The Weekly Rundown: Licking County framework sets agenda for growth; businesses 'highly optimistic' in PNC survey

Regional cooperation is key to tackling our shared challenges and leaders in Licking County have taken that lesson to heart with the Framework initiative aimed at helping local communities prepare for Intel-related growth. 

The final report from Planning Next and the Thomas J. Evans Foundation lays out in detail a roadmap for policies, programs and procedures to guide development in the 15 participating jurisdictions. It’s not supposed to be the definitive blueprint, more a set of suggestions and best practices. 

“While none of us have a crystal ball, we now know what could happen and how to plan to manage the growth to our advantage,” Sarah Wallace, chair of the Evans Foundation, said in a statement. “We have been armed with technical data, constituent insight and tools that can help each of us make better, more informed decisions.”

It’s a positive first step on a long journey.

A step forward for the downtown YMCA

The future of the former downtown YMCA on East Long Street will come into focus soon now that a developer has been chosen to transform the historic building into apartments. 

The Columbus Downtown Development Corp. board this month picked Woda Cooper to redevelop the building, betting on a veteran affordable housing developer to accomplish the renovation

The Columbus-based company is likely to need all its expertise – and some public assistance – to pull off the conversion while keeping the units affordable, considering all the headwinds against building these days.

It’s planning to apply for tax credits as well as funding from Columbus’ housing bond pool. That will go toward Woda Cooper’s goal to cap rents at the renamed Lofts at the Y at 30% to 80% of the area’s median income. 

This is an important project for both housing and historic preservation.

Business owners optimistic despite recession fears

Are you feeling good about the near future?

If so, you’re not alone. 

According to a new PNC survey of Ohio business owners, 72% of respondents said they were “highly optimistic” about their prospects over the next six months. 

That’s despite a widespread consensus that we’re still facing the credible threat of a recession through early next year. In fact, that didn’t seem to matter much. 

Only 36% of the Ohio business owners surveyed said they were felt similarly optimistic about the national economy.

The pessimism came when asked about hiring plans, with just 7% of respondents in Ohio planning to add new jobs, against 92% staying put.

Reasons cited include a lack of applicants, a lack of appropriate skills and salary inflation.  

Notable quotes from the week

“We are placing big bets to make this not just a win for Ohio, not just a win for the United States. This is a win for the entire world.”

Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel EVP and chief global operations officer, at the company’s Harvest Celebration over the weekend.

Esfarjani Intel groundbreaking DSC02636

Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel executive vice president and chief global operations officer, spoke at the site of Intel’s future Ohio manufacturing complex during a ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, Sept. 9.

Jeffry Konczal

“Parking lots are a gap in the urban fabric. This project would be engaging at the pedestrian level and a catalyst for other development in the area.”

Jon Riewald, on his proposed seven-story, 131-unit mixed-use project on two surface lots on Spring Street.

riewald jon

“Longer term, we have a great deal of excitement with new deals in health and life sciences, energy and engineering.”

Peter Mohler, EVP for research, innovation and knowledge at Ohio State, on the school’s $18.8 million in tech licensing revenue in fiscal 2022. That’s double the school’s previous record. 

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Peter Mohler

Maddie McGarvey

About this week’s print cover 

Peter Mohler is having an interesting year at Ohio State University. His main job is executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge, and he’s doing pretty well at it. The school just reported commercialization income spiked to $18.8 million in fiscal 2022, doubling the previous annual record. And he’s also sitting in as interim president while the school awaits the January arrival of Ted Carter. How’s that going for him? That’s this week’s cover story, with photos by talented freelance photographer Maddie McGarvey.

CBF 092923 01 cover

Columbus Business First’s print cover for Sept. 29, 2023.

Image by Maddie McGarvey | Design by John Lauer


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