Ohio Designates Nearly $38 Million For Historic Project Credits

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The latest round of Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits are devoted largely to turning old factories into new office space and old office space into new retail and residential space. The nearly $38 million in credits are expected to generate $250 million in private investments in 13 communities around the state.

Perhaps the most unusual of the projects is a million dollars in credits to transform a vacant Catholic church, Our Lady of Mercy, into commercial office space in Cleveland historic Tremont District.

David Goodman is director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, which funds the credits. He says the credits are intentially spread throughout the state.

“I’m from Columbus and I happen to walk by one that I’m pretty excited about. That is turning an old shoe factory into an incredible residential property in the middle of downtown Columbus.  But I think every community that has these being done today are significant and important to those communities.”

Other projects include the transformation of the Akron Soap Company and Cuyahoga Falls Stamping and Welding factory into office space, the restoration of Murphy Hall on the John Carroll University campus and the transformation of the Stambaugh building into a downtown Youngstown hotel.

A 2011 study by Cleveland State University estimates each $1 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits generates $8 million in construction spending.

Northeast Ohio Projects:

Akron Soap Company (Akron, Summit County)

  • Total Project Cost: $2,266,000
  • Total Tax Credit: $448,000
  • Address: 237-243 Furnace Street, 44304
  • Completed in 1893, the Akron Soap Company factory was constructed to manufacture “Grand and Electric Grip Soap.” The building was later used by the Pioneer Cereal Company and Pockrandt Paint Company, but has sat vacant for a number of years. Whitespace Creative, an Akron-based marketing and public relations firm, has purchased the property to accommodate its growing workforce. The company estimates 54 permanent jobs will be located in the building after rehabilitation is complete.

Falls Stamping and Welding (Cuyahoga Falls, Summit County)

  • Total Project Cost: $1,328,754
  • Total Tax Credit: $241,261
  • Address: 1701 South Front Street, 44221
  • The Falls Stamping and Welding building was constructed in 1928 and has served various manufacturing and warehouse uses over the years. Now vacant, the industrial structure will be transformed into commercial office space for TRIAD Communications/Next Generation Interactive. The advertising company is currently based in Cuyahoga Falls and expects to have up to 15 jobs at the property after rehabilitation. The project is the first project in the city of Cuyahoga Falls to use the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.

Firestone Triangle Building (Akron, Summit County)

  • Total Project Cost: $25,527,223
  • Total Tax Credit: $5,000,000
  • Address: 1200 Firestone Parkway, 44301
  • One of Akron’s historic tire manufacturers, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, hired architects Harpster and Bliss in 1910 to design a modern, efficient factory. Now mostly vacant, the property is being redeveloped in multiple phases. The Firestone Triangle Building, named for the shape of its triangular footprint, is the first phase of redevelopment and will be repurposed from industrial to office space. Summit County will relocate its Departments of Job & Family Services and Environmental Services into the building to act as an anchor for revitalization of the larger complex.

Garfield Building (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)

  • Total Project Cost: $31,544,326
  • Total Tax Credit: $5,000,000
  • Address: 1965 East Sixth Street, 44114
  • The Garfield Building was completed in 1893 and occupied by National City Bank in 1921. National City eventually expanded into the connected New England Building and occupied much of both structures until the bank was acquired by PNC in 2008. Now empty, the building will be redeveloped by Milennia Companies into 167 market-rate apartment units and three separate restaurant spaces.

Guernsey Apartment Building (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)

  • Total Project Cost: $1,738,417
  • Total Tax Credit: $248,375
  • Address: 2836 Franklin Boulevard, 44113
  • Located at Franklin Boulevard and West 29th
  • Street, the Guernsey Apartment Building is a contributing component of Cleveland’s Ohio City Preservation District. The four-story apartment building will receive a substantial rehabilitation, including new electrical, plumbing and roofing systems. Finishes will be updated to create contemporary living spaces. The project will retain the building’s 25 apartment units.

Murphy Hall (University Heights, Cuyahoga County)

  • Total Project Cost: $36,683,809
  • Total Tax Credit: $1,907,300
  • Address: 1 John Carroll Boulevard, 44118
  • Designed in 1962 with Collegiate Gothic and Gothic Revival architectural influences, Murphy Hall is located in the John Carroll University North Quad National Register Historic District. The building originally housed 400 sophomore and junior male students, and was the first dormitory to house females when they were welcomed to campus in 1969. Upgrades will modernize the building interior, including accessibility accommodations, while maintaining historic features.

Near West Lofts Storefront (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)

  • Total Project Cost: $1,109,497
  • Total Tax Credit: $180,499
  • Address: 6710 Detroit Avenue, 44102
  • Seated in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, the Near West Lofts was rehabilitated eight years ago. The building’s first floor storefront, however, has remained unimproved and vacant. With occupancy in surrounding commercial spaces at 95 percent, plans are now moving forward to rehabilitate the commercial space for a restaurant tenant.

Ogilvie Block (East Liverpool, Columbiana County)

  • Total Project Cost: $6,520,112
  • Total Tax Credit: $1,130,336
  • Address: 127-129 East Fifth Street
  • The Ogilvie Block housed the storied Ogilvie Department and 5&10 Stores, once the largest retailer in Downtown East Liverpool. After Ogilvie ceased operations in the late 1980’s, the buildings served various other tenants, but are now completely vacant and deteriorated. Pennsylvania-based New Castle School of Trades plans to bring its vocational training programs to the building, including commercial/industrial maintenance, welding and commercial drivers’ license programs. This is the first project in East Liverpool and Columbiana County to access the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. It is estimated the project will create more than 20 permanent and 12 part-time jobs.

Our Lady of Mercy (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)

  • Total Project Cost: $5,136,282
  • Total Tax Credit: $1,015,000
  • Address: 2425 West 11th Street, 44113
  • Closed as a Catholic parish in 2009, Our Lady of Mercy includes church, school and rectory buildings. The structures, built between 1926 and 1958, are located directly on Lincoln Square in Cleveland’s Tremont National Register Historic District. MCM Companies will now lead redevelopment of the vacant property into commercial office space. The historic sanctuary and balcony will remain undivided as open office space in order to preserve the historic character of the church.

Stambaugh Building (Youngstown, Mahoning County)

  • Total Project Cost: $25,477,950
  • Total Tax Credit: $5,000,000
  • Address: 44 East Federal Plaza, 44503
  • Noted Detroit Architect Albert Kahn designed the Stambaugh Building in 1907 with eight stories. Just five years later, an additional four stories were announced for the fully-leased building. Today, however, all but a small portion of the first floor is without tenants. Due to increased demand for hospitality space in the area and the need for a hotel in downtown Youngstown, NYO Property Group has acquired the property and plans to convert the building into a full-service hotel with 120 rooms.