East End development, Community Center financing hot topics for Middletown council

$200 million project still planned on 51 acres at Union Road, Ohio 122.

MIDDLETOWN — Millions of taxpayer dollars were discussed during this week’s City Council meeting as Middletown continues working toward two major construction projects in opposite ends of the city.

Council heard the first reading of two ordinances related to Renaissance Pointe in the East End and the Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center in the South End. Council will hear the second reading at the next meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 5.

The city needs to issue bond notes to pay off bonds that were issued last year for the $200 million Renaissance Pointe project and hire a construction manager of the renovations of the Community Center, city officials said.

One proposed ordinance authorizes a second issuance of bond anticipation notes (BANs) in order to pay off the initial series of BANs issued to finance the acquisition of nearly 51 acres at the southeast corner of Union Road and Ohio 122 and initial public infrastructure engineering design, according to Assistant City Manager Nathan Cahall.

He said the city issued about $6.6 million in BANs last year, and they are due this spring. Cahall said, according to City Council discussion late last year, the proposed plan is to partially pay down the BANs and then “roll over” the remaining amount of outstanding indebtedness for up to another year.

Cahall said the maximum debt issuance allowance is much less than the original BAN issuance because the city has approximately $1.7 million in excess tax incrementing financing (TIF) district funds in four surrounding TIF districts that were budgeted this year to help pay down the principal amount of debt.

Renaissance Pointe will include a 3,000-seat, multi-purpose Event Center, Class A retail and office, hotels, restaurants and a variety of residential products, according to developer Todd Duplain from Woodard Development, a Dayton-based commercial real estate firm.

The project would attract full-service, high-end hotels, premium and fast-food restaurants, townhomes that would sell in the $325,000 to $425,000 range and a medical complex that could complement the two East End hospitals, Atrium Medical Center and Kettering Health Middletown, according to Duplain.

City Manager Paul Lolli has been called it “a transformational” development.

Council also heard an ordinance related to a construction manager in charge of the Community Center renovation and expansion. The city solicited proposals from interested firms to serve as the construction manager at risk for the project and city staff selected Universal Contracting Corp. as the “best value firm,” according to the staff report.

The firm will be paid up to $10,000 from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund, according to city documents.

Cahall said the project at the Community Center originally was a partnership between the city and school district and was supposed to include the addition of a preschool educational facility.

But the district pulled out of the project due to the escalating costs. Board President Chris Urso has said the district received one bid for the project that was $4 million over projections.

Under this arrangement, Universal Contracting will work with the city’s design team to finalize the project’s plans, assist with value engineering, estimating, and other related pre-construction matters. At the conclusion of this part of the process, Universal Contracting will enter into a guaranteed maximum price agreement with the city for the construction of the project, according to Cahall.

Between $2.1 million and $2.6 million of the ARPA funds have previously been earmarked for the project. The project also has received financial assistance from the Butler County Commissioners ($3.5 million).

Cahall estimated the construction costs between $5.9 million and $6.4 million with a completion in the middle of 2025.

About the Author