The Butler County Port Authority wraps up 2017 with a positive bank balance, multiple job-creating projects in various communities and in far better shape than it was just several years ago.
Three years ago, the Butler County Port Authority was in debt to the Butler County Commissioners, had failed to develop a long term budget, and had few prospective projects on the horizon.
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Following the 2015 hiring of Michael McNamara as its executive director, the port restructured its fees and cut costs.
“We have a positive and solvent outlook for the next 10 years regardless if we close another project, but as we engage new projects, we now have the ability to begin reinvesting in Butler County,” McNamara said. “That’s not a conversation we could have had three years ago.”
The Port Authority’s four 2017 projects represent $86 million in capital investment, $66 million of which is financed through the Port’s conduit bonds. The projects directly benefit the communities of Fairfield, Fairfield Twp., Hamilton and Trenton.
StoryPoint (Fairfield Twp.)
The Port Authority issued $44 million in revenue bonds to finance the Fairfield Twp. development of the lot. Furthermore, the Port Authority issued a sales tax deferment on construction materials. The final project will be 221,632 square feet and is expected to create approximately 100 new jobs. There will be 120 independent living units, 42 enhanced/assisted living units, and 42 memory care units. (Estimated project investment: $44 million).
The Port Authority helped finance this Fairfield project through the sale of $22 million in taxable bonds and provided a sales tax exemption for construction materials. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, and will consist of two buildings that will offer a combined leasable area of 605,360 square feet. The project is expected to bring new and relocated jobs to Fairfield. (Estimated project investment: $22 million).
The Marcum (Hamilton)
The Port Authority is partnering to develop the site as part of a lease-back structure that will allow the Marcum to benefit from an exemption on sales taxes for construction materials. Upon completion, The Marcum will contain over 100 market-rate apartment units, a rooftop deck, and retail units on the first floor. Construction commenced in spring of 2017 and is set to be completed and ready for tenants by mid-2018. This project is seen as a transformative development for downtown Hamilton that will revitalize economic growth in the city’s core. (Estimated project investment: $15 million).
Jeff Couch’s RV Nation (Trenton)
The Port Authority is partnering to develop the site as part of a structured lease that will provide an exemption on sales taxes for construction materials. This expansion will allow Couch to grow for the next 10 to 20 years. This project also allows Trenton to expand infrastructure in to portions of its industrial park, and the Port benefit will mitigate the fiber extension costs for Couch. (Estimated project investment: $5 million).
In addition to closing a record number of deals in 2017, the Butler County Port Authority partnered with the Butler County Visitors Bureau and the Butler County Commissioners to develop a new brand for Butler County. Revealed in June 2017, the new Butler County brand connects the letters “b” and “c” through an infinity symbol, aiming to create a fresh look and a new message for the county, McNamara said.
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