City of Cincinnati Grocery Incentives
The City of Cincinnati and our community partners offer several incentives to encourage new fresh foods markets to open in neighborhoods lacking this important amenity. These incentives include but are not limited to waiving certain taxes and permit fees, leveraging tax increment financing and providing public financing to qualified grocery stores that locate in specific neighborhoods. Qualifying grocery stores can receive the following benefits:
Fresh Food Tax Exemptions:
Our Fresh Food Tax Abatement can dramatically reduce the operating expenses for a store, therefore lowering risk. While each project is unique, our Fresh Food Tax Abatement can abate up to 75% of the taxable value of property improvements for 20 years.
Sales and Use Tax
The City of Cincinnati, in collaboration with the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, can use a sales tax exemption on all building construction materials to reduce construction costs.
Permit Fee & Priority Review
The City’s Health Department may waive up to five years of the annual fee for a Food Service permit. Additionally, the City of Cincinnati may pay for the applicant’s permit review and inspections fees, including an expedited review and after-hour inspections of grocery facilities.
Grocery Infrastructure Grants and Financing:
The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program can provide property owners with access to affordable, long-term financing for energy improvements, including solar. The program will help you maximize available utility rebates and tax credits while being able to fund up to 100% of your mechanical, electrical and plumbing build-out and leading to a significant reduction in a grocer’s operating expenses.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
For large-scale developments that include commercial space for a grocery store, a TIF can be used to offset a portion of the public infrastructure improvements, such as public parking structures. A TIF allows the City of Cincinnati to grant a tax exemption up to 100% of the newly created real property value with the consent of the local school district. This tool requires payments in lieu of taxes on the exempt real property value, and those payments can be used to fund public infrastructure improvements and other eligible uses. This would exclude the tax abatement program.
Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) is a statewide initiative that awards loans and grants to food retailers developing new or renovating existing fresh food retail in low-income underserved communities throughout Ohio. Incentives include loans up to $5 million and 10 year terms, forgivable loans up to 20% of funds provided by HFFO, and grants up to $250,000 with exception for Extraordinary Awards. To learn more or fill out a pre-application, visit the Finance Fund here.
Businesses must be registered grocery stores located within Priority Development areas and obtain prior approval from the City of Cincinnati.