Friday, August 29, 2008

Neyer backs out of Linden Park

Citing poor pre-sales, Al Neyer, Inc. (Neyer) has backed out of the Linden Park mixed-use project in College Hill, a project they have been involved with since 2005.

Unable to secure financing commitments as required by their sale contract with the City of Cincinnati, they decided not to renew their option for the property on the northeast corner of Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road, the former site of Shuller's Wigwam.

"The Linden Park developer, Al Neyer, Inc., was unable to secure the required number of condominium presales and commercial preleases to break ground within an anticipated timeframe," says Mike Cappel, president of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC). "Unprecedented downturns in the housing market contributed to slow sales."

Pre-sales of the 19 units began began March 6, with 9 pre-sales needed for the project to break ground - none of which had sales pending according to a search of the Multiple Listing Service of Greater Cincinnati.

The $9 million, three-story building also would have included 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

In a letter to director of the City's Department of Community Development Michael Cervay dated August 20, James Neyer, vice president of real estate development for Neyer, says that they chose not to renew their option not only because of the poor sales of condominiums, but also because no retail space had been leased, and that the sales team from Midland Retail had been unable to secure any letters of intent from prospective tenants.

"While we recognize the lack of acceptance of both the for-sale housing and retail as market driven, we do not feel that this type of product can be successful even in the future and encourage the community to consider alternate uses for the site," he says.

But at the March opening of the sales center, James Neyer said that "we believe we will hit our condominium pre-sales goal this year and begin construction as soon as we can".

So what changed in five months, especially considering that the housing slump began well before this year? And what happens now?

"Efforts are already underway and interesting options are being explored," Cappel says. "CHCURC is optimistic about new possibilities which may result in a development project even more beneficial to the College Hill community."

James Neyer says that his company would be happy to assist College Hill with knowledge and resources as they look at new redevelopment strategies for the corner.

"We continue our enthusiasm for the College Hill neighborhood and its dedicated community volunteers," he says.

Image credit: Al Neyer, Inc.

Previous reading on BC:
Linden Park reception to kick off sales center opening (3/6/08)
City to sell land, provide loan for Linden Park (2/1/08)
New rendering, townhome developer for Linden Park (9/24/07)
Community support of Linden Park decisive (9/6/07)
Linden Park meeting tonight (9/4/07)