Amid Downtown Resurgence, Columbus, OH Extends Property Tax Break

In 2013, the city of Columbus left $8.3 million in property taxes on the table as part of a tax break intended to increase the number of people living downtown. How did it respond? By extending the tax break.
March 24, 2014, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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“The Columbus City Council late last year quietly extended the break just as it was about to expire for the earliest users” reports Jim Weiker of a property tax break for homeowners in the city’s downtown. “The move will allow many Downtown property owners to continue to save thousands of dollars annually in property taxes for up to five more years. Buyers of new condominiums will get the break for up to 15 years.”

The city’s extension of the tax break comes during a time of expansion for the downtown residential market—the kind of resurgence it was originally intended to inspire. The city created the tax break in 2002 to draw a targeted 10,000 people to live downtown by 2012. Although the city fell short of the goal (7,000 now live in downtown, nearly twice as many as in 2002), many people have moved downtown and more supply is on the way. “More than 2,700 apartments and condos have been built since 2002, and 600 apartments are under construction, with 850 more on the drawing board,” reports Weiker.

Although the city passed up $8.3 million in potential property tax revenue in 2013, it sees the money lost in property tax revenue as paid back in savings from the efficiencies of living downtown, where it’s cheaper for the city to provide water, sewer and emergency services than in new developments in outlying areas.

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Published on Sunday, March 23, 2014 in The Columbus Dispatch
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