34-apartment complex planned in Hamilton with river and downtown views

This is merely a concept image for a 34-unit proposed apartment complex just north of Main and B streets, which would have two retail spaces. The developer submitted the image merely to show the scale of the building, whose apartments It would have commanding views of the High-Main bridge, Hamilton's downtown and the Great Miami River. PROVIDED
Caption
This is merely a concept image for a 34-unit proposed apartment complex just north of Main and B streets, which would have two retail spaces. The developer submitted the image merely to show the scale of the building, whose apartments It would have commanding views of the High-Main bridge, Hamilton's downtown and the Great Miami River. PROVIDED

Hamilton City Council will consider selling 0.6 acres of land with perhaps the most iconic view of the city for $1 to a developer who is promising to invest at least $6.5 million to build 34 apartments and 1,500 square feet of retail space there.

The land is just north of the intersection of Main and B streets, on the Great Miami River side of B Street.

“It’s going to have one of the most beautiful views of the city,” said Aaron Hufford, assistant to the city manager, who is working with the developer. “You’ll be looking back toward downtown — Billy Yank, 20 High St., the courthouse. It’s just going to be a really great site for an apartment.”

The possible sale has the Great Miami Rowing Center hopeful that it can reach an agreement with the developer that would let its teams continue to store and launch its boats from the immediate area. One city government goal in recent years has been to increase recreation on the river.

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In 2016, the city bought 100 North B St., from Daniel C. and Jennifer C. Wells doing business as CJW Properties, for $261,000. It was part of a batch of 10 properties the city purchased for a combined $956,000, many of them for parking, the city said at the time.

“As jobs have returned to downtown Hamilton, parking has become an increased issue,” City Manager Joshua Smith told the Journal-News when the 10 were purchased. “Each property acquired is done for a very strategic purpose, and to assist us in moving the community forward.”

Smith on Wednesday told council the developer, VRG Hamilton B St. Apts. LLC, submitted merely a concept image of the proposed building’s size. Matt Olliges, a managing partner of Vision Realty Group, was not available to comment. That company also renovated the Main Street building with the Billy Yanks burger restaurant and bar, and apartments upstairs.

Smith asked VRG to submit a concept image of the apartments merely “to give us an idea of the scale of what could fit on that property, so council would have a sense,” he said.

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The walk-up apartments would rent for market rates. There would be two retail areas, one on each corner of the first floor.

One retail area would be a “bike/kayak shop on the north side,” Smith said. “They don’t have an identified tenant yet on the south side, but they’re thinking it’s going to be a small restaurant/bar. It’s going to be something in the hospitality area.”

Council is scheduled to consider a proposed development agreement and whether to approve the sale at its Sept. 22 and Oct. 13 meetings.

“They were very interested in the property because of the Spooky Nook progress, and knowing that the traffic from Spooky Nook was going to come off that Park Avenue ramp (from the High-Main bridge) and go right by this location,” Smith said.

Smith said the developers believe tenants will want to live there because of proximity to Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill and its fitness center, and restaurants, and also, “obviously the proximity to the river.”

“They really want to tie it into more active use of the river — biking on the trails, kayaking on the river, things of that nature — so we’re excited about the prospect of seeing this move forward,” Smith added.

He said there have been “some conversations with the Great Miami Rowing Center about a potential partnership there.”

Kristen Riekert, co-president of the rowing center’s board, later said about that possibility: “Yes, we are hopeful to partner private/public with whoever ends up at 110 North B, and this developer has been inclined to be pro-us, and we’re thrilled about that.”

“It’s now about plugging in all the pieces and making it so, and turning it around pretty quickly as I know he has a deadline,” Riekert said.

She said the city has “been very, very generous in every possible way to say, ‘Hey, we want the rowing team to stay here. We want them to be on the river.”

A woman who lived in apartments that used to be located there until she was 21, told this media outlet in 2019 she was sad to hear of its demolished. Her grandfather had built it.

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“I have very fond, happy memories,” said Nancy Simkow. “Our house was like the summer resort.”

The city is seeing a boom of apartment construction along the Main Street corridor in particular, but also now in Lindenwald, spurred largely by financial incentives the city is giving developers.