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Ohio Architect Elected to American Institute of Architect’s National Board of Directors

Bruce Sekanick, AIA, OAA, is AIA National’s Secretary Treasurer for 2017-2018

Columbus, Ohio – June 7, 2016 – Ohio architect Bruce W. Sekanick, AIA, OAA, was elected 2017-2018 Secretary of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Board of Directors. Sekanick was elected at AIA’s 2016 National Convention in Philadelphia last month and will take office in December.  Sekanick is a firm principal at Phillips/Sekanick Architects in Warren.

The American Institute of Architects is the leading professional membership association for licensed architects and emerging professionals; and serves as the voice of the profession. AIA Ohio represents more than 2,000 licensed architects and associate architects.

In this role, Sekanick will oversee the administrative process of the organization and will be responsible for maintaining official records and documents.  He will also address membership and chapter or component accreditation and chartering; and, in consultation with the Institute’s legal counsel, oversee the election of AIA directors and officers. Additionally, he will actively work with the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on reviewing proposed resolutions and changes to the Bylaws and Rules of the Board. 

“Bruce brings a wealth of experience to this office as he has served in many roles at the state and national level,” said Gregg Strollo, AIA Ohio President. “We are extremely proud of Bruce and this accomplishment and we know that he will make a positive impact on AIA’s membership.”

Sekanick is currently the chair of ArchiPAC, the Institute’s Political Action Committee. He previously served as chair of the AIA National Strategic Planning Committee, was regional representative to the Strategic Council for 2015 and regional director on the Board of Directors from 2013 to 2014, both for the Ohio Valley Region. He was also president of AIA Ohio in 2010 and president of AIA Eastern Ohio in 1995.

Sekanick received his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from Kent State University along with a Certificate in Urban Studies and Planning.  He also completed an Executive Certificate program in Leadership and Management in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame.

BBS Issues Memo re: Temporary Door Locking Devices

On May 13 the Board of Building Standards issued a new BBS Memo regarding temporary door locking devices.  The memo is attached HERE.

If you have questions related to information contained in the Memo, please contact the Board’s technical staff at 614-644-2613.

Capital Construction Bill Awaits Kasich's Signature

The state's Capital Construction Bill, SB 310, passed the House May 4 (89-1) and now goes to the Governor's desk for his expected signature.  CLICK HERE for a summary of included projects.

Senate Blocks Addition of PLA Agreements to SB 152

An attempt to ban the use of project labor agreements in certain construction projects hit a wall in the Senate May 4, when members overwhelmingly rejected House language that would have put the new limits in place.

Senators voted 25-8 to reject the House amendments to legislation (SB 152) that also blocks public authorities from requiring a certain percentage of architects and workers from the geographic area of the project.

The Senate's concurrence vote came shortly after the House voted 51-42 to advance the controversial plan following extensive debate.

The bill could now head to a conference committee. What appears more likely, however, is that members will opt to address the residency issue - sans PLA language - through companion legislation (HB 180) advanced by the Senate Government Oversight & Reform committee.

The General Assembly will likely act on residency requirements before summer break.

PLA Ban added to Bill Outlawing Local Architect & Contractor Hiring Quotas

 A bill that would ban local hiring quotas became "Senate Bill 5 light," opponents said, after lawmakers added a provision Tuesday targeting cities' use of project labor agreements.

Democrats warned Senate Bill 152 could trigger a court battle and a worker-led referendum akin to the 2011 fight over Senate Bill 5, which would have curtailed collective bargaining for public employees.

The bill wouldn't outright ban project labor agreements, which are collective bargaining agreements negotiated between cities, unions, and contractors before the project begins. But it bans cities from requiring or prohibiting use of the agreements as a condition for bidding on a project using state funding.

Supporters say the provision levels the playing field between union and non-union contractors. Opponents say the language is yet another way lawmakers are hurting cities' ability to do what's best for their residents and would likely be found unconstitutional.

The Ohio House and Senate have passed companion bills designed to wipe out rules in Cleveland, Akron and elsewhere requiring that a certain amount of local workers be hired for large, publicly funded construction projects.

Supporters say

Local hiring: Senate Bill 152 would ban local laws requiring a portion of construction workers be hired locally.

The bill's supporters, including the Ohio Contractors Association, say the quotes make it harder for contractors to hire the best workers and disadvantage Ohio companies. Out-of-state companies don't have to meet residency quotas, which has become an issue in Southwest Ohio where companies can hire workers from Kentucky.

Project labor agreements: Project labor agreements are pre-hire agreements that set the terms for hiring, time line for completion, method for resolving disputes, and other factors that might delay or damage a project for all contractors on the project.

Project labor agreements are optional, but language added to the bill Tuesday would prevent cities from requiring them for state-funded projects. Rep. Ron Hood, the Ashville Republican who sponsored the amendment, said the change will ensure projects go to the lowest, most responsible bid.

Opponents say

Local hiring: Cleveland, Akron, and other cities already opposed the bill. Cleveland's "Fannie Lewis" law, named after the late Cleveland city councilwoman, requires local residents perform 20 percent of work on all city construction projects that cost $100,000 or more. Akron requires contractors bidding on its $1.4 billion sewer project to hire half of their workers locally by 2018.

Cleveland officials have said the quotas ensure there is work for people in job training or apprenticeship programs.

Project labor agreements: Rep. Nick Celebrezze, a Parma Democrat, said the agreements protect skilled workers and ensure projects are completed on time. Celebrezze said Goodyear, Honda, and other companies use private sector project labor agreements because they are beneficial to the developer.

"We hear from the majority all the time that government should be run more like a business," Celebrezze said. "Well, here's our chance."

The Ohio Supreme Court in 2002 struck down a law banning project labor agreements. House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, a Dayton Democrat, said Senate Bill 152 would likely be unconstitutional and violate cities' home rule authority.

Strahorn said cities should be allowed to factor in other attributes while bidding out projects and might not always want to go with the "lowest common denominator."

"We are doing thing after thing in Columbus to make it harder for cities and make it harder for people to get ahead and now we want to interfere with local folks handling their own local issue that we've exacerbated," Strahorn said.

Next steps

Senate Bill 152 cleared a House committee Tuesday and could receive a full House vote as early as Wednesday. If passed by the House, the Senate will need to agree to the changes before it can go to Gov. John Kasich.

AIA Ohio Testifies on behalf of Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Robert D. Loversidge, FAIA, President and CEO of Schooley Caldwell, Columbus, testified April 28 before Ohio General Assembly's 2020 Tax Study Commission on behalf of Ohio's Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

 Following is his testimony:

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit (OHPTC) has been a significant economic development tool since it was created by the Ohio General Assembly in 2006. According to the Ohio Development Services Agency it has directly benefitted 398 historic structures, in 52 Ohio communities, representing $4.4 billion in redevelopment investment.

OHPTC is an efficiently-run, ultimately fair, and effective incentive program that we believe should be retained or expanded by the General Assembly. Several reasons for this include: 

  •  Incentives are needed to encourage property owners and developers to pursue renovation of historically significant structures, especially in distressed downtown areas, where these structures are likely to be underutilized or vacant.
  •  The OHPTC program has a proven track record of being revenue-positive for the State. For every $1 million in awarded historic preservation tax credits, the return on investment is $6.7 million - this according to studies conducted by Cleveland State University. This report also notes that for every $ 1 million in credits, the return is $8 million in construction spending, $32 million in operating impact, 83 construction jobs and 299 operations jobs. This information is available on the Ohio Development Services Agency's web site.
  • The Ohio program requires periodic cost-benefit analyses to check in on the effectiveness of the program. A recent cost-benefit analysis involving a project in Warren, Ohio demonstrated that 31% of the state's investment of $630,800 in historic tax credits was recovered before the tax credit was awarded. One-hundred percent (100%) of the state's investment will be recovered in new revenues by the fourth year of operation. By year 10 the building will have generated additional state and local tax revenues of $494,000 in excess of the amount of the credit, or a return on investment of 80%, and by year 15 the building will have generated approximately $839,000 in new tax revenues, representing a return on investment of 130%. 
  •  One significant advantage of the OHPTC program is that it is totally integrated/coordinated with the companion Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, creating a powerful and complementary program that is administered concurrently and according to the same set of rules. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office (at the Ohio History Connection), using primarily Federal funds, reviews projects for both programs at the same time, saving the state money that might be needed to administer  separated programs. Owners get the advantage of receiving the 25% State tax credit and the 20% Federal credit - a powerful incentive to re-use our historic resources. 
  •  OHPTC rewards only successfully completed projects. Unlike other programs, the tax credit certification comes only after the approved design is documented to have been completed. Uncompleted or poorly completed projects do not receive the benefit.
  •  Renovation of historic buildings creates more jobs than equivalent new construction, and it is "greener."Economist Donovan Rypkema points out that new construction is about 50% labor and 50% materials, whereas restoration and renovation can be as much as 75% labor - that is, for every dollar spent you get twice as much local employment, and use about half the resources.

Many Ohio businesses have benefited from this creative incentive program, and it has been an effective tool in our state's efforts to beat back the recent recession. During this period, developers and owners who found themselves unable to pursue "normal" development paths to financing suddenly "discovered" OHPTC! My small firm has completed seven historic tax credit projects since 2008, ranging in scale from a small scale courthouse square project in Newark to the adaptive use of the 45 story LeVeque Tower in Columbus, and from a burned out building that was vacant for ten years in Chillicothe to the adaptive use of the Old Ohio School for the Deaf as a private high school for underprivileged kids. It is fair to say that none of these projects would have been possible without OHPTC.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, we commend your efforts to examine all portions of Ohio's tax structure to examine better ways of doing things. OHPTC is a highly successful, extremely effective, efficiently-run, revenue positive program of the State of Ohio. It creates high-paying jobs - more than new building construction - in communities, big and small, all over our state. 

It is not broken . . . please retain this very important economic development tool.

Mr. Loversidge is an award-winning historic preservation architect, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, recipient of the AIA Ohio Gold Medal, and an Ohio Commodore. He has served as Ohio's Architect of the Capitol since 1989.

Downtown Redevelopment Bill On Way to Governor (Sub. HB 233)

The House of Representatives sent the Downtown Redevelopment Bill (Sub. HB 233), to Governor Kasich for his signature following concurrence in Senate amendments.

Sponsored by Rep., Kurt Schuring the bill is designed to assist in redeveloping strategic areas within Ohio’s downtowns. The bill uses as its core a historic preservation project that qualifies under the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit. By way of background, the Historic Preservation Tax Credit went into effect in 2007 and has been widely successful throughout Ohio in restoring historic buildings. Many of those restoration projects have been in downtowns. Sub. H.B. 233 is intended to compliment those projects by offering new economic development tools that will have a synergistic effect on a designated area within a downtown and will provide a critical mass of activity that can support a place where people can live, work, and play.

The legislation allows a municipality to establish a Downtown Redevelopment District in ten-acre increments. The district must have a historic preservation project in it in order for the district to be formed. Up to 70% of the additional property taxes from the appreciated value of the historic preservation project can be diverted to pay for promotion of activity within the Downtown Redevelopment District 
and revolving loans to other businesses in the district, infrastructure improvements, and 
debt service on construction loans. 
These dollars will be used to support other economic activity in the district and will serve as a building block to the revitalization of the downtown as a whole. 

The legislation also allows for the establishment of an Innovation District to be established with in the Downtown Redevelopment District. The Innovation District will use a 100 gigabyte broadband connection to facilitate IT research and development in the form of business incubators and accelerators. These types of districts have been on the rise in recent years, attracting leading-edge businesses and the talented workers that go with it. The districts will foster a paradoxical alliance of combining old buildings with new high-tech job opportunities that create a sense of place that is very attractive to young people. 

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