Developer of mixed-use project: ‘We’re not selling apartments. We’re selling Hamilton’

The opening of a mixed-used development’s first residential and retail tenants this summer in downtown Hamilton is expected to have a significant and lasting economic effect on the city.

The Marcum, which features 103 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space, is set to welcome its first tenants this July, according to Jim Cohen, president of the project’s developer, Blue Ash-based CMC Properties.

The residential portion of the project, which is located across from the Courtyard by Marriott and the brand-new Marcum Park, is 55 percent pre-leased, Cohen said.

Rental rates range from $910 for a one-bedroom apartment to $1,530 for a three-bedroom, he said. Those rates have fluctuated since pre-leasing began on the project as demand has waxed or waned for various floors or apartments.

The Marcum adding between 150 and 200 new people living downtown is “significant on many fronts,” according to Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith.

“First, the additional foot traffic assists our small businesses with more frequent customers, which makes them more sustainable,” Smith told the Journal-News. “Second, the more people walking in the downtown after work hours helps with the safety perception.”

“Finally, workforce is very tight. The Marcum is a mixed-use amenity most communities don’t have. This will attract professional people, which we continue to need with the various accounting, legal, creative and other professional jobs which have located here in the past few years,” he said.

Opening in the retail component of The Marcum this summer will be Tano Bistro & Catering, The Casual Pint and Revive Salon.

“I have been looking to open a salon in Hamilton for years and as soon as I heard about the Marcum project, I knew this was the place I wanted to be,” Revive Salon owner Gina Stitzel said. “Along with all the activity at the Marcum Park with the concerts, Hamilton Flea, festivals and other events creates the perfect atmosphere I have been looking to be a part of. I am excited to be actively involved and contribute to that great atmosphere.”

Jody Gunderson, the city’s economic development director, said a diverse mix of housing options is something that is important for any vibrant city.

“In the past few years, we have enjoyed a significant increase in small businesses, restaurants, craft breweries, and developments like Marcum Park in our downtown corridors,” Gunderson said. “This kind of environment has become increasingly important in attracting both millennials and baby boomers who are seeking to find that live-work-play way of life.”

That has prompted the need for additional housing options to suit a wide range of ages and tastes and has become an important part of the city’s strategic planning, he said.

“The Marcum Apartments is another great recruitment tool to help build a sustainable community here in Hamilton,” Gunderson said.

A city needs people living downtown “putting feet on the street” to bring additional shops and restaurants, he said, adding that it also needs businesses open and activities happening to motivate individuals to live there.

“One of the key assets Hamilton has going for us is a real demand for both downtown living and small business ownership, which is a great position to be in,” Gunderson said.

The Marcum is very similar in nature to what CMC Properties did in downtown Loveland and Milford on the Little Miami River, Cohen said. As far as a city within the Greater Cincinnati area, “you can’t top” Hamilton, he said.

“The architecture is second to none,” he said. “When you couple that with the Great Miami River, a beautiful, brand-new park directly across the street, a 100-plus-year-old YMCA … right next door, the Fitton Center for the Arts. If you think of the facilities that are existing in downtown Hamilton, they’re incomparable. “We’re not selling the apartments,” he said. “What we’re selling is Hamilton.”

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