Hamilton nearing deal for 100-apartment project downtown

A long-sought sort of housing development that Hamilton officials believe can serve as a launch pad for new residential living in the downtown area may be close to reality.

CMC Properties of Blue Ash is planning to build a development with approximately 100 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space immediately south of the under-construction Marcum Park and immediately east of Courtyard by Marriott downtown.

“The city has been working to create this type of development on this property for over a decade,” said City Manager Joshua Smith. “In the mid-2000’s, Towne Properties had the property under contract. When the financial crisis of 2008 hit, they went away.

“Since 2010 the City has been actively working with reputable development companies who have a strong history of delivering this type of product,” Smith added. “We believe CMC Properties is a perfect match.”

Smith said City Council likely will consider providing assistance to the project at its meeting Wednesday (when there may be a first reading of legislation) and Sept. 14 (the possible second and final reading).

Smith and four members of Hamilton City Council last month took a trip to CMC Properties' three-story Loveland Station project in downtown Loveland. People there say that project, which houses a Graeter's store and other retail spaces, already is sparking downtown growth.

“This development will be the next step in our downtown revitalization efforts,” Smith said, via email, about the 1.59-acre property the city refers to as 115 Dayton St. “We have seen significant investment downtown — over $50 million — in the past six years.

“This project will be north of a $12 million investment,” he said. “The biggest impact, however, is adding at least 100 new residents in our downtown which will be a boon for our small businesses and will assist in filling the 3,000-plus jobs which have been created in Hamilton the past few years.”

The city's downtown has been experiencing an economic rebirth. Municipal Brew Works opened in June in the former municipal building, and Colorado-based StarTek opened a call center last year in the former Elder-Beerman building at 150 High St., and continues to expand its operations there. The CORE Fund, meanwhile, has been redeveloping buildings in the downtown core, on both sides of the Great Miami River.

Jim Cohen of CMC Properties was in a conference out of the city and said he was unable to comment Tuesday.

Here are some terms of the proposed development agreement:

  • The city will sell the land for $100.
  • The developer will create the proposed mixed-use development, consisting of 80 to 100 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial spaces, plus a parking area of 150 to 250 parking spaces, some of which are to be built by the city and serve as public spaces. Work is expected to start next year and completion in 2018, according to Smith.
  • The city agrees to abate all real-estate taxes connected with the apartments for 15 years; and 50 percent of the taxes connected with the retail spaces or offices for 15 years.
  • The city also agrees to vacate about half a nearby Magnolia Street property to aid the development.
  • In approving the proposed development agreement, council would obligate the city to expenses estimated to be valued at $1.7 million, according to a staff report created by the Economic Development Department.

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