December 21, 2016

Tax Exemption Puts Nationwide Arena on Equal Footing with other Ohio Arenas

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority is ending the year on a high note after Gov. John Kasich on Dec. 15 signed a measure that put Nationwide Arena on an equitable property tax footing with all similar public venues in Ohio.

Senate Bill 3, adopted by the Ohio General Assembly earlier this month, authorized a permanent property tax exemption for Nationwide Arena. Nationwide Arena will now enjoy the same tax treatment under state law as the fourteen other publicly-owned entertainment and sports venues in Ohio.

The exemption recognizes the impact the Arena has had on Columbus’ thriving economy. What was once a grim symbol of urban decay is now one of the most vibrant areas of the city, connecting to a revitalized downtown, the Short North and the High Street Corridor, and the Scioto Riverfront.

Nationwide Arena’s opening has sparked more than $1 billion of additional private investment, including new apartments, condos, restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, offices and retail outlets. The Arena District now supports more than 10,000 jobs and 1,000 homes for central Ohioans. It is a critical spoke in Columbus’ tourism wheel, which has an annual economic impact of $8.7 billion.

By the end of tax-year 2014, the total market value of real estate in the Arena District had grown to nearly $750 million. Based on that market value, the district generated nearly $11 million in real estate taxes, of which $7.5 million was distributed to the Columbus City Schools.

The Convention Authority thanks all who supported the exemption, including Senate President Keith Faber, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, Gov. John Kasich, Senators and Representatives from Franklin County, the County Commissioners, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Council President Zach Klein, and the Columbus Partnership. The measure was also supported by the Columbus Board of Education, which accepted the Convention Authority’s offer of annual payments in-lieu-of-taxes to the School District for as long as the Arena remains publicly-owned. Under that arrangement, the Convention Authority will begin next year to pay $586,000 to the District annually. This payment-in-lieu of tax arrangement is in addition to the approximately $7.5 million in property taxes for schools that the Arena District will generate next year.

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