3CDC seeking city funds to back Whex Garage purchase

3CDC seeking city funds to back Whex Garage purchase

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. is seeking tax-increment financing dollars from the city to back its planned purchase of a garage near the Duke Energy Convention Center, a key part of assembling properties around the developing area.

3CDC wants $1.9 million from the Downtown South/Riverfront TIF — but not to spend it on the Whex Garage at 212 W. Fourth St. It wants the money to be held as debt service reserve for the loan it intends to secure from the state of Ohio and a local equity fund it controls.

The garage revenue itself will be used to pay off the loans the nonprofit developer will secure to buy the garage, whose purchase price has not yet been disclosed. 3CDC intends to close on it by the end of March.

3CDC views control of the 753-space Whex Garage as key to assuaging any concerns about parking by the eventual developer of a new headquarters hotel to be located south of the Duke Energy Convention Center in what today is a parking lot. With site control of the Whex Garage, the hotel developer will not need to build parking, which will save it tens of millions of dollars. 3CDC eventually plans to improve the garage, a spokesman said.

“We view this as kind of a critical piece to getting the hotel on board,” said Katie Westbrook, a development director at 3CDC.

The Downtown South/Riverfront TIF fund currently has a $2.6 million balance, according to the city. TIF funds allow the city to capture the tax revenue from increased property values in certain areas and use it for public purposes instead of the money being distributed to local governments.
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