When Scott Timmer, the new assistant county administrator and the county’s lead for the port, starts next week, Fehr said he expects he will rekindle that project pretty quickly.
Under Ohio law, port authorities can own, finance, construct and lease real estate including land, buildings and equipment. A port authority that buys or owns property for an expanding business, construction materials and other construction costs are tax-exempt. Also, ports can issue taxable and tax-exempt bonds, offering borrowers longer-term, fixed-rate financing than the terms of a commercial loan.
Fehr said NorthPoint doesn’t have any committed tenants yet but are talking to some people. With no definite tenants signed, the company didn’t qualify for any tax abatements because those are tied to job creation. He said the company estimates it has created more than 1,000 jobs at the Trade Center and a total capital investment of $116 million.
West Chester Twp. also provided $500,000 in TIF allocations for roadway improvement last September for the project. Barb Wilson, West Chester’s director of public information and engagement, said all tolled NorthPoint received $5.1 million in TIF funds for roads within the development in 2018, and another $1 million in 2019 to help cover the cost of a bridge along Ohio 747.
Township Trustee Mark Welch said the company didn’t expect to fully be paying property taxes until 2023, but the whole project that was approved in 2018 has propelled forward at an incredible pace. To-date the company has paid $1.3 million in property taxes, according to the county auditor’s website.
“They are way, way, way ahead of schedule on the buildings because it’s been such a great project and they’ve rented the space so quickly,” Welch said. “They’re going to be contributing to the West Chester property taxes years before they had planned to. West Chester agreed to that, well it’s going to take this long to get it up and running, well we were willing to do that, now it’s like wow.”