's Medical Center (CCMC) announced the investment and officially branded the district, saying it will be a blueprint for job creation in Ohio and will be a "magnet for talent" to attract big and small businesses, as well as startups.

The JobsOhio investment will be paired with investments by the UC and CCMC to expand their research and teaching capabilities, according to the organizations.

Officials said the investments should result in 15,000 science, technology, engineering, and math graduates, $2 billion in research and real estate development, and 20,000 new jobs.

"We must invest in research and talent while establishing vibrant, amenity-rich communities to realize our long-term vision of making Ohio the best place in the country for tech and life science jobs,” says J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and chief investment officer.

"We are energized by JobsOhio’s commitment to research and innovation,” says Michael Fisher, president and CEO of CCMC. “This unprecedented investment will help us continue to attract, retain, and inspire exceptional talent from around the world."

UC and Children's are considered the anchors of the district, which is located in a part of Cincinnati now called Uptown, surrounding the Martin Luther King Drive exit off of Interstate 71, about a mile north of downtown.

In 2004, leaders from UC, Children's, and other organizations came together to form the Uptown Innovation Corridor, a strategic plan to concentrate investment in that area. Years later, a partnership between UC and Procter & Gamble created the 1819 Innovation Hub in the corridor, a space for startups as well as established businesses to collaborate and grow.

And last year, a planned consolidation of three National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health facilities into the Uptown district began moving forward. The federal agency is planning a $110 million facility that will bring in 550 employees, including chemists, biologists, and engineers.

The district is expected to attract continued investment in office and laboratory space, retail, housing, and even nightlife.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley calls the district "the next big thing for Cincinnati's growth."

"This partnership among the state, JobsOhio, the city, the University of Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will pay dividends for decades to come,” he says.

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David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.