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Cincinnati Children’s, Liberty Center to partner

The developer of the approximately $350 million Liberty Center project announced Thursday a new community partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Cincinnati Children’s, the largest employer in Liberty Twp., will provide programming and education for residents and guests of the retail complex, which is under construction now. The pediatric hospital will also co-program a Discovery Zone to open at Liberty Center, an interactive play area for children. Additionally, the health care provider will be a programming partner for an events center on site where the community can hold meetings, educational events, fundraisers and family gatherings and celebrations, according to developer Steiner + Associates.

“As we plan Liberty Center, we are trying to create a place that will become the civic, the social and the commercial hub of this whole region,” said Yaromir Steiner, founder and chief executive officer of the Columbus-based development company.

“You do that in three different ways. One way, you create a certain type of design and it’s not only the look of the building… it’s the placemaking,” Steiner said. “The second thing is you can create places but they can be dead. You need to bring them alive and to bring them alive, you need tenants and restaurants and users.”

“The third thing though, and this is the major announcement of today, in order to create the center, the civic and social center of the community, you need to program the spaces we have. Things have to happen in this place other than just commerce,” he said.

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Cincinnati Children’s is updating the hospital system’s strategic plan, and one area of focus is community health, said Bill Kent, senior vice president of infrastructure and operations. Greater Cincinnati has heath issues affecting large swaths of the population, such as asthma, infant mortality and childhood obesity, that the region needs to do a better job of addressing, Kent said.

“We all need to work together to conquer some of these problems we have,” Kent said. “I think the uniqueness of this is Liberty Center is more than a retail complex. It creates a community center that promotes family health and wellness.”

Liberty Center refers to the mixed office, residential, retail and dining center slated to open in October at the intersection of Ohio 129, Interstate 75 and Liberty Way.

Three anchor tenants — Dillard’s department store, dinner-and-movie theater CineBistro and Dick’s Sporting Goods — have been announced for Liberty Center along with AC Hotels by Marriott.

Estimates are for Liberty Center’s retailers, restaurants and other businesses to create approximately 3,500 new jobs in Butler County by 2018, according to Liberty Twp. Economic Development Director Caroline McKinney.

A pair of construction projects totaling more than $160 million are also underway at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus on Yankee Road, near the Liberty Center site. The Liberty Campus in Butler County opened in 2008 as a standalone pediatric hospital with emergency services.

Work is underway to build a fourth floor onto the hospital to accommodate about 30 new inpatient beds. Once complete this fall, there will be about 42 total inpatient beds for overnight stays.

Crews are also building a more than 80,000-square-foot proton therapy and research center for cancer treatment at the Liberty Campus. Proton therapy is expected to open in 2017.

Also Thursday, Liberty Center developers shared some street names inside the center.

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