Cleveland Declared America’s Hottest City

Cleveland nightlife

On the backs of several prominent victories, Forbes contributor Peter Lane Taylor recently declared Cleveland “America’s Hottest City” and I couldn’t agree more. Sure, there is a trendy and thriving downtown nightlife. And yes, we’ve had some impressive wins with our major sports teams and we were even on the world stage hosting the RNC convention. But Cleveland’s greatest achievement is not just its recent victories that has helped put this great city back on the map, but the investment dollars that are hard at work revitalizing the city.

Like other major cities along the rust belt, the loss of manufacturing and related industries had taken its toll by the end of the 20th century.  Abandoned buildings throughout the city gave way to vandalism, graffiti and other criminal activity. But even has the population went into a steep decline, the city never lost hope and was determined to give itself a makeover, one neighborhood at a time.

One of those abandoned buildings was the once thriving Joseph & Feiss garment factory in the Stockyards neighborhood that closed in 1998. During Joseph & Feiss’s 150-year history it was one of Cleveland’s largest employers employing over 2,000 people at times. The old factory building was torn down, however, the 5-story office building remains on the site.   It was recently acquired by Menlo Park Academy in a $17 million project to redevelop the building as its new home. Menlo is an approved Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) partner, and is the only tuition-free community school in Ohio for K-8 gifted learners. Residents in Cleveland are given priority for admission. “We are excited about Menlo Park’s growth, which creates an expansion of opportunities for Cleveland’s gifted students,” said Stephanie Klupinski, J.D., Executive Director, CMSD Charter Schools.

Although Cleveland is still a work in progress, people are starting to move back into downtown. “So considering where Cleveland has been, to now being called the hottest city in America, is really a reflection of more than a decade of progress,” says Victor J. Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert.Stay tuned. There is much more to come.

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More Jobs Coming to Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Make no mistake about it Ohio is on a tear. And there is even more good news for Ohioans to celebrate. Governor John R. Kasich recently announced that with the approval of several economic development projects, more jobs are coming to Ohio.  The six economic development projects are a result of the culminated efforts of several state agencies working together for Ohioans.

The projects were made possible through a tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority (OTCA) that reviewed proposals from JobsOhio and its regional partners. This effort will see the creation of 1,318 new jobs and retain 1,354 jobs throughout the state. These jobs are expected to generate $63 million in additional payroll revenue and $47 million in new investments. Some of the companies that will be adding employees include Magretech in Belleview which expects to create 35 full-time positions, Spirex Corporation in Austintown Township with 143 full-time positions and Medpace in Cincinnatti with 650 full-time positions, to name a few.

Also, more than 1,000 new jobs are expected to be coming to Dayton. The Miami Valley has been posting impressive job numbers lately ratcheting the jobless rate in that area down a notch to 4.6 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

And it was the result of hard work between JobsOhio, Team NEO, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) and the City of Brecksville that helped to bring Pison Steam Solutions to Northeast Ohio. “We’re pleased to work with our regional and local partners in bringing this investment and job-creation project to Greater Cleveland,” said Joe Roman, GCP President and CEO. The research and manufacturing facility is expected to add 130 jobs over the next three years generating an $8.5 million annual payroll. Pison chose Northeast Ohio due in part to its proximity to customers and suppliers along with an attractive real estate opportunity. This combined with a skilled local workforce sealed the deal.

As impressive as these job additions are, there is much more that needs to be done. As of September 2016, the preliminary unemployment rate in Ohio is 4.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is up from 4.4 percent in October 2015, the lowest point of the year, but down from its highest point in June 2015 when the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent. “This illustrates the importance of the State of Ohio to continue working with local and regional leaders through public and private partnerships to bring jobs and prosperity to all corners of Ohio,” said Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert.

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Tourism is Big Business in Ohio

Ohio tourist attractions

When thinking about tourist destinations, Ohio may not immediately come to mind. But tourism is big business in Ohio and its growing. According to a report released by TourismOhio, Ohio has been seeing a steady rise in the number of visitors in the last five years. In 2015, the state welcomed more than 207 million visitors, a healthy 14.4 percent increase since 2011. This has propelled Ohio tourism into a $42 billion industry.

“The rise in tourism has helped to significantly improve economic conditions throughout the state,” noted Victor J. Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. In fact, tourism-related jobs make up significant numbers in Ohio’s job market. Research shows that there is one tourism-related job for every 13 salaried jobs in Ohio, says Christine Pleva, Lima/Allen County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director. For instance, in 2014, there were 412,000 tourism related jobs and now, there are 420,000 jobs, based on a survey conducted by TourismOhio.

So what’s driving these impressive tourism numbers? It’s a combination of in-state travelers, corporate meetings and conventions as well as visitors from nearby states. There are also a number of highly rated attractions in Ohio that visitors want to see. The incredibly popular Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland is a top draw. And visitors from around the world come to ride some of the world’s tallest and thrilling roller coasters at Cedar Point.

Ohio also boasts a number of highly rated museums including Cincinnati Museum Center, which is located in a historic 1930s art deco building, and the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art, which was founded in 1916. Other places like Fountain Square (Cincinnati), Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Stan Hywet Hall and Garden, and Hocking Hills State Park are also contributing to the rise in tourism.

Ohio visitors are big spenders. As an example, the roughly 20 percent of visitors who stay in Ohio on an overnight trip will spend $354 on average during their stay.  Also, a recent TourismOhio survey discovered that over 70 percent of visitors are spending their money on “experiences” rather than on souvenirs.

In 2015, TourismOhio unveiled its new “Ohio. Find it here.” logo and slogan as part of its branding Ohio as a top tourist destination. Approximately, $6 million will be spent in 2016 to increase in-state tourism as well as attract visitors from nearby states.

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Cleveland Browns Feeling the Pressure for a Win This Season

Cleveland Browns fans

It was Stipe Miocic, Cleveland-based mixed martial artist and UFC Heavyweight Champion, who first put the city of Cleveland on quite the roll. Born in Euclid, Ohio in 1982, his success in May 2016 was quickly followed by a host of fortunes from the Lake Erie Monsters, the Cavs, and most recently, the Cleveland Indians. With these successes the pressure is on for the Cleveland Browns this season. The team is young, probably younger than most opponents in the NFL, and this has made the expectation even higher.

Although the team is far from its peak the high expectations for Cleveland is enough to inject the motivation that will help propel the Browns to greater heights. According to Sashi Brown, executive vice president for the Cleveland Browns, it takes time to develop and start winning titles just like it took the Indians and even the Cavs. So, with hard work, good organization and, of course, motivation, the Browns will undoubtedly make it. But the team is so far 0-8 for the season.  And with the season at its halfway mark, fans are hoping that they will turn things around soon.

The Browns hope that this pressure from the media and fans does not impact negatively on the players but rather the players become motivated by it. After all, there is nothing like the pressure of having won zero games. The players desperately want to win. They need a win. This season, the Browns added 14 players and went further to strategically sign veteran leaders through the free-agency period. Also, the team has an experienced head coach in Hue Jackson who is accustomed to working with young talents at the start of the season.

According to Jackson, there is no science in football; thus, every player should stay focused and the pressure around should not mess with their mindset. “They should strive to win every game and relieve some of the pressure emanating from the media and fans,” noted Victor Bierman, Ohio lawyer and business expert. The players understand their coach and know that it’s all about work once they step into the Cleveland Browns camp. With Jackson as their head coach and young talented players who are more than willing to deliver, the Browns have the tools to right the ship. At this point, fans are just hoping for a win.

Image Credit: Erik Drost | Flickr