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National Air Force Museum Starts $35M Expansion at Wright-Patterson AFB

21 Jun 2014, 3:17 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Each year, more than 1 million people from around the world come to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Its collection is among the largest of its kind and includes more than  360 aerospace vehicles and thousands of artifacts.

“As the Air Force’s window to the public, the museum is where the people come to learn about the history, mission and evolving capabilities of America’s Air Force and about the Airmen who are truly the foundation of everything we do,” noted Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a statement.

The museum’s collection occupies more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space, and its facilities are about get bigger. One June 3, .the museum broke ground on a 224,000-square-foot building that will house aircraft from the Presidential, Research and Development (R&D) and Global Reach collections, as well as a new and expanded Space Gallery. The new facility will also house three science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning centers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers selected Turner Construction Co. last December to serve as general contractor.

Estimated to cost $35.4 million, the expansion is being financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. Since its establishment in 1960, the foundation has raised more than $85.6 million for the museum. Its current capital campaign has raised funds from individuals, foundations and companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce North America, and Northrop Grumman.  The capital campaign is seeking to raise $46 million to finance additional building and educational requirements.

Photo credits: National Museum of the United States Air Force

Rolling Hills Hospitality to Develop 120-Key Hotel at Sharonville Convention Center

12 Jun 2014, 9:33 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

In late May, the city of Sharonville and Rolling Hills Hospitality Group signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 120-key select service hotel at Sharonville Convention Center.

The $14 million project will be part of the transformation of the city’s Northern Lights Entertainment District and is expected to boost the local economy by attracting more conventions, trade shows and other events. Sharonville has secured more than $200 million in public and private investments to help revitalize the Northern Lights district.

The new hotel will anchor the Sharonville Convention Center, which recently underwent a $25 million expansion and renovation.

“While our event business has grown significantly since the expansion, our convention and tradeshow customers have continually communicated their need for a first class hotel that is attached to our center,” said Jim Downton, the convention center’s executive director, in a statement.

The developers have yet to announce a starting date for construction, which is expected to take 16 months. Bimal Patel, founder of Fort Mitchell, Kent.-based Rolling Hills Hospitality, will oversee development. The firm is also working to secure a national hotel flag.

Rendering: City of Sharonville

eBay Plans $52M Expansion in Boone County

8 Jun 2014, 2:49 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

eBay Enterprise is expanding its operations in Northern Kentucky. Gov. Steve Beshear announced on May 29 that the global provider of retail-optimized commerce solutions plans to invest nearly $52 million in a new fulfillment center in Boone County.

Scheduled to open this summer, the 630,000-square-foot facility will be located on Transport Drive in Walton. The project will create more than 300 full-time jobs, eBay said. Joining fulfillment centers in Louisville and Shepherdsville, the Walton facility will expand the company’s distribution space in northern Kentucky to more than 1.4 million square feet.

The company is expanding in order to meet rising customer demand. It invested $45 million last year to expand its Louisville facility, adding 150 new jobs.

“This is a remarkable investment in the Commonwealth, with eBay Enterprise spending $52 million to expand its footprint in northern Kentucky,” Beshear said in a statement. “This announcement is further proof Kentucky provides a strategic location for companies to ship their products around the world.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval for up to $2.3 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The incentives, which are performance-based, will allow eBay to  keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Port Authority Names Cassidy Turley To Market MidPointe Crossing

30 May 2014, 3:25 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has started planning and site development of the MidPointe Crossing project in Cincinnati’s Bond Hill neighborhood, and has named Cassidy Turley to market the $80 million project.

MidPointe Crossing will rise on 25 acres at the intersection of Seymour Avenue and Reading Road. The site was once the home of Swifton Commons, the region’s first shopping mall, which was demolished last December to make way for the new development.

Plans call for the construction of office, retail, residencies, parking spaces and a hotel. During the first phase, the Port Authority plans to develop up to 500,000 square feet of office and retail space.

Cassidy Turley Senior Vice President Scott Abernethy and Associate Joshua Smitherman will lead office land sales. Vice President Andrew Sellet and Associate Terry Ohnmeis will handle retail land sales.

“MidPointe Crossing is Cincinnati’s next great office and retail location,” said Port Authority President & CEO Laura Brunner in a statement. “The Port Authority and City of Cincinnati have teamed on making significant investment in this location that complements all of the other momentum nearby. We now expect the market will respond favorably, because there are only a handful of development-ready city sites of this caliber.”

Over the past decade, the Seymour/Reading corridor has attracted more than $270 million in investment, including 300 new homes, new schools, recreational facilities, and religious institutions. That investment has created more than 1,900 jobs.

Photo illustration credit: The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority

Celanese Breaks Ground on $20M Expansion of Florence Facility

24 May 2014, 1:39 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Celanese Corp. broke ground May 15 on a $20 million expansion of its manufacturing  facility in Florence, Kent. The expansion will help Celanese keep pace with demand for its advanced engineered materials products.

Celanese’s facility is home to 350 employees  and the company’s research and development center. The project will create a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing and technology innovation hub. It will add compounding process lines to the existing site and create 10 new jobs. The new unit is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2015.

“Celanese has been producing high-performance engineering thermoplastics at its Florence facility since 1984, providing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in capital investment in northern Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. “We’re excited that Celanese chose to build this new and innovative manufacturing facility in Boone County. We welcome this investment and thank the company for providing more jobs for Kentuckians.”

“Our manufacturing facility in northern Kentucky is a center for innovation that drives research and development and the advancement of high performance engineered materials,” said Phil McDivitt, vice president and general manager of the Celanese engineered materials business. “In addition to critical design and engineering support, we provide our customers with technical expertise throughout the product development cycle. This expansion and investment in new prototyping and full-scale production lines will help us better serve our customers around the world, align our manufacturing capability and improve operational efficiency.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has approved Celanese for tax incentives up to $300,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The company will also receive up to $100,000 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

U Square @ The Loop Takes NAA’s Best Student Housing Award

15 May 2014, 2:25 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A Cincinnati student housing development is among this year’s winners in the National Apartment Association’s annual PARAGON awards. U Square @ The Loop won the award for best student housing community in the annual awards program, which recognizes the multifamily housing industry’s top communities, executives, employees and affiliate programs.

A joint venture between Al Neyer and Towne Properties started work on the development in 2012. At a cost of $78 million, the project was the second largest besides The Banks to break ground in Cincinnati since the recession.

The LEED certified community opened last August on a 4.2-acre site between McMillan Avenue and Calhoun Street, just south of the University of Cincinnati. U Square @ The Loop features 80,000 square feet of retail space, 40,000 square feet of office space, 161 studio units, one- and two-bedroom apartments, a community green and two structured parking garages with more than 700 spaces. According to the community’s website, apartments rent for between $820 and $2,500 per month. Amenities include a club room, a fitness center and outdoor terraces.

This year’s winners will be recognized on June 21 during the 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition in Denver. U Square @ The Loop is also a candidate for the NAA Community of the Year award. The winner will be selected from the winners in other categories.

In addition to U Square @ The Loop’s award, the NAA also named Access Property Management’s Michael Markus of Cincinnati the Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician of the Year.


Photo credits: U Square @ The Loop

Historic Crosley Building Could Get New Life as Apartments

9 May 2014, 10:08 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Throughout its long history, the Crosley Building in Cincinnati’s Camp Washington neighborhood, has witnessed the rise and fall of major American companies and has  itself experienced that cycle. But its story is not yet over. Indianapolis-based Core Redevelopment plans to bring new life to the ten-story, light industrial facility and turn it into apartments.

Upon its completion in 1928, the Crosley Building was a state-of-the-art facility. It was also the headquarters of the Crosley Corp. once nation’s largest manufacturer of table-top radios. The renowned Samuel Hannaford and Sons architectural firm created the building’s Art Deco-flavored design.

Over the years, the Crosley Building served as a manufacturing and production facility, where Crosley built cars, radios, refrigerators and many other products. It also served as home to WLW, as well as other broadcasting stations. However, when the Crosley Corp. started its decline, the 290,000-square-foot facility was sold to AVCO Electronics, along with other company assets. AVCO held on to it until the late 1970s, when the Crosley Building was sold to a succession of owners. For the past 20 years, the Crosley Building has been sitting vacant, turning into an eyesore.

But the property’s luck might finally be turning. According to FOX19, Core Redevelopment plans to turn the Crosley Building into 238 market rate apartments. The company will invest between $25 million and $35 million in the project. The project’s backers say that it has the potential to boost the local economy, help revitalize the neighborhood, lower crime rates and increase property values.

At the moment, the project is in its early stages and no construction start date has been announced. Core Redevelopment hopes to receive some help from the city of Cincinnati and the state of Ohio in the form of tax incentives.

Photo credits: Google Maps.

Carter, Dawson Co. Launch Work on Banks Project

2 May 2014, 8:56 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

After months of delay, work started April 28th on Phase IIA of the Banks project, Cincinnati’s largest mixed-use development.

The master development team of Carter and The Dawson Company planned to start construction last December on the $67 million project, which includes residential, office, hotel and retail components. However, work was stalled by a clause in a 1997 stadium deal, which gave the Cincinnati Bengals veto rights over the heights of buildings at the Banks.

On April 23, the Business Courier reported that Hamilton County leaders had reached an agreement with the NFL team and that the Bengals will waive their veto right. That cleared the way for construction to start. Early on the morning of April 28, construction crews started installing perimeter fencing, closing some traffic lanes and sidewalks on Race Street, Freedom Way, and Second Street.

Phase IIA calls for the construction of a 9-story building, with 291 one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging between 615 and 1,300 square feet, and about 19,000 square feet of retail space. It will occupy the entire city block from Rosa Parks to Race Street and between Freedom Way and Second Street. Completion is scheduled for late 2015.

Rendering: thebankscincy.com

Middletown Hotel Management Plans 118-Key Springhill Suites in Beavercreek

25 Apr 2014, 9:11 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Middletown Hotel Management plans to start construction this fall on a 118-key Springhill Suites by Marriott on two recently acquired parcels in Beavercreek. Completion is expected by the end of 2015. Middletown did not disclose terms of the land acquisition or the cost of the project.

The new Springhill Suites will be located next to The Mall at Fairfield Commons, close to many restaurants and offices. Amenities will include an indoor pool, a fitness center and meeting space.

“Beavercreek is an area that continues to grow and expand,” Bob Ritter, Middletown’s vice president of operations, said in a statement. “We feel that the demand is out there for a new hotel.” Sue Zickefoose of CBRE Group Inc.’s Dayton office represented the Beavercreek-based hotel developer and manager in the transaction.

According to a first-quarter report from Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc., hotel occupancy and rates are on the rise in the Midwest, in which Marcus &  Millichap includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Ohio. Growth in the region’s manufacturing sector will spur additional demand from business travelers in 2014. Meanwhile, leisure travel during the warm-weather months will boost room rates 1.5 percent for the region.
Marcus & Millichap projects that occupancy will climb to 59.5% this year as the average room rate reaches $99.91.

Middletown is looking to further expand a portfolio that includes five Ohio hotels: the Hilton Garden Inn in Beavercreek, Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Dayton, Fairfield Inn & Suites in Columbus, Hilton Garden Inn in Columbus and the Hampton Inn in Fairfield.

Rendering: CBRE Group Inc.

Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc..

Cincinnati Ranked 6th Best Market for Recent College Grads by Apartments.com

19 Apr 2014, 5:16 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Each year, thousands of students graduate from the numerous colleges and universities in the Cincinnati area. The University of Cincinnati alone will award degrees to 6,272 students at the end of April, the largest spring-term graduating class in the university’s history.

Many of the students that graduate from Cincinnati colleges and universities choose to remain in the city. And, according to the seventh annual Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates,” this is a wise move, because Cincinnati is number 6 on this year’s list.

Apartments.com’s list is meant to help people  fresh out of college find the right place to start. It takes into account factors such as availability, employment opportunities, salary, affordability, age and even the city’s singles scene.

“Conventional wisdom has been to go where the job takes you,” Dick Burke, president of Apartments.com, said in a statement. “However, for today’s young professionals who want to have more input into where they start their lives, our list helps identify cities that offer the best overall opportunity for employment and long-term career growth, affordable living and a vibrant culture that caters to young adults.

Cities with unemployment above 7% were eliminated from the list. According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the Cincinnati metro area was 6.5 percent in February, 0.3 percent lower than in January. And Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc. also noted in its 2014 National Apartment Report that local employers are expected to add 22,300 jobs this year.

The list also takes into account affordability versus median income, giving an edge  to cities where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is no more than 25% of gross median income. Forbes recently named Cincinnati the third most affordable city in the United States.

The rental market had a great 2013 and, even though rents are expected to continue to increase for the fifth consecutive year in 2014, Cincinnati still has the lowest average rent for a one-bedroom apartment of any city in Apartment.com’s Top 10.

Young people aged 20 to 34 were largely responsible for the city’s high ranking. These young professionals, with their live-work-play lifestyles, have sustained rental demand in the city’s urban areas. Thanks to them, vacancy dropped to 4.5 percent, the lowest year-end level in years. And, as developers are expected to deliver 800 new units this year, the risk of running out of inventory is low.

Click here for more market data on Cincinnati.

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