Home to 15% of Cincinnati’s population, anchor institutions that include a major tourist destination, a university, and seven hospitals, the Uptown district is a combination of seven Cincinnati neighborhoods: Avondale, Clifton, Corryville and Clifton Heights, University Heights, Fairview (known as CUF) and Mt. Auburn. This culturally and economically diverse district has thrived in part from the work of the Uptown Consortium, established in 2005.
Congress created the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program in 2000 to help revitalize low-income neighborhoods throughout the country. The NMTCs spur investment in real estate projects and businesses in these communities through tax credits for equity investors in certified organizations like the Uptown Consortium. As one of the first organizations to use NMTCs in the country, the Uptown Consortium has received nearly $137 million in credits to support vital projects in Uptown Cincinnati.
“New Market Tax Credits allow us to invest in projects that otherwise wouldn’t get done,” says Beth Robinson, president and CEO. A project like U Square @ the Loop, a mixed-use development at the edge of the University of Cincinnati campus in the Clifton Heights neighborhood, had been stalled for nearly a decade. Uptown Consortium helped launch the project by allocating $24 million in NMTCs, ushering in 80,000 square feet of retail, 160 apartments, and two public parking garages totaling 750 spaces to the area. Future plans also call for the development of a hotel.
The Views on the Vine project, funded in part by a $20 million NMTC allocation, will revitalize the Corryville neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati. The mixed-use development will include 104 units of student housing and 18,000 square feet of commercial real estate. The project is slated to open in 2013, and hopes to encourage students to live here and visitors to enjoy this new walkable, vibrant entertainment district.
The Uptown Consortium has also leveraged NMTCs to support other larger and smaller projects in the district, developing new restaurants, hotels, office space, and even a multi-million dollar solar canopy that provides 20% of the energy used by the Cincinnati Zoo.
NMTC have had a major impact on the growth of investment and development in Uptown. The creation of the Uptown Consortium, and its ability to leverage NMTCs, has transformed the Uptown area through job creation, business expansion, and economic development.