Legislation introduced to establish Ohio City Entertainment District
(Plain Press, December 2021) Ward 3 City Council Member Kerry McCormack has introduced emergency legislation to Cleveland City Council to approve the application of Ohio City Legacy, LLC to establish an Ohio City Entertainment District. The entertainment district is designed to benefit prospective hospitality industry tenants in the large $145 million INTRO wood frame buildings being constructed on the Southeast corner of W. 25thand Lorain Avenue.
The new entertainment district besides including the footprint of the INTRO complex will include some properties to the south including the RTA rapid station, Morgan Services, and Abbey Park. The new district will allow five new low-cost liquor permits to be issued. The new liquor permits will allow businesses in the district to avoid the expensive process of bidding on a limited supply of local liquor permits. State law, designed to curb the oversaturation of liquor permits in areas with declining population, freezes the number of permits in Cleveland to the existing number of liquor permits. The exception is in locally approved entertainment districts.
The application for the new district states, “Upon completion of INTRO, Ohio City Legacy, LLC will open a satellite office at the location that will house 8-10 full-time new hires, with an annual payroll approaching $750,000. A corporate office slated for the 2nd floor of the development will begin with 5-7 full-time employees, eventually growing to as many as 15, with payroll in excess of $1,000,000. In tandem with that, Harbor Bay will create a brand-new hospitality business that will employ upwards of 125 people in both full-time and part-time roles across four unique hospitality concepts, of which payroll is anticipated at over $3,500,000.”
Ohio City Legacy’s application lists four hospitality businesses currently looking at the possibility of being tenants in the INTRO project. Those include:
“• Truss Event Venue – A private event venue on the top floor of INTRO that will host weddings and non-profit/corporate events
• Pioneer – A casual sports bar/gastropub including a large biergarten-style patio, with a menu featuring primarily wood-fired foods
• Jaja – A steakhouse and tapas lounge with a cocktail-driven bar program
• Leaps & Bounds – A new coffee bar and all-day café with healthy, coastal-inspired food and a small menu of beer, wine, and spirits.
The application also notes the other subsidies the INTRO project is receiving: “The INTRO property is currently part of the City of Cleveland’s residential tax abatement program, but all non-residential real estate is subject to fully-assessed property taxes. Some of these taxes will be applied to the TIF that was awarded to the INTRO project. Overall, INTRO is expected to generate around $350,000 annually in property tax benefits once the project is complete and stabilized.”