Hamilton enters agreement for apartments, retail at historic mill site

Hamilton has entered a development agreement for a 100-apartment complex plus retail space at the Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Hamilton has entered a development agreement for a 100-apartment complex plus retail space at the Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Could be ‘a game changer’ for Lindenwald neighborhood.

Hamilton City Council this week authorized an agreement with Cincinnati-based development group Bloomfield/Schon to redevelop the historic Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill.

Planned are 100 apartments and retail spaces that may include restaurants and a microbrewery. The developers cautioned, though, that the project may take years to complete, as often is the case with historic work.

The well-regarded developers have returned to life such projects as the American Can Lofts in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood, a historic Ford Factory in its Walnut Hills neighborhood and Peters Cartridge Factory in Warren County, among several others.

Council suspended its rules requiring legislation be considered at two separate meetings and approved the $650,000 purchase of more than four acres at 651-661 Williams Ave. and 2350 Pleasant Ave., in the Lindenwald business district from TRW Industries and Thomas R. Wells.

In addition to the purchase cost, the city expects to face expenses of $100,000 per year for utilities at the building; $8,000 annually to insure the building for $7.18 million; and $6,000 a year for an onsite caretaker who also will provide security.

Minutes later, the city again suspended its two-meeting rule and agreed to sell the same property to Bloomfield/Schon for $1, in exchange for a commitment by the company to invest $20 million in the project.

In addition to the discount on the land, the city has committed to paying the developer $695,000 in incentives in coming years. If the developer cannot secure state Transformational Mixed-Use Development tax credits, city government also is obligated to additional incentives up to $1.5 million in coming years.

Lindenwald resident Richard “Dick” Scheid, who in recent meetings urged council to approve the project, was delighted by the decision. He said it’s great because it saves a 127-year-old building that was key to both Hamilton and the neighborhood, and because it can make the area more dynamic, once people fill the apartments that are planned.

Explore‘It’s like a grand old lady’: Developer wants to turn 127-year-old Hamilton mill into apartments and retail

Asked what he saw as the biggest benefit to the community with the deal, Scheid, who loves old buildings and history, said, “From my point of view, probably the historical preservation of the mill. I’m a big fan of old buildings, so that is the No. 1 for me. But for the community, it’s probably the development.”

Caption
Hamilton has entered a development agreement for a 100-apartment complex plus retail space at the Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Hamilton has entered a development agreement for a 100-apartment complex plus retail space at the Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Caption
Hamilton has entered a development agreement for a 100-apartment complex plus retail space at the Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in Lindenwald. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Also, ”the proximity to Miami University I think is going to bring some of the students in,” Scheid said. “I’m really pumped. We’ve worked on trying to get the mill on the (national) historic register several times, but we never were able to convince the owner to proceed” because the owner didn’t want to be constrained by limitations that status could bring.”

Scheid said he has “eaten many times at Ruth’s Parkside Cafe” in the Schon/Bloomfield development in the former American Can building. I have yet to get to the Peters Cartridge Factory in Maineville, out by Kings Island, but everybody I’ve talked to says you’ve got to go, so I’ll be going over there.”

Scheid said he is “pleased for the people of Lindenwald and the downtown, the people like Debbie Doerflein, who’s stuck it out a long time there, and has been a pioneer.”

Doerflein owns Heaven Sent, a group of businesses on Pleasant Avenue that includes a coffee shop, gift shop, religious bookstore, wedding chapel and banquet hall. She also has plans for another business across the street.

ExplorePlanners working to suggest better links between Lindenwald and Miami’s Hamilton campus

The city has been working to improve Williams Ave., to make it a more attractive area for students and others, so they’re more likely to walk and bike between Miami University’s Hamilton campus and Lindenwald businesses.

Assistant City Manager Mallory Greenham, who works on many economic-development projects, said she believes the woolen mill’s revival will be “a game changer for Lindenwald.”

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