This property has operated as a manufacturing site since 1940 when it was founded as Carlisle Chemical Company. The 25-acre site most recently was operated by Dow Chemical as a specialty chemical plant employing about 130 and contributing roughly $420,000 in local taxes.
The Port identified this site as a key parcel for manufacturing job creation and was encouraged by the City of Reading to consider acquisition. The site, fully redeveloped, could create 399 jobs and a capital investment of $37.7 million.
Stop #4: The Reading Road Corridor
Reading Road is a key North/South transportation corridor that runs through the state as U.S. 42, and it has suffered from extreme disinvestment, blight, and under-utilization of land. Covering approximately 120-acres across multiple jurisdictions and zoning classifications, redevelopment of the Reading Road Corridor is a collective focus of the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, City of Reading, Sycamore Township and The Port. Targeted redevelopment includes end-uses of commercial/retail along Reading Road and industrial/job creation for interior parcels.
How does The Port's other work in the Reading Road corridor fit into the picture?
In addition to preparing sites for advanced manufacturing along the Reading Road corridor, The Port is also focused on the revitalization of commercial properties. This corridor is a great representation of how the three pillars of our organization intersect, and we want to touch on a few projects that are in progress.
The site of the former Swifton Shopping Center, Cincinnati's first mall, The Port acquired this 25-acre site in 2013. Located at the intersection of Reading Road and Seymour Avenue, a historically important crossroads of community commerce and social activity, MidPointe Crossing is redevelopment-ready.
Roselawn Senior Apartments
On March 28, 2018, a groundbreaking was held for the Roselawn Senior Apartments on the site of a formerly blighted commercial property and abandoned building at 1811 Losantiville. The new $11,000,000, 50-unit project incorporates community space on the ground level and is expected to open later this year. The Port led the site development on this parcel, remediating and demolishing a vacant commercial structure.
Roselawn Business District
In 2018, The Port purchased this key property at the corner of Section and Reading Roads, identified for redevelopment by the Roselawn Community Council. Initial environmental remediation work is complete and additional work is ongoing. This site is an important gateway to the community of Roselawn and is half a mile from 2100 Section Road, in Amberley Village.
The former Seymour Plaza site where we began our tour is a complex assemblage of five parcels that totals just under 20 acres. The Port used Hamilton County Landbank tools to acquire and demolish several blighted residential properties located along Seymour Avenue that consistently attracted unlawful activity. Also on the site was a vacant nightclub – Club Ritz – which had become a dangerous dumping ground that also attracted unlawful activity. The Port was able to purchase these properties and demolish all but one of the blighted structures to create a job-ready light industrial business park. 1682 Seymour, where we began our tour, became our first renovation using PACE bond financing, Property Assessed Clean Energy bonds, in Cincinnati.
We recently sold 1682 Seymour to the Cincinnati Community Toolbank, a non-profit organization a nonprofit organization that lends tools and special event equipment to other Cincinnati not-for-profit organizations for use in volunteer projects, special events, facility repairs, grounds maintenance and much more. In 2018, Jet Machine opened its new industrial operation at TechSolve II on 8 acres. The new 105,000 SF light manufacturing facilities retained Jet Machine in Cincinnati and enabled the company to retain 100 jobs and create 40 additional jobs.
Bond Hill Business District
Redeveloping the neighborhood’s blighted business district is the number one priority identified by the community in the BH+R Plan. As we look at this project today, the renovation of 5,500 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail space is substantially complete, a project we partnered on with Community Economic Advancement Initiatives (CEAI). DREAM Loan Funds, provided by the Kresge Foundation, will be used to customize the spaces for small, neighborhood-serving businesses that will create new jobs in the community and to retain an existing business that has been serving the community for over five years. Fitout work for the first new tenant, Davis Cookie Collection, will be starting soon.
Partnerships, Funding & The Future
As we conclude our tour, I would like to thank you once again for joining us. The availability of large, investment-ready sites is critical to expanding and attracting businesses and good-paying jobs. A principal advantage of The Port’s prowess in urban industrial redevelopment is its strength in crafting successful public-private partnerships designed to leverage private capital and experience.
This work of revitalizing our region’s industrial sites is, as you have seen, intensive and costly. In 2016, The Port created a Patient Capital Fund which called upon the philanthropic ethos of companies recognizing the need for private funding to advance economic development. To date, we have raised nearly $11 million in social impact investment funds enabling us to secure the redevelopment of 75-acres in Hamilton County. By the end of 2018, The Port was in negotiation to acquire and had funding in place for the next 150 acres under this strategy.
We can win again in manufacturing. We have the muscle memory from our manufacturing legacy. This region’s workforce is skilled in exactly the kinds of areas needed by modern manufacturing, and now, when companies search for a new facility location, we want them to be able to find a site in Hamilton County.