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FOR CITY ADMIN: OLD IS OUT - NEW IS IN

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    Posted: Aug 24 2011 at 11:37pm

Townships attract new, relocating businesses

By James Sprague, Staff Writer
Updated 9:00 PM Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Business owners have a lot to consider when deciding where to locate, and many are choosing to build in or move to Butler County townships in light of changing demographics.

An analysis by this newspaper of business starts shows that Fairfield, Liberty and West Chester, added more than 280 businesses since 2010.

“They see that the market they are trying to reach is in those townships,” said Mike Juengling, director of the Butler County Department of Development. “They have more access to a larger market and the newness of the development plays a part as well.”

Many of the businesses in the three townships are new, but some have relocated from Middletown and Hamilton, citing demographics and location to major roadways. Income tax, or a lack of it in West Chester and Liberty townships, could also be a factor for new businesses, said Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance.

“Townships are a different form of government than cities,” Hinson said. “From the employers standpoint it becomes an attraction tool because there’s not an income tax.”

The access to nearby interstates — Ohio 129 and Interstate 75 for both Liberty and West Chester townships, U.S. 27 for Ross Twp. — plays a big part, Juengling said.

For GE Aviation, which moved approximately 300 employees in July to the Center Point Office Park in West Chester Twp., it was that access to Interstate 75 and the township’s location in relation to its plant in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale that spurred its move, said Rick Kennedy, GE spokesman.

Evendale is about 10 minutes south of West Chester Twp. on Interstate 75.

“Fundamentally it came down to a location,” said Rick Kennedy, GE spokesman. “Something close to our headquarters (in Evendale).”

This was required due to GE’s engineers needing to easily reach the hardware the jet engine hardware they are working on, which is at the Evendale plant, Kennedy said.

“You couldn’t be any further than they (the engineers) are now (from Evendale),” Kennedy said.

Location and amenities were also the driving factors behind AK Steel’s relocation of its corporate headquarters from Middletown to West Chester Twp. in 2007, company officials said at the time.

Bridgewater Falls Lifestyle Shopping Center in Fairfield Twp. has a newness that some find appealing, said Kert Radel, president and chief executive officer of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.

“They are putting in the type of stores consumers want,” Radel said. “There’s an element of convenience that you can pull right up to that store; time becomes critical.”

An Aspen Dental clinic and a Smashburger restaurant recently signed leases at Bridgewater Falls, and L&T Nails signed an expansion agreement to double the size of its nail salon in 2012, said Lan Le, salon owner.

Buffalo Wild Wings left Hamilton’s West Side to move to the popular shopping center primarily for more space, allowing for more amenities in the restaurant, said Manager Ray Boling.

“We have a patio here now, where there was no patio at the (BW3’s in Hamilton),” Boling said. “Our bar and dining areas are twice the size they were (from 170 to 300 seats) and we’re handling more people. That store (Hamilton) was just a lot smaller.”

Keeping businesses

The city of Hamilton aims to keep and attract business by offering incentives to prospective businesses, said Brandon Saurber, the city’s small business liaison.

“We have a revolving loan fund which is contingent on job creation,” Saurber said. “We offer a loan of $15,000 for every one full-time job or program created.”

Hamilton also offers a design assistance program that provides a $2,500 grant to businesses that invest more than $10,000 into a property. The grant is intended to offset some of the fees incurred by the business for architectural or engineering costs.

The city is putting attention on the marketing aspect with its strategic plan, recently approved by city council.

The plan focuses on maximizing the city’s utilities, retaining skilled and available workforce and creating an attractive environment for businesses, Saurber said.

“The city is being relentless in our pursuit of prosperity,” he said.

Middletown also offers such incentives as grants, tax credits, low-interest loans and workforce training for prospective businesses.

For Mark R. Smith, owner of Lady Jane Boutique and Gifts in Bridgewater Falls, it was just a simple matter of finances that spurred his move of the former Twigs and Treasures from the west side of Hamilton.

“It was just dead over there,” Smith said. “There was nothing to draw people in to shop.”

Rent was another concern of Smith’s, one that was alleviated with the move to Fairfield Twp.

“Rent is more reasonable,” he said.

Since moving to Bridgewater business has picked up tremendously, he said.

“We’re doing as much (sales) in one week at Bridgewater as we did in a month in Hamilton,” Smith said.

Ross Twp. is also an attractive business location, said Ron Bistany, the proprietor of an incoming Hot Head Burritos at 2672 Boulder Drive. Bistany said there are a number of factors that make Ross appealing, including the school district, lower taxes and a low crime rate.

“It’s a beautiful township,” Bistany said.

Bistany — who owns 23 Subway franchises in the Greater Cincinnati area — also spoke with other Ross businesses, such as the Subway restaurant next door, to gauge their success when making a decision, he said.

“The other restaurants are doing well,” Bistany said.

Calvin Tam, who opened his Sushi Monk restaurant June 18 in West Chester Twp., said crime rates, the school system and income levels of West Chester residents also played a role in where to open his restaurant.

“I lived in the area before when I was younger,” said Tam, who moved back to the area from California. “This neighborhood is a safer neighborhood.”

The median income for West Chester Twp. in 2010 was $81,506. Hamilton’s was $37,909 and Middletown’s $37,808, according to information from City-Data.com.

The median income of a community is a decidedly important factor in where a business locates, Saurber said.

“I think that goes without saying,” Saurber said.

An increasing population and booming economy was what attracted Nicole Han, owner of Hans White Tiger Tae Kwon Do, to open her martial arts studio in Liberty Twp.

The township’s population jumped from a total of 22,819 residents in 2000 to 37,259 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

“My husband and I drove around the area for about three to four years looking for a spot,” Han, who is originally from Lebanon, said. “We just kept ending up in Liberty Twp. We just followed the crowds.”

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ground swat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ground swat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 25 2011 at 7:07am
$37,808 is it accurate?  Sure doesn't help along with very little feed back from Neyer.  We do have an exit off of I-75, forgot were the one with NO gas pumps.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 25 2011 at 10:46am
"Middletown also offers such incentives as grants, tax credits, low-interest loans and workforce training for prospective businesses"

MIDDLETOWN ALSO OFFERS A LOW INCOME COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT WHERE EXCESS SECTION 8 HOUSING SEEMS TO BE HIGH ON THE LIST OF AMENITIES AND THE DESIRES OF THE CITY LEADERS. MIDDLETOWN ALSO OFFERS A "BUSINESS UNFRIENDLY" ENVIRONMENT AS EVIDENCED BY THE AIRPORT DISCUSSION ON THIS SITE AND THE LENNY ROBINSON FIASCO. A LOW PERFORMING SCHOOL SYSTEM, A WORKFORCE THAT OFFERS A "FAST FOOD" LEVEL TRAINING SCENARIO FOR EMPLOYERS AND A REPUTATION IN THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES OF BEING A LOW CLASS, BEHIND THE TIMES, BLUE COLLAR, DYING INDUSTRIAL COMMUNITY, THANKS, IN PART, TO THE CITY LEADERS HAVING NO CLUE WHAT DIRECTION TO TAKE THE CITY NOR ANY CLUE AS TO WHAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP CURRENT WITH THE TIMES.

The median income for West Chester Twp. in 2010 was $81,506. Hamilton’s was $37,909 and Middletown’s $37,808, according to information from City-Data.com.

The median income of a community is a decidedly important factor in where a business locates, Saurber said.

IF THE MEDIAN INCOME OF A COMMUNITY IS A DECIDING FACTOR IN BUSINESS LOCATION, WE ARE S.O.L. OUR CITY LEADERS HAVE SET OUR CITY UP FOR ATTRACTING LITTLE TO NO DECENT EMPLOYERS FOR YEARS TO COME. THANKS. HIGHER INCOME PEOPLE LEAVING FOR GREENER PASTURES AS A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF LOWER INCOME PEOPLE ARRIVE IS A LETHAL COMBINATION FOR A CITY ON THE PATH TOWARD DESTRUCTION. HOW COULD ANYONE, WITH ANY COMMON SENSE, WANT THIS FOR THE CITY THEY RUN? THIS DOES NOT COMPUTE. DOES ANYONE KNOW OF ANY OTHER CITY THAT HAS THIS AGENDA?
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