Development Strategy Brings $1.17 Billion in Private Investment and $164 Million in New Payroll to Columbus Communities
The Columbus Tax Incentive Review Council’s Annual Review Provides Critical Insight into Several of the City’s Incentive Programs
[COLUMBUS, OH] The Columbus Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC) submitted its annual review of the City’s 2019 portfolio of real property tax agreements and Tax Increment Financing Districts. The result, Columbus’s portfolio exceeded its job creation goal by 15 percent and met its real estate investment goals. The audit also concluded that the 81 total agreements brought in $164 million in net new annual payroll revenue and $1.17 billion in private real property investments.
“This independent civilian oversight Council is a vital part of the process,” said Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy. “Having a critical, objective review of development initiatives keeps the companies accountable to the City and its residents.”
Columbus continues to compete nationally and globally to attract new companies. The Department of Development negotiates incentive packages to encourage companies to locate, expand, invest and create new, living-wage jobs within the City limits.
The TIRC is a five-member collective and serves to give an independent review of these programs and subsequent project outcomes to ensure transparency and accountability. Annually, the TIRC conducts a performance audit of each Enterprise Zone, Community Revitalization Area and Tax Increment Financing agreement and submits its findings to Council.
On Monday, September 21, 2020, Council officially accepted the 2019 TIRC report and recommendations as a part of the annual review process.
"We continue to work hard to bring good, high-quality jobs to the City of Columbus, especially during the current economic challenges. These efforts will aid the turnaround in Columbus's economic future," said Michael Stevens, Department of Development Director.
Columbus City Council’s acceptance of the report allows the Department of Development to further evaluate and propose changes to incentive programs for companies that are not reaching job creation or investment goals for one reason or another.
This year, the committee reviewed 81 agreements and recommended that 80 agreements continue. One agreement expired. The committee also recommended that twenty-nine agreements could proceed without staff follow-up beyond standard reporting. Forty-nine agreements could proceed with either amendments or staff follow-up. One agreement was recommended for staff follow-up and, if necessary, then amend. Another agreement was recommended for staff follow-up pending a request from the company to dissolve.
In 2019, the portfolio of companies created, invested and retained:
- $164 million in new annual payroll (180 percent of goal);
- Invested over $1.17 billion in real property improvements (100 percent of goal);
- Created and retained a total of 13,457 jobs;
- 2,788 jobs created (115 percent of goal);
- Retained 10,200 jobs retained (124 percent of goal).
Incentive programs create two avenues to generate a community benefit. The first and immediate impact is job creation. The second, investment in the community.
In 2016, Coulter Properties LLC and Coulter Ventures, LLC dba Rogue Fitness received a 10-year/75 percent real property tax abatement to expand their operations in the City of Columbus. Rogue Fitness is a national leader in the manufacture and distribution of high-quality strength and conditioning equipment. The project established the company’s new North American operations and corporate headquarters by constructing a new approximately 600,000 square feet facility at 545 East Fifth Avenue, in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood.
The job and investment commitments, per the incentive agreement, consisted of the company investing $32 million in real property improvements while retaining 337 full-time permanent jobs with the creation of 90 new full-time permanent jobs by 2019 with a commensurate new job payroll of $3.9 million.
However, in the fourth year of the program, the TIRC reported that Rogue Fitness met and exceeded all of the commitments within their agreement. The company reported a cumulative investment of $47.9 million in real property improvements (150 percent attainment), retained 337 jobs (100 percent attainment) and created 391 new full-time jobs (434 percent attainment) with a commensurate payroll of $8.8 million (226 percent attainment).
The Rogue Fitness Enterprise Zone Agreement is set to expire in 2025.