What is a Downtown Redevelopment District & How Can It Be Used in Economic Development?

A Downtown Redevelopment District (DRD) is a new tool for Ohio municipalities to redevelop their historic business districts. It includes the authority for local government to redirect new property taxes into a fund that can be used for the rehabilitation of buildings and improvement of public infrastructure within a business district.

We have been working with the Village of Lockland to establish two 10-acre DRDs as part of the Stearns and Foster advanced manufacturing site redevelopment. A National Register Award is expected for the business district by July 2019 and two DRDs are expected to be implemented shortly after. Grant funds are available through the State to assist with national district nominations. It can take roughly 2 years to have a building or district added to the National Register.

DRDs have the following requirements:

  • The district can be no larger than 10 acres.
  • At least one building in the district must be on the National Register.
  • At least one historic building must be undergoing rehabilitation or will be rehabilitated.
  • A maximum of 70% of new taxes can be collected by the program for up to 30 years.
  • Districts shall not be created in areas used exclusively for residential purposes and shall not be used for development or redevelopment of residential areas.

We suggest that at least 2 acres of the 10-acre district be available for new construction. Using the average commercial tax rate in Hamilton County, a $2.5-million-dollar real property investment will generate $50,000 in annual taxes; $1.5-million-dollars over 30 years. Recent proposals for senior multi-family affordable housing in the County have proposed $13M in new investment. A conservative estimate is that this project would generate $175,000 annually in taxes collected by a DRD; $ 5 million dollars in 30 years. The funds can then be used for the rehabilitation of non-residential buildings within the 10-acre district.

Have questions about establishing a DRD in your Hamilton County historic business district? Feel free to contact Dan Ferguson at dferguson@alloydev.org.

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