LORAIN— The Lorain school board approved a tax abatement on a $4 million downtown brewery project Monday night, paving the way for a City Council decision in September.
At the board’s meeting, President Tony Dimacchia said the abatement would be for the property at 383 Broadway, the former Cleveland Trust Bank, currently owned by Jovic 2 LLC.
Dimacchia said the company is requesting a 15-year, 100 percent abatement on the project, which could potentially bring as many as 50 jobs to the downtown area.
Board member Tim Williams said the city puts the initial deal together and then requests the board’s approval, but the abatement is only on the new value of the building — the district still will collect funds on the current value of the building.
“The benefit is what is the benefit to the community?” he said. “So 50 people paying income tax is a good thing. Getting the dilapidated buildings renovated is a good thing. This 15-year abatement is only for the increased value, so we’re still going to get what we were always getting — but that increased value we won’t get anything on.”
Williams said the board has looked at projects like this in the past and has a hard time approving abatements that last forever but at the same time it does want to offer incentives.
“What can we do to incentivize folks to come into this community and create jobs, to address dilapidated (building) issues?” he said. “I mean, downtown is frightening. It’s almost embarrassing.”
Treasurer Josh Hill said there’s also the unknown to consider, that this project might have a trickle-down effect.
“You have the reappraisals and reevaluations on the other buildings around it so while you might not see an increase on this one, you might see the other properties increase because you kick started this one,” he said. “You could more than make up on the surrounding properties.”
The abatement will head to Lorain City Council for final approval once members return from the annual August recess.