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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.



PBY Partners Buys Central Parke in Norwood for $34M; Port Authority Taps CBRE to Market TechSolve II Expansion

15 Apr 2014, 5:48 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

In one of Greater Cincinnati’s largest commercial real estate deals of the year, 4600 Smith Road Holdings L.L.C. sold its Central Parke Business Park Portfolio in Norwood to PBY Partners, a group of local investors . The price of the transaction was $34 million.

The 811,670-square-foot portfolio consists of five office buildings, five flex buildings and a retail building called Grand Central Station, plus a seven-level parking structure with 1,400 spaces. Central Parke’s tenant roster includes Cincinnati Bell, Education at Work, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, U.S. Bank, TriHealth, ITT Educational Services, Fitworks and ADT Security Services.

Cassidy Turley represented the seller, 4600 Smith Road Holdings L.L.C. The Cassidy Turley team consisted of Executive Managing Director Jim O’Connell, Vice President Mike Sullivan and Executive Managing Director Tom Powers.

Just minutes away, another major business park is working to position itself for growth. The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has tapped CBRE Group Inc. to market the expansion of TechSolve II Park in Roselawn.

The 12.6-acre business park is being developed by the Port Authority in partnership with the city of Cincinnati and TechSolve. It is located just northeast of the fully leased, 143-acre TechSolve business park, where more than 2,000 people are employed. TechSolve II includes a newly renovated 25,000-square-foot building suitable for light, high-tech manufacturing, office use or distribution space. It can also accommodate 150,000 to 175,000 square feet of build-to-suit space. Michael  Whitten, Timothy Schenke and Jason Williams of CBRE”s Cincinnati industrial services group are marketing the property.

“TechSolve II is an ideal site for continued growth of advanced industry. It is unique in that it offers a modern, high quality, central location within the region that is easily accessible to the entire regional workforce,” said Gary Conley, president of TechSolve Inc., in a statement.

Photo credits: Google Maps.



Luxury Home Sales Rise in Metro Cincinnati: Comey & Shepherd

4 Apr 2014, 5:56 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Last year was an excellent one for luxury home sales in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, according to Comey & Shepherd Realtors.  In its recently released annual report, the Cincinnati-based real estate services firm said that the luxury market has not seen such levels of performance since before 2009.

Comey & Shepherd looked at single-family homes and condominiums in 22 neighborhoods that sold for at least $500,000. The number of properties in that category totaled 790, a 60 percent increase compared with the previous year.

“The psychology of the buyer matters significantly at this price point. Clearly economic indicators have had an effect on consumer confidence in both buying and selling homes,” commented Comey & Shepherd CEO Scott Nelson in a statement. “The numbers are telling – to have 300 more home sales in the higher end of the price segment from 2012 vs. 2013 clearly demonstrates that consumer psychology is on the upswing.”

The average time that high-end homes spent on the market also dropped significantly. Downtown Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine and the riverfront area registered the most dramatic decreases,  from 719 days on the market  in 2012 to only 53 in 2013.

Indian Hill was last year’s star performer, tallying the most sales (90) and the highest average price ($1.2 million). Sales for the neighborhood totaled $108.25 million.

The complete report is available on Comey & Shepherd’s website.

Photo credits: Comey & Shepherd Realtors



TriHealth, Select Medical Plan to Open New Rehabilitation Hospital in Evanston

1 Apr 2014, 4:13 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

TriHealth, one of the largest health systems in the region, is looking to expand and open a new hospital in the Cincinnati area. Last week, TriHealth and Select Medical, one of the largest providers of acute care in the country, announced plans to form a partnership and build and operate a new inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Evanston.

The new TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital will serve Cincinnati’s growing need for inpatient rehabilitation. It will have 60 beds and will provide care for people suffering from spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke, amputation, neurological disorders and musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions. In a press release, TriHealth said that Select Medical’s renowned Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation will also provide support for new clinical program development, specialized services, enhanced access to research and clinical education.

Work on the project is expected to start later this year. The hospital is scheduled to open by late 2015. It will be located in Evanston’s Keystone Parke office campus, at I-71 and Dana Avenue. Keystone Parke is also home to the American Red Cross Cincinnati Area Chapter.

TriHealth currently provides acute rehab services in a 16-bed unit at its Bethesda North Hospital and a 30-bed unit at its Good Samaritan Hospital. Both units will be managed by Select Medical until the TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital is finished. They will then be transferred to the Evanston facility. Select Medical will serve as managing partner of the new location, which will employ 180 people.

“This higher level of specialty care benefits our rehabilitation patients by allowing us to combine our existing units and expertise at a single, larger location specifically designed to meet their rehabilitation needs,” said John Prout, president & CEO at TriHealth, in a statement for the press. “Select Medical is a national leader in providing acute rehabilitation services and we felt it important to make these services available to meet the needs of our community.”

“The partnership builds on the patient-focused rehabilitation care already offered at TriHealth,” said David Chernow, president & CEO of Select Medical. “We think very highly of TriHealth’s reputation for clinical excellence and dedication to providing a great patient experience, and truly look forward to building a lasting relationship together.” TriHealth and Select Medical have been working together since 1997.

Photo of Bethesda North Hospital credit: TriHealth



CBRE Cincinnati’s Mike McMillan to Represent Proposed Technology Park in Oxford

25 Mar 2014, 1:43 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A proposed 74-acre technology park next to Miami University could transform Oxford into Ohio’s Silicon Valley. Or, as Ryan Howard, a character on the popular TV show “The Office,” called it, a “Silicon Prairie.” And it is ready to move forward, now that Mike McMillan of CBRE Cincinnati’s Data Center Solutions Group has been selected to represent the build-to-suit project, find tenants and help get it off the ground.

Todd Dockum, a 1988 Miami University alumnus, is the project’s creator. He first announced it in 2007. According to plans, the proposed Miami Heritage Technology Park will be constructed at the intersection of Oxford Trenton Road and Oxford Milford Road. The multimillion-dollar project is expected to include a variety of buildings, including research-and-development facilities, data centers, offices and labs. The proposed tech park is designed to be “green,” with all the buildings LEED certified.

The project has already secured a $3.5 million “Job Ready Site” grant from the state of Ohio. The money will be available to start construction once a tenant signs a $3 million commitment to construct the first building. It will be spent on infrastructure and utilities.

“The goal for the Miami Heritage Technology Park is to help bring innovation to the Oxford market,” McMillan said in a statement for the press. “Uniting business leadership and university quality will accelerate business growth and retain quality skilled labor in the community.”

The 74-acre park is expected to provide an important economic boost to the city of Oxford, attracting businesses and creating jobs. Businesses will also benefit from the location’s skilled labor market. Citing 2010 Census data, CBRE said that 51 percent of the 23,000 people who live in Oxford have college degrees.

Photo credits: CBRE



Eagle Realty Group Hires Cassidy Turley to Lease Queen City Square in Cincinnati

18 Mar 2014, 3:34 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Located in the heart of Cincinnati’s Central Business District, Queen City Square is the city’s premier business center, its newest and most prominent downtown development. It was constructed by Eagle Realty Group, a member of Western & Southern Financial Group, and now its owners have hired Cassidy Turley to find tenants for the remaining space in the $400 million complex.

Queen City Square offers 1 million square feet of Class A-plus office space. It consists of the the 41-story Great American Tower and the 17-story 303 Broadway. The complex is surrounded by important Cincinnati landmarks and offers numerous amenities such as parking, shops or restaurants.

The Great American Tower at Queen City Square is a trophy office building that towers over any other structure in the Cincinnati metro area. Not only is it downtown’s largest building, it is also the first ”green” office tower in the region, with a LEED Gold certification. It was constructed between 2008 and 2011, at a cost of $322 million. The state-of-the-art tower offers 800,000 square feet of space. It currently serves as the headquarters of Great American Insurance. 303 Broadway at Queen City Square was completed in 2006. It has nearly 200,000 square feet of space.

Queen City Square’s tenant roster also includes Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, Frost Brown Todd, Key Bank or Analytic Partners. According to a Cassidy Turley press release, the complex still has about 80,000 square feet of available space. Cassidy Turley Senior Vice President Scott Abernethy and Vice President Digger Daley will lead leasing efforts.

“We are extremely excited to be listing this signature asset,” Mr. Abernethy said in a statement for the press. “Queen City Square is unmatched in the region. The architecture, location and amenities immediately make a positive statement for any tenant in this facility.”

Photo credits: www.queencitysquare.com



UGN to Build $50M Plant in Monroe, Create 150 Jobs

10 Mar 2014, 8:47 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

UGN Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of auto parts, last week announced plans to build a $50 million facility in Monroe, Ohio. Groundbreaking is scheduled to start next month, depending on the final approval of state and local incentives.

Last September, when UGN announced it had narrowed down the list to two potential locations, Ohio and Indiana, the cost of the project was set at $25 million. Since then, UGN has decided to double its investment and to choose Ohio as the home of its new facility.

“JobsOhio’s aggressive approach and Gov. John Kasich’s personal involvement were major deciding factors,” Peter Anthony, CEO of UGN, said in a statement for the press. “They do a nice job of helping business leaders explore the possibility of working in the state.”

Plans call for the construction of a 206,400-square-foot auto parts manufacturing plant. UGN also said there is room to expand by at least an additional 150,000 square feet. When finished, it will create 150 permanent jobs and generate more than $7 million annually in wages and benefits. Positions in the new plant will be added in phases.

UGN will manufacture new carpet and underfloor technologies at the Monroe plant. The company said that these products are being made in the United States for the first time ever. Beginning in 2015, they will be installed in Japanese-produced automobiles. In the past two years, UGN has increased its sales by more than 50 percent. The company has 1,500 employees at six facilities in the United States and one in Mexico.

“This new plant further strengthens our position as a world-class manufacturer,” Anthony declared. “We look forward to being a part of the community in Monroe.”

Gov. Kasich issued a statement last week following UGN’s announcement. “This is just great news for the people of Monroe and reinforces the important role that Ohio continues to play in the auto industry. It’s great that the company found the team at JobsOhio to be helpful to them and, more important, great news for the 150 families who will be receiving new jobs at UGN,” he said.

Photo of UGN’s facility in Somerset, Ky. Credit: UGN Inc.



Octal Leases 130,000 SF of Industrial Space in West Chester, Opens First Plant in North America

3 Mar 2014, 10:07 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

OCTAL, a world leader in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin and integrated PET sheet manufacturing, is expanding its operations with the opening of its first plant in North America. The Muscat, Oman-based company recently signed a lease for 130,720 square feet of space in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The new plant is located just 20 miles north of Cincinnati, at 5399 E. Provident Drive in West Chester. The office and warehouse property is part of Duke Realty’s World Park industrial development. Other tenants in the park include Totes Isotoner and TradeGlobal.

Cushman & Wakefield Inc. worked together with Cincinnati Commercial Realtors, a  C&W Alliance firm, to represent OCTAL. The team that brokered the deal included Cushman & Wakefield’s Mark Collins and Dean Collins, as well as Josh Young and Si Pitstick of Cincinnati Commercial Realtors.

“This was a six- to eight-month process of performing the proper studies and analyzing which markets made the most sense for OCTAL to place its first North American plant,” Mark Collins said. “We worked very closely with our alliance firm partners at Cincinnati Commercial Realtors to find the right mix of location, incentives and opportunity for OCTAL. This was a collaboration at every phase of the process, and that’s important when you’re dealing with an important, international client who is new to the market.”

OCTAL was formed in 2006, but it managed to quickly become the world’s largest PET sheet producer and the largest PET resin producer in the Middle East. At its facility in West Chester, the company will focus on converting post-industrial PET flake and resin into reusable rPET Sheet. The Cincinnati Business Courier reported that between 25 and 50 people will be employed at the new plant.

“We performed an in-depth site analysis to determine the optimal location for OCTAL’s long-term growth plan,” Mark Collins said. “They are a successful company that will bring jobs and investment into the area.”

Photo credits: OCTAL



URS Capital Partners Sells Two Cincinnati-Area Apartments

25 Feb 2014, 2:22 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

URS Capital Partners, a real estate investment company based in Huntington, N.Y., completed the sale of two multifamily properties in the Cincinnati area at the end of January. The two properties are the Westshore Apartments, in Covington, and the Incline Apartments in Cincinnati’s Incline District.

The Westshore Apartments, formerly known as Harbour House, is a Class B apartment building with 37 units. URS Capital Partners acquired the property in October 2011.

“Due to the property’s positive attributes, including its amazing views and proximity to downtown Cincinnati, we saw the opportunity to buy the property well, implement a strategic upgrade plan and rebrand the property to greatly improve cash flow and value,” said Christopher and Lisa Urso, partners of URS Capital Partners, in a statement for the press.

URS said the upgrade was a success and that it was able to increase average rents by 10 to 15 percent throughout the property. Although it did not disclose the price of the transaction, URS said the asset was sold to a local investor at a 7.5 percent cap rate. At the time of the sale, the apartment building was 95 percent occupied. The Westshore Apartments generated an unleveraged 21 percent internal rate of return with a two-year hold period.

The Incline Apartments is a 40-unit Class C apartment complex. URS Capital Partners purchased the property out of foreclosure in November 2011. At that time, it was 80 percent vacant. URS Capital Partners renovated the Incline Apartments. The property, also sold for an undisclosed price, generated an unleveraged 16 percent IRR.

“As a result of the timely execution of our strategic plan, we allowed our investors to enjoy healthy unlevered cash-on-cash returns during uncertain economic times,” said Christopher Urso.

URS Capital Partners plans to acquire additional multifamily properties in 2014. The company will focus primarily on Class B and C assets. According to Marcus & Millichap, small private buyers are searching for these types of assets and they’re bringing new capital to the market, increasing the investment activity in the Cincinnati metro area. At the end of 2013, cap rates for Class B and C properties started in the low-8 and low-9 percent range, respectively.

Photo credits: URS Capital Partners



Procter & Gamble Selling Sycamore Building Downtown

18 Feb 2014, 4:54 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Another high-rise building in Cincinnati’s CBD is on the market. Last week, I wrote about the Garfield Tower, an apartment building listed for sale by CBRE Group Inc. Now, Procter & Gamble is selling its office property at 299 E. Sixth St.

The Sycamore Building, as it is known, was constructed in 1915. It is a 10.5-story building, standing 142 feet tall. The property offers approximately 110,000 square feet of rentable space. Its location in the heart of the CBD places the Sycamore Building close to many hotels, restaurants, parking facilities and other important amenities.

According to PropertyShark.com, Procter & Gamble acquired the building in 2007 for $6.8 million. The total market value of the property is now $8 million, with the building valued at $6.3 million. The Sycamore Building is being marketed for sale by David Ottenjohn and Rusty Myers, executive vice presidents at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. The sale price is set at $6.5 million, or about $59 per rentable square foot.

Right now, the property is occupied by Procter & Gamble, as well as Cintrifuse and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the tenants will vacate the building in late November. Procter & Gamble spokesman Bryan McCleary told the Enquirer that the multinational consumer goods company plans to move about 200 people from the building to its two larger sites in downtown Cincinnati. The Sycamore Building will be available for occupancy starting this December.

CBRE reports that office building sales in the Cincinnati area picked up at the end of 2013 as investor interest increased. Out-of-state investors see Cincinnati as an attractive and stable place to allocate their investments.

The area’s overall vacancy rate decreased in fourth quarter 2013, from 22.6 to 22.3 percent, with the CBD remaining flat at 20.1 percent. Meanwhile, office rents increased from $19.64 to $19.73 per square foot. In the CBD, rents increased from $20.74 to $20.98 per square foot.

Photo credits: http://www.sycamorebuilding299.com
Charts courtesy of CBRE.


Garfield Tower in CBD Goes Up for Sale

11 Feb 2014, 2:26 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A Cincinnati apartment tower located in the heart of the city’s Central Business District is now for sale. CBRE has listed the property but did not disclose a sales price.

Cincinnati’s Garfield Tower is located on a 0.37-acre site at 111 Garfield Place, within walking distance of Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium and the headquarters of some important companies, including Procter & Gamble and The Kroger Co. It was constructed in 1969 and consists of a 16-story high-rise residential tower and an attached two-story commercial building, the home of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Co. The commercial building is included in the sale.

Garfield Tower has about 102,600 square feet of residential space and about 25,000 square feet of commercial space. It offers 160 studio and one-bedroom apartments and includes such amenities as a fitness center, indoor heated rooftop pool and laundry facilities. The units have an average size of 651 square feet. They were converted to individual electric heating and cooling Island Aire systems between 2011 and 2013. According to the Garfield Tower website, rents in the building range between $780 and $920 per month.

Propertyshark.com lists the owner of Garfield Tower as Garfield Associates LLC. The property was last sold on June 19, 2003, for $5.7 million, according to the site. It sets the current market value of the tower at $3.7 million.

Marcus & Millichap said in its 2014 annual report for the Cincinnati area that urban development is reviving the local economy, boosting employment and creating new apartment demand. The commercial real estate brokerage firm expects the pool of buyers targeting apartment assets in the area to expand this year, as capital remains plentiful. It also said that larger properties of 150-plus units will remain most sought after, generating multiple bids from well-capitalized buyers.

Photo credits: CBRE
Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap


$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







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