Good morning all. Here are some quick news items for you. The weekend is almost upon us, so I’ll be brief.
Mayor John Cranley and Councilwoman Yvette Simpson are debating yet again this morning at a forum hosted by the University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center and Program and the Urban Land Institute of Cincinnati. As I type, they’re discussing the city’s transit systems, how to change the way Cincinnati gives out tax abatements to developers to fund affordable housing and neighborhood projects, how to grow the city’s population, and — you guessed it — hot button topics like the streetcar and the expansion of Children’s Hospital in Avondale. Of course.
• Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky are teaming up to try and convince Amazon to bring its enormous second headquarters to the region. Officials from all three areas want to bid on that opportunity, which could mean as many as 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in construction, the company says. The deadline is coming up — bids from interested cities are due Oct. 19.
• Meanwhile, a major office project on Cincinnati riverfront development The Banks by General Electric that was touted as a job-creating coup by city officials is already laying off a few workers. One year after completion, GE says it has revised the expected number of people it will hire for its Global Operations Center at The Banks, and will eliminate a few existing positions as well. The company received $112 million in tax incentives from the city to bring the office to Cincinnati — one of the largest tax incentive deals in the city’s history. Company officials say the office will still employ nearly the 1,400 workers it promised the city.
• Development efforts in Avondale around the recently completed MLK-I-71 interchange continue to heat up. The Uptown Consortium, which is run by major employers like the University of Cincinnati, uptown’s major hospitals and other organizations, has purchased six properties near the interchange for $3 million. Those purchases are part of an effort to make the area around the interchange and Reading Road a so-called “innovation corridor.”
• Hamilton County commissioners are trying to cut Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil’s spending on the county’s overcrowded justice center, but Neil outmaneuvered them this week. The sheriff invoked a rarely used state law allowing him to draw $75,000 in funds directly from the county’s general fund without commissioner approval. He’s using that money, he says, to mitigate crowded conditions at the county jail, which is currently holding hundreds more prisoners more than what it was designed for. The money is going to pay Butler County for use of its jail, where some of Hamilton County’s prisoners are currently held.
• Finally, the U.S. economy in September shed jobs for the first time since 2010, according to the federal government. The economy lost 33,000 jobs last month, and initially reported job gains from the two previous months were revised down in this month’s job numbers. Severe weather played a big part in the loss, the government says — hurricanes in Florida and Texas hit employers there hard — and the loss may simply be a blip due to those disasters. Still, the average number of jobs the economy has gained month over month has dropped recently. In the past year, the economy added an average of 172,000 jobs a month. But in the last three months before the most recent report, that average dropped to 91,000 jobs a month.