Fairfield and the owner of a new industrial park in the city are optimistic the area can fill an employment void despite the potential departure of the city’s fifth-largest employer.
Fairfield Commerce Park, once the site of Liberty Mutual , is anticipated to attract 600 to 1,000 jobs as it constructs new buildings on the 137-acre Seward Road site. The site is designed to attract the e-commerce and light industrial industries.
Ambrose Property Group broke ground in mid-July on the new park, formerly known as the Liberty Mutual campus, on Seward Road. Liberty Mutual sold its property at 9450 Seward Road and the adjacent vacant land for more than $17 million in two transactions. Liberty Mutual will remain in the existing building until the lease expires this year.
By the end of the month, the first of potentially five new buildings will be completed. It’s a 246,480-square-foot structure that could be expanded to more than 300,000 square feet, according to Ambrose. The second building, a 300,560-square-foot structure , is expected to be completed by March.
“Things are moving quickly. If you drove by the site a year ago, it was still covered with trees.,” said Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin. “We think their rapid pace of construction here indicates really strong interest out in the market.”
Ambrose officials said that “interest has been strong in both buildings, but we have yet to sign any tenants.”
When Mutual Liberty leaves its Seward Road location, it will take an 800-employee base. Liberty Mutual is Fairfield’s fifth-largest employer, but in recent years had as many as 1,100 employees and ranked fourth among city employers, according to city records. Liberty Mutual has had its employees working from home since March 2020 and that will remain the case until at least June 1 this year. “At the appropriate time,” the company will move their employees to the new location on Waycross Road in Forest Park, according to company spokesman Glenn Greenberg.
Ambrose Property plans to invest up to $50 million in the project and that will include at least a third building, a 616,000-square-foot cross-dock speculative structure , according to company officials. Groundbreaking is set for the summer.
Plans for that building have been submitted to the city, and Kaelin said it will only need an internal approval.
The site is being pushed by Redi Cincinnati, which promotes economic development in the tri-state region. Andrea Pinho, Redi Cincinnati’s Site Selection and Real Estate manager, said Fairfield Commerce Park is “strategically positioned” ― less than 3 miles from Interstate 275 and accessible to the distribution corridors of Interstates 71, 74 and 75. Also, she said, the site is accessible “to top talent, interstate highways and CVG Airport.”
“Fairfield is a business-centric community and boasts roughly 1,800 businesses from small to Fortune 500,” she said. “The Cincinnati region as a whole is a strong economy, made up of strong communities and businesses. We are uniquely positioned, connected and diversified to support business growth.”
Michael D. Pitman has been a reporter in southwest Ohio since 1999. He's covered local governments in Warren and Butler counties, as well as state and national issues. He currently covers the cities of Fairfield and Hamilton.