Lorain Council Approves Broadway Building Tax Incentive Plan

The Broadway Building stood still at 301 Broadway on July 16, but Lorain City Council moved forward approving financial details needed in a plan to bring the building into new life.

Lorain City Council approved the financial incentive package for Ariel on Broadway LLC, the development company of Cleveland businesswoman Radhika Reddy.

Ariel on Broadway plans to create a 55-unit hotel and gathering space in the Broadway Building, a project expected to cost about $8 million.

Speaking to Council, Reddy recounted coming to the United States as a student with a scholarship through Rotary International. Since then, she has spent years building her business as a financial consultant.

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In Cleveland, after a career working in finances for projects in low-income areas, Reddy said she developed her Ariel Center building there as a way to give back to that city.

She was getting ready to retire when Lorain Port Authority Executive Director Tom Brown pitched the project in Lorain. Reddy praised his spirit, but noted the project still is a big gamble.

“Lorain has been so welcoming, the city, the county, the foundations, the chambers, everyone, the Port and all, it’s just exceptional the support we’re receiving,” Reddy said.

Her company is mission-driven and wants to go to low income areas to make a difference and leave a legacy in areas that have been neglected by other businesses, Reddy said. The audience applauded.

Mayor Chase Ritenauer noted Reddy is modest about her accomplishments.

“But when you look at the work she’s done elsewhere, her business acumen, her financial acumen and her role in so many things in the state of Ohio with regard to tax credits, these are the types of people we want to welcome into this community with open arms,” Ritenauer said. “I’m proud of this city, I’m proud of this Council. This has been a fairly easy process step by step.”

Reddy has faced some challenges for financing, but the city, Lorain City Schools, the Lorain Port Authority and local foundations, have worked together on the deal, Ritenauer said. “This is how it’s supposed to go,” he said, and the audience applauded when he welcomed her.

The city legislation involves two methods of creating financial assistance for the project.

Council voted 10-0 for a Community Reinvestment Area tax incentive, the city will forgive 100 percent of the property taxes for the improvements to the building for 12 years.

Council voted 10-0 to create a tax increment financing district, or TIF district, for the hotel. The TIF agreement forgives 100 percent of the property taxes for the improvements to the building for 30 years.

The city of Lorain legally had to take title to the building to be able to grant the financial incentives. That transaction happened July 13, with the city owning the building for a short time that day, according to the city documents.

The project prompted praise from Council members at-large Joe Koziura, Mitch Fallis and Mary Springowski.

The city agreement said the project is expected to commence about Sept. 1.

Reddy and Brown said they expect to announce soon an exact start date. While the city approval was crucial, Reddy mentioned financing and insurance paperwork still is in process.

Ariel on Broadway and the Port also must coordinate a construction schedule to manage contractors who will be in the building. For example, it does not make sense to replace rooftop climate control systems before the new roof surface is installed, Brown said.

In other news:

>> Lorain seawall repairs part of Black River restoration

>> Lorain’s Sacred Heart Chapel celebrates diversity, inclusion

Source : http://www.morningjournal.com/article/MJ/20180716/NEWS/180719563

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