January 11, 2016

FCCFA study documents Nationwide Arena’s effect on investment, tax revenues, jobs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new study by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority reveals that Nationwide Arena’s opening in 1999 has resulted in more than $750 million in additional private investment in the surrounding neighborhood.

The FCCFA, which owns the Arena as well as the Hilton Columbus Downtown, the Greater Columbus Convention Center and several parking facilities, initiated the study to better understand the effects of the Arena on investment in what has become one of Columbus’ most vibrant districts.

“Nationwide Arena’s opening and subsequent tax policies have sparked more than three-quarters of a billion dollars in additional private investment, including development of new apartments, condominiums, restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, offices and retail outlets,” said Don Brown, FCCFA’s executive director.

“Tax abatement agreements and the establishment of four separate tax increment financing districts were designed to spark further investment, and they have,” Brown added. “The total market value of real estate in the Arena District had grown by $743.8 million as of tax year 2014, generating nearly $11 million in real estate taxes annually, of which $7.5 million was distributed to the Columbus City Schools.”

The findings are important as the FCCFA petitions the Ohio General Assembly to treat Nationwide Arena as it does all other publicly-owned arenas in Ohio by making it exempt from property taxes. When a 99 percent tax abatement ended at the end of 2015, Nationwide Arena became the only publicly owned arena in Ohio, among 15 similar venues, that is obligated to pay property taxes under state law.

In lieu of property tax revenues that would have gone to the Columbus City Schools, Nationwide Arena has paid the Columbus City Schools an average of $586,000 yearly. The district already has endorsed a plan under which the FCCFA would assume those payments to provide the schools with a dependable source of revenues, as well as a number of additional FCCFA resources and services, for years to come.

Nationwide Arena opened in 1999 on a 22-acre site near downtown Columbus that was occupied for 150 years by the state penitentiary. The prison was surrounded by manufacturing, light industry, railroads, scrapyards, parking lots, and warehouse facilities. The prison closed in 1984. Two years later, nearly all of the surrounding properties had become vacant and left in a state of decay.

Today the Arena District boasts development on more than 75 acres divided in 665 real estate parcels supporting over 10,000 jobs and 1,000 homes, according to the FCCFA study.

To download charts detailing the Arena’s impact, click here.


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