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$500M Middletown Energy Center to Be Top Gas Power Plant

4 Feb 2014, 6:36 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The city of Middletown, in Butler County, will be home to one of the most efficient natural gas-fired power plants in the United States. St. Augustine, Fla.-based NTE Energy announced last week its plans to develop, own and operate the power plant, which is expected to provide numerous benefits to the city, county and state economies. The massive project represents an investment of more than 500 million.

The plant will be called the Middletown Energy Center. It will use a Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas (MPSA) M501JAC advanced combustion turbine in combined cycle configuration and will generate approximately 500 MW of low-cost electric power, enough to supply 400,000 homes. According to NTE Solutions, the plant will be fueled by clean-burning natural gas, allowing for greater operating efficiencies and as much as 60 percent less emissions than conventional fuel.

NTE Solutions has begun permit applications and hopes to start work on the project in 2015. The Middletown Energy Center is expected to become fully operational in 2018. During the three-year construction period, the project will create 300 to 400 construction jobs, most of them to be filled by the members of skilled trade unions.  Once finished, the Middletown Energy Center will employ  25 to 30 full-time workers. Most of them are expected to come from the local workforce.

“As the energy landscape continues to change, the need for affordable, cleaner base load generation is upon us,” said Seth Shortlidge, president of NTE Energy, in a statement for the press. “NTE Energy looks forward to working with the Middletown community in developing one of the cleanest, most efficient and most reliable sources to fulfill this growing demand.”

Photo credits: www.middletownenergycenter.com

Port Authority Receives $400,000 Grant from Duke Energy to Revitalize Cincinnati Neighborhoods

28 Jan 2014, 5:11 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, recently awarded a $400,000 grant to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to help redevelop the Bond Hill, Roselawn and Queensgate areas. The money will be used to create development-ready sites that will ultimately bring new investment from industrial and logistics companies, breathing new life into the Cincinnati neighborhoods.

On Jan. 14, Laura Brunner, president & CEO of the Port Authority, received the check from Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio & Kentucky. The ceremony was located in Cincinnati’s Roselawn neighborhood, at TechSolve II, a Port Authority site currently undergoing redevelopment.

The Port Authority purchased the 13-acre site last year, after receiving funding from the city. It started the redevelopment by demolishing most of the vacant and blighted structures located on the different parcels that make up the site. Recently, the Port Authority received approval to expand TechSolve Business Park to the site, creating TechSolve II.

“Returning sites to productive use is essential to revitalizing Greater Cincinnati’s communities and building a stronger regional economy,” Jim Henning said in a statement for the press. Mayor John Cranley also thinks improving neighborhoods is an important strategy to attract new businesses and residents to the area. He said the city of Cincinnati ”is committed” to the TechSolve project, adding that ”we will be successful here.”

Another, larger site is also undergoing redevelopment near the TechSolve II park. The Port Authority recently finished the demolition of a 350,000-square-foot shopping center there. The entire project is expected to cost around $80 million and calls for a high-impact, urban-style commercial development of the 25-acre site.

In Queensgate, the Port Authority plans to develop a large industrial park through the modernization of real estate and transportation assets. Once an important manufacturing center, the area fell onto hard times in the 20th century. Now, it is plagued by contaminated sites, aged buildings and inefficient transportation. The Port Authority said the area’s re-industrialization will require multiple stages of evaluation and execution.

“We are pleased that Duke Energy recognizes the redevelopment potential in Bond Hill, Roselawn and Queensgate. This investment will go a long way to unlocking that potential, creating jobs and bringing new energy to our neighborhoods,” said Jeff McElravy, interim director for the city of Cincinnati’s Department of Trade and Development. “Now, with the help of Duke Energy and other community partners, we will begin to see a future of new productivity and value,” Brunner added.

Demand for Greater Cincinnati Industrial Space Strongest Since 2005

21 Jan 2014, 3:53 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

2013 was an excellent year for the Cincinnati industrial market. As companies snatched up more and more space, rents increased and vacancies dropped, reaching pre-recession levels.

In the third quarter, the overall industrial vacancy rate in the Greater Cincinnati area dropped below 7 percent for the first time since 2007. And the market continued to perform very well in the final quarter of the year, as well. Cassidy Turley reports that more than 615,000 square feet of space was absorbed in the fourth quarter, making it the 10th consecutive quarter of positive net absorption.

“Demand for industrial space across Greater Cincinnati was impressive throughout 2013,” said Jarrett Hicks, senior research analyst for Cassidy Turley’s Cincinnati office, in a statement for the press. “Overall net absorption totaled nearly 5.2 million square feet for 2013, signifying the highest level of demand since 2005.”

The overall vacancy rate in the region finished the year at 6.35 percent, compared to 6.55 percent in the third quarter, due primarily to Class B bulk warehouse and freestanding leases in the Northwest submarket. Overall bulk vacancy dropped to 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter, from 7.7 percent in the third quarter. Northern Kentucky continues to have a historically low bulk vacancy rate, currently standing below 2 percent. Freestanding space is also in short supply, with a 5.4 percent vacancy at the end of the year. The office/warehouse market experienced negative absorption in the fourth quarter, but three of Greater Cincinnati’s four submarkets showed slight positive absorption. The overall average asking rent stands at $3.63 per square foot.

According to Cassidy Turley, only three projects totaling 215,000 square feet were delivered in Greater Cincinnati in the fourth quarter, with almost 2.2 million square feet of space still under construction. The high demand for space will lead to a further decline in vacancy, which could then result in an increase in industrial construction in the region in 2014.

Charts courtesy of Cassidy Turley.

Cincinnati Seeks Brownfield Fund Grant for Brewery X Redevelopment Project

13 Jan 2014, 2:58 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Cincinnati Beer Week is less than a month away. It’s scheduled to start on Feb. 6, but real beer fans will be able to get into the spirit of the event even sooner. On Jan. 27, a public meeting will be held at The Brew House to discuss the city of Cincinnati’s application for a grant from the  Brownfield Fund for the Brewery X Redevelopment Project. The project’s goal is to turn a dilapidated historic building close to downtown Cincinnati into a brewery with a tap room and an outdoor beer garden. The application is available for review at the Walnut Hills Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The historic building is located at 1430 Martin Drive, in the 180-acre Eden Park, one of the most popular parks in Cincinnati. It was constructed between 1889 and 1894 and served as a pump station, moving water from the East Reservoir to downtown’s growing suburbs. It was renovated and in 1939 reopened as the new home for the city’s Central Fire Alarm System and the Cincinnati Police. The Pump Station continued to operate as the Central Dispatch for the Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments until 1988 and as a backup for 911 until late 2004. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 3, 1980.

The city of Cincinnati has owned the building since it was constructed and will continue to own it during the the implementation of the Clean Ohio grant. Brewery X L.L.C. has signed a long-term lease for the property. The company will invest approximately $4 million in the project and plans to buy the building in the future.

Although dilapidated, the building is still structurally sound. The redevelopment calls for the  complete gutting of the interior and replacement of the roof and windows, as well as the removal of asbestos and lead paint. The developers requested $736,520 from the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund to perform asbestos abatement and $490,380 from the Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund to perform the lead paint abatement. Work is expected to start as soon as the funding is approved.

Brewery X is expected to open in mid-2015. It will create at least 13 full-time jobs. The average hourly wage will be $12.94 within the first three years of operation.

Photo credits: The City of Cincinnati

Christ Hospital Opens P1 Garage as Part of $265M Campus Expansion Project

6 Jan 2014, 5:26 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Christ Hospital opened its new visitor garage on Dec. 24. The new P1 garage is part of a larger, $265 million campus expansion project. It will be the primary parking location for patients and visitors to the hospital.

The P1 garage is located along Auburn Avenue. It is connected to both the Medical Office Building and the main hospital entrance through a skywalk over Mason Street, and can be accessed from Mason Street and Huntington Place. The facility has eight levels with 847 parking spaces for patients, families and visitors. There are separate entrances for visitors and physicians.

P1 was designed to fit with the historic character of Mount Auburn and the other buildings on The Christ Hospital campus. The facility is clad in brick, precast concrete and glass. One million pounds of Rebar and over 363,000 feet of post-tensioning steel were used to reinforce the concrete. In a news release, Christ Hospital said the basin in which P1 sits is big enough to hold three of Coney Island’s Sunlite Pools. At 200 feet wide and 401 feet long, holding more than three million gallons of water, Coney Island’s Sunlite Pool is the largest flat-surfaced, recirculating pool in the world.

Christ Hospital started work on the garage in May 2012 as part of its campus expansion, a huge project that includes the construction of The Christ Hospital Joint and Spine Center, a facility described by the hospital as “regionally unique,” dedicated solely to orthopaedic and spine care. In October,  Christ Hospital held a topping off ceremony to celebrate the completion of the building’s structural steelwork. The new facility is expected to open in summer 2015. It will feature  60 private inpatient rooms, 12 operating rooms, physical and occupational therapy, pain management, imaging services, conference and educational facilities, and physician offices.

Photo credits: Christ Hospital

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