Looking Back on 2023 at The Port
As we kick off what is sure to be another busy year at The Port, let's take a minute to review some of the notable milestones, projects, and events that shaped our year in 2023.
High Grain Brewing announced its expansion into Springfield Township. The Port played a key role in making this project possible by helping to secure Ohio Department of Development funding to demolish the interior of the former Brentwood Bowl to be repurposed into a brewery.
The Hamilton County Landbank welcomed a new member to its Board of Directors with the appointment of Scott Taylor, Senior Vice President and Commercial Real Estate Relationship Manager for Huntington National Bank. Mr. Taylor has more than two decades of experience managing commercial real estate, banking, and lending transactions throughout Hamilton County.
The Port continued its dedication to mentoring the next generation of leaders through its involvement in Adopt A Class. Our team loves spending time with the students at Oyler School! In February, our Adopt A Class evaluated some vacant properties around their neighborhood and offered solutions for how they would bring them to their highest and best use. We adore our future developers.
The Port was a proud sponsor of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's 2023 Making Black History Campaign. From business owners to social innovators to elected officials, all make Cincinnati a promising place to live and work. We loved celebrating your achievements at the Annual Dinner.
The Port discussed the importance of “Invisible Infrastructure” at the 2023 Neighborhood Summit. The afternoon panel discussion looked at the multifaceted connection between healthy neighborhoods and a healthy real estate market, the systemic issues faced by neighborhoods experiencing disinvested real estate, and how communities are fighting back. Panelists included:
- Liz Eddy, Director of Residential Development, The Port
- Carol Gibbs, President, Mt. Auburn Community Development Corporation
- Nick Johnson, Managing Partner, B.O.C. Development
- Jake Hodesh, Local Developer
Philip Denning spoke at the Ohio Statehouse, providing testimony to the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee on the CARE Homes Initiative and institutional investors in the housing market. Philip thanked Senator Louis W. Blessing, R-District 8, for introducing SB 76, which seeks to address the problem of institutional investor activity in the single-family housing market, and leading the effort to find wide-ranging solutions to combat this practice in Ohio. Prior to introducing this legislation, Senator Blessing met with The Port to learn more about the CARE Homes initiative, and to discuss the rigorous research around institutional investor impact in neighborhoods across Hamilton County. This research ultimately led The Port to purchase the portfolio of 194 single-family homes that was formerly owned by an out-of-town investment firm. The Port looks forward to continued conversations with legislators to advance our work to preserve and increase Greater Cincinnati's housing inventory and create affordable homeownership opportunities for local families.
Rookwood Properties held a ribbon cutting and open house for The Rye, an adaptive reuse of an office building in Downtown Cincinnati into apartments. The Port provided public financing to support the project.
Laura Brunner spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for Emerge Manufacturing’s new 150,000 SF facility at the former Cincinnati Gardens site. The PPE manufacturer plans to employ 100 people.
The Port joined partners from Pennrose, Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF), City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Development Fund, and others for a groundbreaking on the Lincoln & Gilbert project in Walnut Hills. The Port and Landbank have been involved in this project for nearly a decade, and we are proud to partner with Pennrose and the WHRF to help bring new affordable housing options to the Walnut Hills community.
Members of ULI Cincinnati’s REAL (Real Estate Accelerator Lab) program presented final development projects to a panel of judges, including Deborah Robb, The Port’s Director of the HURC and Residential Sales. Their projects focused on Landbank properties, and Deborah announced the winning project team at the event.
Laura Brunner presented at the 2023 Think Tank on Equity and Inclusion on April 27. Members of Port staff also attended the event with some of the Queen City Developers to network and learn more about how each of us can use our power and resources to measurably advance racial equity in our community.
Laura Brunner attended the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference and participated in a panel discussion on Accelerating Community Infrastructure and Equitable Economic Development.
Philip Denning served as a panelist at the kickoff of the Red Cross Resilient Community Project. A number of Port staff attended the event, and The Port continued its involvement in the project in June when Bill Fischer and Saram Waraich represented The Port at the Red Cross Resilient Communities “Ready for Summer Rally” held in Evanston.
The Port held a Real Estate Forum in partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce. We had a full house for our Q&A panel featuring Todd Castellini, Jilson Daniels, and Philip Denning.
The Port was proud to act as a sponsor along with the City of Cincinnati for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel. The panel convened a group of national experts across multiple industries to provide unbiased expert advice and specific recommendations for improvement. We helped kick off the panel with a bus tour in neighborhoods along the I-75 corridor. The group spent more than two days learning about our region's growth potential and provided recommendations.
The Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC) held its annual Business Opportunity Expo, designed to help connect MBE member skillsets and trades with corporate member needs. The Port was a proud sponsor of this event, and Jilson Daniels and Jen Lintz represented The Port at the event.
In partnership with the Milken Institute’s 10,000 Communities Initiative, The Port hosted national thought leaders to generate investment for job creation to drive the growth of our region. Staff from the Biden administration and local leaders provided insights on how Hamilton County can recapture its manufacturing prominence and make industrial sites attractive again for advanced manufacturing jobs. The Port served as the anchor organization for the morning session and welcomed visitors to Cincinnati with a cocktail reception at the American Sign Museum.
Urban League webinar series - series in partnership with the Urban League sharing opportunities to partner and work with The Port.
Todd Castellini joined Mayor Aftab Pureval, City Manager Sheryl Long, Councilmember Meeka Owens, and community leaders to highlight millions of dollars of grants allocated to clean up the Beekman and Spring Grove Corridors. The Port received an $800,000 grant from the US EPA in May. That funding, paired with ODOD dollars and the city's $7MM allocation towards our industrial work, is helping us restore regional brownfield sites back to higher and better uses.
Hannibal Strategic Consulting Group shared the findings from the MBE Utilization Study launched at our Town Hall held in October 2022. The Port, Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, HGC Construction, and Turner Construction Company sponsored the study. Stay tuned for the final study findings.
The Cincinnati Business Courier held its annual "Best Places to Work" award event, and The Port was honored as a finalist for the second consecutive year among ~70 finalists selected from over 150 applicants. Jilson Daniels, Mikhaela Groh, Brady Melton, Nick Stone, Saram Waraich, and Andy Fisher showcased their pride and commitment to The Port by wearing Port-pride gear and cheering on our team.
The residential team held an open house at the recently completed single-family homes in Madisonville for neighborhood residents. The homes were funded in part by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
The Port was a presenting sponsor for the City of Cincinnati’s inaugural Black Developers Conference along with the Cincinnati Realtist Association and Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF). The Port’s Jilson Daniels, Philip Denning, Melissa Johnson, and Bill Fischer presented to kick off the second day of the conference and multiple members of The Port team staffed a booth with information about the organization.
Philip Denning spoke at the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Housing at the United Way of Greater Cincinnati alongside local leaders from the City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF), and the Model Group to give testimony on the state of housing in our region.
Philip Denning spoke on behalf of The Port at the demolition kickoff for the former Lincoln Heights High School. Speakers shared memories from the building’s time as a high school, YMCA, and civic center and looked ahead to the property’s future as a new community hub for Lincoln Heights.
The Port team came together for an afternoon of music, history, and unity at the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame. It was a day filled with laughter, learning, and the bond that makes our team unstoppable.
On the front steps of a CARE Home in Price Hill, we announced our partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Realtist Association to make homeownership more accessible and achievable in our region. Laura Brunner and Philip Denning were joined by Hamilton County Commission President Alicia Reece, President of the Greater Cincinnati Realtist Association Darrick Dansby, and National Community Lending Strategy Manager with Fifth Third Bank Nikki Bialka.
For the first time since 2016, Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati published the ninth edition of its book to honor and recognize influential African Americans making strides in various industries throughout our region. The Port sponsored the return of the select 200-member list.
At a news conference in Camp Washington, The Port announced it has secured funding from the city and county that will allow us to acquire the historic Crosley Building. Speakers included Laura Brunner, Alicia Reece, President of the Hamilton County Commission, and Sheryl Long, City Manager of the City of Cincinnati.
O’Rourke Wrecking and The Port hosted a tire buy back event at the former Swifton Commons site. In total, nearly 2,000 tires were collected, or about 25 tons of rubber, to be recycled into a number of uses, including mulch for playground surfaces or landscaping, or using the ground up rubber to make artificial turf safer.