Hamilton business trend: Entrepreneurs seek to fill opportunities

Chamber CEO: Business diversity offers well-rounded economic, entertainment base.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A pair of businesses have plans for very different projects for Hamilton, which means more jobs and more people coming to the City of Sculpture.

For the past dozen years, and especially in the last few years, there was a frenzy of development projects being planned and opening. And while there are still projects under construction, like The Well House Hotel on South Monument Avenue, and projects being planned, like the Crawford-Hoying development on North Third and Black streets, the trend now and moving forward are projects that are more intentional opportunities.

“What you see now is people looking at opportunities that exist and getting them filled in,” said Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Those gaps in business needs are being filled now, like with The 513 Bar providing more live entertainment and Shooters Sports Grill providing a sports bar.

The development by Tandem Ventures LLC, owned by Jess Allman, will bring in more fine dining to the city at 20 and 26 S. Third St. Also, Logistix Property Group is planning to build a new data center, pending the sale of the land, at Grand Boulevard and Pleasant Avenue.

Bates said the city has more diversity in its business community and a more well-rounded economic and entertainment base, allowing people to be more selective, “looking at what opportunities are going to be the most successful.”

“It’s not just people coming to Hamilton for one thing,” he said.

The city is looking to back the Tandem Ventures project, not unlike what they did for the Marcum Apartments and Rossville Flats. Though those were larger in both scope and budget, Tandem Ventures is still looking to create eight apartments downtown with fine-dining opportunities through its tenant operator Jackelope Spirits, which is planning two commercial ventures on South Third Street.

Later this month, Hamilton City Council members will consider a resolution that would provide a local tier tax abatement through the Community Reinvestment Area for Tandem Ventures, which is expected to receive a vote next week.

The plan is to renovate two adjacent vacant buildings at 20 and 26 S. Third St. in downtown Hamilton. The project is estimated to cost $3.94 million and, based on the CRA proposal, would employ six people for full-time positions and 14 for part-time jobs.

Allman told the Journal-News on Friday that Jackelope Spirits will be the tenant operator for the commercial space, and the company has plans for two high-end concepts that feature food and drinks.

“This has been a long-time dream,” Allman said. “Hamilton is such an amazing community, and we’re excited. We are proud of being a part of the Hamilton renaissance, and the timing for the project works. Everything just kind of lined up.”

Once construction is completed ― which is expected to begin in July and finish in less than a year ― Tandem Ventures must meet the minimum job requirements within three years. In exchange, it would receive a 50% abatement for a dozen years for the restaurant space. The city is also offering a 100% abatement for 12 years for the residential component of the project.

The tax abatement for this project is similar to other projects that include a residential component within the CRA boundaries, including the apartment buildings of Rossville Flats and the Marcum Apartments, Gunderson said.

Bates said Allman is doing this project “top-notch,” and “I think it’s going to be a winner and a unique space.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Just a little bit south of downtown Hamilton, the city is considering selling a 29-acre parcel located in the eastern area of University Commerce Park for a data center development. A pending agreement shows the city will sell the property at $65,000 an acre to Logistix Property Group, which is planning a $15 million investment.

Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson said given the nature of the data center business, the end user “will definitely be a good electric consumer for the city,” calling it “a sophisticated operation.”

It’s expected the annual electric load for the data center ― a room or building that houses IT infrastructure ― would consume about 15 megawatts annually when it’s fully operational.

The plan for the building will be about 100,000 to 150,000 square feet, depending on how the building is oriented on the land. Gunderson said there’s been a lot of interest in the city for data centers recently “from individuals seeking to identify land.”

He said the trending focus in data centers is looking at secondary and tertiary markets and searching for sites with the appropriate infrastructure, starting with power availability. Hamilton is the only municipality in Ohio that owns and operates the four major utilities, which include electric, natural gas, water and wastewater.

Logistix founder Doug Swain said there’s been growth in the data center market,

The number of jobs that would be created will be dependent on the end user that leases the building, Swain said. He said that job count is often tied to the amount of power needed. However, the pay scale for jobs at a data center tends to trend on the higher end compared to jobs in the industrial and distribution types of businesses.

Bates said data centers don’t tend to have a large staff because they don’t need them, but “they do have a high-level, high-quality, well-paid employee base.” Those employees are likely to seek places to live in Hamilton, but also go to fine-dining places like Tanos, Basil and other entertainment ventures, like the one on South Third Street.

The property legislation will be before the council on June 26 and July 10, with a vote expected to happen at the second of the two meetings.

About the Author