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Jackson Investors Brings New Life to Over-The-Rhine Building for Art Students
Cincinnati (Hamilton County)

Jackson Investors, an affiliate of Urban Sites, is a real estate developer focused on rehabilitating buildings in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine district. When the company learned the Art Academy of Cincinnati was in need of student housing to help grow enrollment, they began working to breathe new life into two Jackson Street buildings.

The Authority closed on $3,148,651 in bond financing for Jackson Investors to renovate the buildings with energy efficiency improvements as part of the transformation to become student housing. The project also includes a few commercial units on the first floor for businesses.

“We found out about the new guidelines for the Clean Air Improvement Program and thought the prospect sounded great,” said Todd Voelkerding, chief financial officer of Urban Sites. “We felt there were some solid economic benefits to making environmentally friendly improvements.”

The project included upgrading the HVAC system, adding energy efficient LED lighting, efficient elevators, ENERGY STAR appliances, new water heaters and low-flow plumbing. They also improved insulation and added new energy efficient windows. The renovations helped reduce air emissions and provided significant energy savings.

According to Voelkerding, the CAIP funding helped them raise money with investors and also provided great tax benefits.

“The sales tax benefit allowed us to save up to $75,000 which was so helpful,” he said. “The other piece is the real estate tax benefit. Anything related to the OAQDA work received a 100 percent tax rebate.”

The group also received an additional tax benefit from the Ohio Development Services Agency, since the project was located in an opportunity zone.

“It’s a great location with a lot of character. However, there were significant structural issues such as old, leaky windows. We brought it back to life. We love that we have been able to do that in an environmentally conscious way.”