The Ohio State University Offering Incentives for Employees to Move to the Near East Side

Originally published: Columbus Business First  Apr 6, 2017, 12:34pm EDT Updated Apr 7, 2017, 1:54pm EDT

Ohio State University will offer financial assistance for employees to move near its Near East Side hospital in a bid to improve homeownership rates in the area.

The Near East Side incentive program piggybacks on a similar program offered by the university in Weinland Park, which is near the main Columbus campus, but the new incentive is a third higher.

The deal covers an area near University Hospital East and CarePoint East, with boundaries covering Hamilton Avenue to the west, East Broad Street to the south, Woodland Avenue to the east and Leonard Avenue to the north.

Assistance includes an $8,000, no-interest forgivable loan can be used for a downpayment, closing costs or reducing the principal amount of a home in the Near East Side.

The city’s Jobs Growth Tax Incentive will fund the program with $500,000. Ohio State faculty and staff with at least a 50 percent full-time equivalency are eligible for the funding, as long as the purchased house or condominium is their main residence.

Student employees, lecturers, graduate and post-doctoral students and Wexner Medical Center residents don’t qualify for the benefit.

Partners Achieving Community Transformation, or PACT, along with the Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s human resources office worked to replicate the Weinland Park program for the east side. PACT, founded by Ohio State, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and the city, will administer the program, pending board of trustees approval this week.

The Weinland Park incentive offered by Ohio State real-estate subsidiary Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment has offered $6,000 for the last two years.

The Weinland Park OSU program has awarded 11 incentives since 2015, when they raised the incentive to $6,000.

Homeownership in the near east side is at about 26 percent. Ohio State sees raising that rate “as a prerequisite to sustaining long-term improvements in the area,” according to the proposal to start the program.

Employees must stay in the residence for at least five years, otherwise they must immediately pay the prorated balance to Ohio State.