By Cincinnati Business Courier staff
Even in the middle of a pandemic, developers and businesses remain bullish on the Greater Cincinnati region.
While a number of projects were put on hold in 2020, many others were announced to take their place. The Business Courier looked at 20 projects that will reshape the region, including five that will have the greatest impact in 2021. We selected these projects not just by size or dollar amount, but by the level of change they will bring to the region.
Three of the projects are within the city of Cincinnati. But there are a number of developments outside the region’s largest city that are expected to create long-lasting impact.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital plans major College Hill expansion
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is making a $90 million move to improve mental and behavioral health services for children and teens in College Hill.
Construction on a 164,000-square-foot building at its facility at 5642 Hamilton Ave. is expected to begin by spring 2021. By the time the project wraps up in late 2023 or early 2024, Cincinnati Children’s will be able to offer patients a larger suite of private rooms and more therapeutic spaces for targeted treatment.
The new building will include inpatient and outpatient services. All inpatient rooms will be private, said Dr. Joe Luria, vice president of mental health operations at Cincinnati Children’s. Private rooms offer several advantages, including increased family visitation and appropriate participation in care. When a patient has a roommate, that’s more difficult to do, Luria said. Private rooms also provide patients a place to process through their acute mental health crisis in addition to daily programming that occurs.
This is the third addition since the facility opened in 2002. Children’s said the expansion will create new jobs, but it’s still too soon to say how many. About 500 employees currently work at the College Hill campus.
In February, Cincinnati Children’s received its largest-ever donation from the Convalescent Hospital for Children, a local health care nonprofit, to cover a third of the project cost. Officials plan to raise another $30 million while operating revenues will cover the remainder.
Messer Construction has been hired as the project’s general contractor. GBBN Architects will handle the design.
Clifton Heights Short Vine Development
One of the largest private investments in the city of Cincinnati will play a big role in reshaping a neighborhood next to the University of Cincinnati.
Trinitas Ventures and Crawford Hoying have formed a joint venture to develop the District at Clifton Heights. Along both sides of Straight Street just west of UC’s Uptown campus, Trinitas and Crawford Hoying plan to build more than 850 student housing beds, over 150 hotel rooms, 170 senior housing units, up to 400 apartments, 30,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 600 new parking spaces. The total investment likely will be more than $420 million.
The project replaces the former Deaconess Hospital, which closed its emergency room nearly a decade ago. Trinitas purchased the former hospital and additional property in fall 2017, initially developing the Deacon, a student housing development with more than 1,000 beds.
When fully built out, the District could be home to about 3,200 residents. That’s thousands of new customers for nearby bars and restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses in the area.
The developers are now working on drafting a development agreement with the city of Cincinnati for public financing. They will then need to receive approval for the next phase from the City Planning Commission.
The goal is to begin construction on the next step by early summer 2021. The development team is expecting a full build-out of the site by the end of 2025.
Former Norwood industrial site to become mixed-use Factory 52
It was just over a year ago that PLK Communities acquired the massive former U.S. Playing Card site at 4590 Beech St. in Norwood and since then it has unveiled a final design and a name for the 21-acre site: Factory 52. Construction is expected to start in 2021, with the first apartments opening in later in the year.
“During the demolition we were able to keep the clock tower, the original factory building, the original cafeteria and the smokestack. These will all be incorporated into the new development,” said Nick Lingenfelter, PLK’s vice president of development.
Plans for the $100 million mixed-use development’s first phase include 325 apartments, a brewery/taproom, parking garage, park space, a food innovation hub with up to 18 vendors, retail and amenities. The food hall is expected to help draw office tenants.
The new, contemporary buildings will include masonry and metal, an homage to the site’s industrial history. An iconic clock tower will remain as its own standalone building and a central point in the development. It will have a viewing deck.
The project’s second and third phases will include two office buildings along the highway, an additional garage and a 100,000-square-foot mixed-use building, with development coming two to three years from now.
U.S. Playing Card left the property in 2009 for Boone County, and the site has been vacant ever since.
MSA Design is the lead project architect, while HGC Construction is the construction manager.
Uptown Properties planning $50 million residential project in Mount Auburn
Uptown Rental Properties is developing a $50 million residential complex called Bigelow on the southern tip of Mount Auburn.
“This project is a further recognition of the need to connect Uptown and downtown,” said Dan Schimberg, president of Uptown Rental Properties. “We recognized years ago that you can’t connect those two major employment centers without going through Mount Auburn. It’s the key to that connectivity.”
Uptown is building Bigelow on 3.5 acres on Bigelow Street just south of Dorchester Avenue, a few blocks from Christ Hospital. It’s one of the highest sites in Hamilton County and sits on a hilltop that offers panoramic views.
“Imagine being on this hilltop and being able to look all the way from Mount Adams to Mount Airy,” Schmiberg said.
The development, due to be finished in 2023, will feature 185 units. It sits atop a parking garage, with 272 parking spaces available. It will include a rooftop deck, pool, dog park, business center and storage facility.
It’s part of a bigger $100 million investment Uptown Rental Properties has committed to make in the neighborhood.
“Mount Auburn is an exciting neighborhood and this development leverages the assets, like amazing views, that make the neighborhood so special,” Schimberg said.
Nestle Purina pet food facility brings $550 million investment to Clermont
Nestle Purina Petcare Co. wasted no time following its October announcement that it was constructing a $550 million dry pet food facility on 193 acres in Clermont County. The company had broken ground within a month and construction is expected to ramp up in 2021 as the factory enters operation in 2023.
The Purina factory is expected to ramp up to a workforce of 300 by the year after it opens, but company officials say they expect to start hiring in 2022. Those jobs are expected to generate $12.5 million in new payroll, with an average hourly wage of $20.
The facility, which will take up 1.2 million square feet, 150,000 of which will be office space, is being built on land sold by the Clermont County CIC Inc., a group created to foster economic development for the region. The shovel-readiness of the site, how they were able to break ground so quickly, was part of why Purina chose it, REDI Cincinnati CEO Kimm Lauterbach said.
“Site availability is a crucial part of our five-year strategy for the region and Purina’s investment will serve as a prime example as we look for other opportunities to prepare sites moving forward,” she said.
15 more signature projects
- Liberty & Elm: An $80 million mixed-use development planned at the intersection of Liberty and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine. Kean Ventures and Buckingham Cos. plan to build 306 apartments, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, making it one of the largest private investments in the historic neighborhood. The developers are looking to start on the project early in 2021.
- Sam Adams Brewery expansion: Boston Beer Co. is investing $85 million into expanding its brewery at 1625 Central Parkway. Already under construction, the project will include two new canning lines and packaging equipment that will allow the brewer to quadruple production locally adding more than 100 jobs. The entire expansion is expected to be complete in mid-2021.
- Court Street overhaul: The city of Cincinnati and 3CDC are working on major changes to Court Street, aiming to provide more space for pedestrians, restaurants, activities and festivals. An $8.8 million widening of sidewalks and creation of a pedestrian promenade will be combined with 3CDC’s $14 million Court Street South project, creating 30 residential units and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.
- Ovation: With its music venue essentially complete, the next phases of this massive, mixed-use development in Newport are gearing up. The next pieces are a planned Homewood Suites hotel with rooftop bar and an office building. Both of these will be built above the 550-car parking garage that was part of the indoor/outdoor concert venue. The levee retaining wall also is under construction, as Corporex looks to build a 2,500-space garage that will serve as the platform for additional development.
- Whiskey River Apartments: A long-planned luxury apartment project from Flaherty & Collins Properties will add density to downtown Lawrenceburg. The project will add 150 high-end apartments to the banks of the Ohio River. Whiskey River is expected to bring new residents with strong disposable income to the Indiana city. The project is expect to create $25 million in economic impact. Construction started in October.
- Montgomery Quarter: A $150 million mixed-use development in the heart of Montgomery, work is well underway on the first phase. Neyer Properties, Brandicorp and Casto are partnering to bring office, luxury apartments, high-end condos, restaurants and a boutique hotel to the site. Work on garages started in December and the roundabout that will lead into the project is expected to be complete in spring 2021.
- Liberty Flats: Casto plans to build 356 apartments next to Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The developer is expected to break ground on the project in spring 2021. Liberty Township officials have said the project is expected to bring new energy into the adjacent Liberty Center, a retail and residential mixed-use development that opened in 2015.
- Gallery at Kenwood: Construction is well underway at Gallery at Kenwood, a $150 million mixed-use development across from Kenwood Towne Centre. The 7-acre site will be home to 248 luxury apartments, a 130-room hotel and two first-floor restaurants. Capital Investment Group is behind this portion of the project, with Clous Road Partners planning to develop a 130,000-square-foot office building as part of the project.
- College Hill Station: Pennrose has started the redevelopment of 7.5 acres along Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road in College Hill. The $30 million project will include apartments, street-level retail space and about 3 acres designed to become 33 single-family homes. The development is expected to help increase walkability in the neighborhood and diversify housing options in this part of Cincinnati.
- Tapestry Ridge: Arlington Properties plans to redevelop the 38-acre former Northern Kentucky University Covington campus into a 267-unit luxury apartment community. Construction has started on the project, which will offer unique views of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. The development is expected to wrap up in the second quarter of 2022.
- Clocktower Apartments: Hills Properties is working to bring the Residences at Clocktower, a 326-unit apartment community, to a piece of undeveloped land near West Chester Township’s the Square @ Union Centre. Construction of the apartments is expected to take 24 to 27 months to complete, with the first residents moving in by mid-2022.
- Three Oaks: A $200 million residential development that will include a mix of single-family homes, apartments and senior housing. Neyer Properties is the master developer for this project, which is replacing 30 acres of mostly vacant industrial buildings with an extension of the Oakley neighborhood. Demolition is complete and infrastructure is expected to start going in by March 2021. Construction of the apartments is expected to start in June, with single-family homes following in August.
- Saica Group North American facility: Ground was broken in October on Saica Group’s 350,000-square-foot plant in Hamilton. This $72 million investment marks the Spanish company’s expansion into the U.S. market. Saica expects to create 64 jobs. The plant is expected to be complete in early 2022.
- One Highland: A $20 million luxury condominium and commercial project in the heart of Fort Thomas. Greiwe Development Group and partners North American Properties and Sibcy Cline broke ground on the project early in 2020. The project includes 12,000 square feet of commercial space topped with 18 condos. Residences will be priced from $695,000 to $1.2 million. The grand opening is scheduled for fall 2021.
- Vega Americas HQ: Construction started near the end of 2020 on Vega Americas Inc.’s 230,000-square-foot campus in Mason. There, the manufacturer of level and pressure measurement technology for the processing industry will relocate its Americas headquarters in Mason’s Research & Development Park. The $50 million project will include a business and training center, as well as advanced manufacturing and production facilities on 50 acres. The company will move 217 employees from Oakley to Mason, with plans to add 50 more over five years.