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Cincinnati Council approves $1.2M to redevelop former Fountain Square Macy's

construction barriers surround the northwest corner of Fifth and Vine streets. The building is under reconstruction.
City of Cincinnati
Department of Community & Economic Development
The Foundry is 3CDC's redevelopment of the former Macy's department store at Fountain Square.

Update Wednesday, November 17: Council voted 7-0 to approve all three ordinances for the project.

Cincinnati Council is set to approve $1.2 million in financing to redevelop the former Macy's at Fountain Square. The Budget and Finance Committee gave initial approval for the plan Monday and full council will vote Wednesday.

3CDC bought the building nearly three years ago. The Foundry redevelopment will create up to 205,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of commercial space. The project will also rehab an existing 164-space parking garage.

Cincinnati Director of Community and Economic Development Markiea Carter says the company Divisions Maintenance Group will operate there.

"They'll be relocating 393 existing employees to the Central Business District, and they will create a minimum of 256 new full-time employees with a total annual payroll of approximately $44 million within the next three years," Carter says.

Council is also set to approve a 10-year job creation tax credit agreement for Divisions, worth 50% of city income tax revenue for the new jobs.

"This is really huge for our city," says Council Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney. "I know it was a big effort, and we're really grateful - 649 new jobs is just great for us."

The incentive deal requires Divisions to remain in Cincinnati until at least 2034. City officials say the deal is worth a little over $4 million to the company, and will bring in about $6.4 million in new payroll tax revenue.

Divisions has committed to investing at least $4.5 million in the office space over the next two years. The company is relocating from Northern Kentucky.

The $1.2 million in financing comes from the Urban Renewal Tax Increment Bond Fund, which is limited to urban renewal projects in the Central Business District. The project is not funded by any of the three TIF districts that include downtown.

The ordinances will be on the agenda for Wednesday's full council meeting.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.