Uptown NMTC Projects: Where Are They Now? Part 2

Uptown Consortium has successfully utilized federal  New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to help finance  development projects in the five Uptown neighborhoods. The tax credits are designed to encourage private development in underserved communities by reducing federal tax obligations by 39 percent for up to seven years.

To date, UCI has been awarded $130 million in NMTCs and, in partnership with the Cincinnati Development Fund, managed an additional $52 million allocation as part of the Uptown Cincinnati Development Fund.  In all, UCI has utilized $182 million in NMTCs in Uptown, which has funded  15 projects to create jobs, provide services to residents and revitalize neighborhoods. These projects have helped transform Uptown.  The following are recent examples of four projects funded through UCI’s NMTC allocations.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Solar Array (H2)

$5+ million in NMTCs

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden began generating clean energy from a solar array   on top of the Zoo’s Vine Street parking garage.

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden began generating clean energy from a solar array on top of the Zoo’s Vine Street parking garage. The solar canopy is a 1.56-megawatt system made up of 6,400 solar panels, making it the largest publicly-accessible urban solar array in the nation. The solar panels provide over 25 percent of the Zoo’s electricity, helping it earn the title of The Greenest Zoo in America.” This ensures the Zoo remains a thriving member of the community.

The solar array continues to provide education and community benefits, highlighting opportunities in renewable energy. During planning and construction, the project created 38 jobs and funded 3 scholarships at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College in its Green Workforce Development Program. The canopy also includes an educational kiosk that explains the benefits of solar energy for the Zoo’s visitors. 

UCI investment impact:

  • 3 scholarships for training on renewable energy for Uptown residents

  • 1.6 million annual visitors learning about the benefits of renewable energy

Crossroads Uptown (H2)

$7.2 million in NMTCs

Crossroads Community Church   raised more than $10 million and utilized NMTCs to redevelop

Crossroads Community Church raised more than $10 million and utilized NMTCs to redevelop the vacant Old St. George Catholic Church in Clifton Heights into a 35,000-square-foot multi-purpose community resource center. Today, Crossroads Uptown provides a wide range of community services including classes on financial responsibility, free monthly meeting spaces for recovery and other healing group meetings, job and social agency services, and personal development classes. The building is open to the community from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week and used by the community for events and as a gathering space.

UCI investment impact:

  • 10 full-time, permanent jobs created within two years of the finished project

  • Over 800 residents served annually  

Avondale Town Center (H2)

$2 million in NMTCs

The Avondale Town Center had long been a part of the heart of the Avondale community before falling into disrepair as a struggling, suburban-style strip center.

The Avondale Town Center had long been a part of the heart of the Avondale community before falling into disrepair as a struggling, suburban-style strip center. Thanks to an infusion of NMTCs, the new Avondale Town Center will be a destination of quality retail and mixed-use options, as well as residential housing.

Developed by The Community Builders (TBC), the project includes construction of two new buildings with 69 residential units above 75,000 square-feet of commercial space.  The leasing strategy is based on attracting commercial tenants that will provide services and amenities currently missing from the neighborhood.  Inclusion is also a vital aspect of the development, with a focus on attracting tenants from locally or minority-owned business. UC Health will open a 6,000 square-foot health clinic at the site to serve the community.

Currently, 51 of the 69 residential units are leased and the development is on track to be 100% occupied by the end of July 2019.

UCI investment impact:

  • 69 housing units for rent

  • 6,000 square foot UC health clinic

  • 77 jobs created within two years of the finished project

Hickory Townhomes (H2)

$1.3 million in NMTCs

Hickory Townhomes is the first new, for-sale construction housing project in the neighborhood in over a decade.

The Avondale neighborhood is a vibrant community with many challenges and opportunities, including retaining and attracting residents. Hickory Townhomes is the first new, for-sale construction housing project in the neighborhood in over a decade. NMTCs leveraged capital provided by CCHMC.

Located within the Burnet Avenue district of Avondale, it features 16 townhomes built in two phases on land donated by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Sale prices ranged from $185,000- $195,000 in the first phase, increasing to $250,000 in phase two. Both phases sold out ahead of schedule, demonstrating an increasing single-family home market. The success of the project has lead to additional residential development in the area.

UCI investment impact:

  • 16 single family homes

These projects demonstrate the long-term impact of NMTC-supported developments within the Uptown neighborhoods. Moving forward, UCI will continue identifying and supporting critical projects with the potential to create positive changes in the community. For updates on other NMTC-funded projects in Uptown, see part 1 of our series on Uptown NMTC projects.