Monday, July 19, 2010

$1.4M Job Ready Sites grant to remake part of Evanston

The City of Cincinnati has received a $1.4 million grant through the Ohio Job Ready Sites (JRS) program for a total makeover of a portion of Dana Avenue in Evanston.

The grant will allow the City to work in conjunction with Neyer Properties on a reconfiguration of the on- and off-ramps at the Interstate 71/Dana Avenue interchange. This work, already underway, will allow the developer to create a new gateway to Keystone Parke, the region's first green office campus.

In conjunction with the road improvements, a portion of the funding will go to the $5 million Dana Avenue streetscape project. The project, between Interstate 71 and Victory Parkway, will:

  • Smooth the S-curve just east of Victory Parkway;
  • Widen Dana Avenue from four lanes to five lanes between Victory Parkway and Montgomery Road, including the addition of left-turn and center-turn lanes;
  • Add a lengthened left-turn lane at Montgomery Road and a new left-turn lane at Evanston Avenue on westbound Dana Avenue;
  • Add new curbs, sidewalks and street trees, with five-foot wide tree lawns and sidewalks (and eight-foot wide tree lawns and sidewalks along the north side of Dana Avenue between Victory Parkway and Montgomery Road);
  • Replace traffic signals; and
  • Install two new water mains.
Streetscape construction is scheduled to begin this September.

Trend Construction is serving as general contractor for both projects.

Development a catalyst

These improvements would not have been possible without the construction of Keystone Parke, said Neyer Properties senior development project manager Jeff Chamot. The developer has contributed $1.7 million to the interchange and streetscape improvements over the past six years.

"Keystone pushed the idea forward, but these improvements were really needed by the whole community," he said.

The City was awarded the funding in November 2008, and the project is the only local applicant to be awarded JRS funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2008-2009 funding cycle.

In fact, it was the highest-scoring project of all applications.

The multi-phased, $100 million Keystone Parke currently includes Keystone Parke Building I – a 66,000-square-foot building that serves as Neyer Properties' headquarters – and the recently-completed 45,000-square-foot headquarters for the Cincinnati chapter of the American Red Cross. Future phases will include an eight-floor, 208,800-square-foot office building; a five-story, 115,000-square-foot office building; a four-story, 62,000-square-foot office building; an 11,000-square-foot retail building; and improvements to Evanston Playfield.

"Positive attributes are that it leverages a small amount of state funds to create a smart office complex of over 460,000 square feet, has excellent visibility from the interstate, and all of the buildings on site are going to be LEED-certified at least to the Silver level," said Sheena Metzger, administrator for the JRS program.

Created in 2005 and administered by the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio Job Ready Sites program was created to bolster the state's portfolio of developable commercial and industrial sites served by utility and transportation infrastructure.

Images courtesy of Neyer Properties.

Previous reading on BC:
River Road, Dana Avenue projects advance (6/23/10)
Cincinnati to apply for $1.4M grant for I-71/Dana interchange (5/21/08)
Cincinnati approves Keystone outlot, public access (5/12/08)
EDC to hear on zoning change for Keystone outlot (5/2/08)
City trying to beat winter on Dana streetscape (11/14/07)