Monday, December 18, 2006

Huge Tax Abatements To Spur Further Growth at Rickenbacker Port

The Columbus Regional Airport Authority and Franklin County are creating a community-reinvestment area for a 160-acre strip of land near Canal and Vause roads near Rickenbacker Airport. Developers will be eligible for abatements on all of the real property they build for up to 15 years. The end result will be better lease terms for tenants. Long term, 20,000 jobs are expected to be created in the next 20 years in the Rickenbacker area as warehouses and new manufacturing pops up. County officials say the new reinvestment area will be in addition to one that’s about to be extended for 20 years. It includes nearby land in Franklin County owned by the port authority. Together, the these so-called CRAs cover about a quarter of Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park, an industrial area near the airport being developed by the airport authority, Duke Realty Inc. and Capitol Square Ltd. The new CRA covers about 160 acres near Canal Road that contains mostly single-family homes. The authority expects to close in early January on these properties, which it will add to the logistics park portfolio. Robin Holderman, vice president of real estate for the airport authority, said that the average cost per acre was $57,000. According to the Columbus Dispaptch, the Ohio Department of Development must approve the CRA, which the county expects soon. A key benefit is direct access for tenants to the Norfolk Southern rail line that borders the western edge of the Canal-Vause property. There was some opposition. Hamilton Local School District officials had to agree to it, and two incentives made it work. The authority agreed to buy Hamilton South Elementary School at Shook Road and Rt. 317 for $1.1 million. The school is expected to close in August. Also, the authority is expanding a current pre-annexation agreement that covers land it owns at the rail campus to include the Canal-Vause tract. It will reimburse the school district for property-tax benefits it loses when the houses are acquired. That’s necessary because the airport authority is a nonprofit organization and is exempt from paying property tax. Land prices in the area have been driven up by the development, and expected expansion of free trade zones. Many warehouses built in the past 24 months are still empty, but may be full in the coming months with these new moves.

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