Thursday, July 15, 2010

Special meeting to discuss Ridge Pointe TIF

On Monday at 4 p.m., the Columbia Township Board of Trustees will hold a public meeting to discuss the creation of a tax increment financing (TIF) district that could lead to the redevelopment of the vacant K-mart building at 5500 Ridge Road, near the intersection of Ridge and Highland.

Property owner Ridge K, LLC (Neyer Properties) has been looking to develop the 10.1-acre property as Ridge Pointe, a $21 million project which would include major renovations to the 108,000-square-foot building's fa├žade and the construction of two retail buildings of 10,500- and 14,000-square-feet. A vacant Firestone tire store would be demolished, and more than 400 surface parking spaces would be created.

The developer already is in negotiations for a 20-year lease with Tri-State Clinical Laboratory Services for the entire space. The company initially would occupy 50,000 square feet of research laboratory space and about 20,000 square feet of warehouse space, with room for future expansion.

Tri-State's 185 employees could eventually expand to 300 highly-paid laboratory techs and doctors.

But before the project can get off the ground, the township, developer, and the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority need to come up with a TIF agreement to pay for public improvements.

That plan was in jeopardy late last year when township trustees could not reach a unanimous vote on the proposed TIF agreement, but it now seems to be back in play.


Staff with the Hamilton County Regional Plaaning Commission has recommended approval of a major adjustment to the project's 10.1-acre planned unit development (PUD) district, with several conditions. The conditions mainly relate to parking, landscaping, and lighting, as well as demolition timelines.

The project's new site plan eliminates the proposed two-story, 30,500-square-foot office building planned for the north end of the site. The developer still plans to pursue LEED certification for the rehabilitation project.

"The revisions to the site plan would have no adverse impact on surrounding properties and would be a major improvement to the site given the existing conditions," a staff report on the PUD revision said. "Therefore, staff finds that the Major Adjustment would be appropriate for this site."

The county's Rural Zoning Commission (RZC) is scheduled to consider the revisions in August.

Neyer Properties' original PUD request was approved by the RZC on February 19, 2009. Following environmental remediation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency declared the site suitable for building in November.

The Columbia Township Board of Trustees meets at 5686 Kenwood Road.

Previous reading on BC:
Ridge Pointe site declared safe for building (11/10/09)
RZC to consider $21M Ridge-Highland redevelopment (2/17/09)