Project Description

Balanced Development Report

 This Report responds to Council Motion 20190038 passed by City Council on 03 January 2019. 

MOTION, submitted by Councilmembers Landsman, Dennard and Young, in the interest of updating our development subsidies and incentives programs in a way that continues to attract investments in our city while also better supporting our residents and neighborhoods and to ensure such an update is done collaboratively with the Administration, our communities, developers and residents. WE MOVE first for a report from the Administration within 60 days detailing the current incentive policies and programs as well as ways in which our efforts can be updated to include priorities such as the availability of and income definitions associated with affordable housing (and protecting against displacement), local job creation and incentivizing livable wage jobs, minority and local, small business inclusion, investing in disinvested neighborhoods and community engagement. This report should include specific and qualitative options, such as ways to quantify levels of achievement in these priority areas and suggested levels of development subsidies of varying kinds and categories best linked to the particular levels of achievement in each priority area. With several options or frameworks, we will need to engage key stakeholders, from residents to community leaders to developers, to ensure we put forward the best possible set of policies for our city. The revision of our tax abatement program last year created incentives for affordable housing and neighborhood projects. We hope this effort builds on these changes and provides a new reliable framework for ongoing (and more inclusive) investments in our city. 

The above topics, in addition to subsequent conversations and requests from Councilmember Landsman related to balancing development, require an unusually voluminous report to effectively respond to the motion. As such, this report is arranged into sections. 

Part A: Economic Review
Part B: Trend Data
Part C: State of Development
Part D: Current Programs and Tools
Part E: Council Request Part F: Related Research
Part G: Recommendations
Part H: Appendix 

First, the Administration provides data regarding Cincinnati’s recent economic position, as well as the City’s economic development efforts. This information creates a backdrop for the current set of policies and programs utilized by the Administration, and includes context about our economic health, supportive data, and micro and macroeconomic indicators. 

Next, we identify historic trends to define the topics in the motion and evaluate Cincinnati on the identified development topics. 

Informing the policy environment of the local real estate sector requires an explanation of the actors and forces involved in commercial real estate (CRE) in Cincinnati. Additional context is provided regarding the City Administration’s role in the CRE industry, and the market and economic conditions that affect our day‐to‐day work. 

Next, we provide a review of the City programs and selected research to comprehensively inform City Council and the public. 

Lastly, we conclude with policy recommendations, within the context and limitations of the presented information, existing laws, and City ordinances for achieving the goals outlined in the motion. 

The City Administration has intentionally pursued a growth strategy in the face of decades of population loss and disinvestment. This history underscores our critical need to drive repopulation and reinvestment of private dollars into our City’s built environment. The City does not directly build homes, construct offices, create new businesses, or create new private jobs. Economic growth within the City is dependent on private actors making risk assessments that result in decisions to invest in real property improvement and job creation. 

Read the full report here.