Large apartment project planned for former Beckett Paper site

Hamilton is considering giving aid to a development of more than 200 apartments in the former Beckett Paper facility, which is believed to be the first paper mill west of the Allegheny mountains. PROVIDED
Caption
Hamilton is considering giving aid to a development of more than 200 apartments in the former Beckett Paper facility, which is believed to be the first paper mill west of the Allegheny mountains. PROVIDED

Hamilton City Council tonight is scheduled to officially learn about a proposed redevelopment of part of the former Beckett Paper Co. complex into at least 250 apartments, a project officials believe will revitalize the city’s Dayton Lane neighborhood.

It’s also close to the North End neighborhood, which the city hopes to revitalize.

The 6.7-acre site is at the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Dayton Street, with several historic buildings. Hamilton staff is recommending city government purchase the property for $1.5 million from Simfall LLC, owners since 2015.

Beckett Paper, formed in 1848, is believed to be the first paper mill west of the Allegheny mountains.

“We’re working on a development agreement right now with some developers,” City Manager Joshua Smith recently told council’s finance committee. “The terms have all been agreed to. It’s now the development-agreement language.”

Smith said the project would include a “$60 million hard-cost investment, $10 million soft-cost investment,” with “at least 250 market-rental-rate apartments.”

And the city is hoping for more to happen on the 6.7-acre site, he said “That’s just a Phase 1 development.”

This was Hamilton's Beckett Paper mill, in 1914. It is believed to be the first paper mill west of the Allegheny mountains, according to the Butler County Historical Society, which shared this image. PROVIDED
Caption
This was Hamilton's Beckett Paper mill, in 1914. It is believed to be the first paper mill west of the Allegheny mountains, according to the Butler County Historical Society, which shared this image. PROVIDED

The city has performed Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental studies on the site, he said. “So I’m feeling this is lining up very nicely. This I think is a huge opportunity, not only for the downtown, but I think it’s a huge opportunity for Dayton Lane. It’s an anchor going into Dayton Lane.”

“The historic districts have seen a lot of positive energy in recent years,” Smith continued. “This will be a huge win, I believe, for the Dayton Lane Historic District.”

City staff have not revealed the name of the developers. A memo to council said only that the project is “comprised of developers in the region who have been successful in large redevelopment projects similar to this proposed development.”

It would mark the second major redevelopment of a paper mill in Hamilton, along with the former Champion Paper mill site, which now is being converted into Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, an immense indoor sports complex that will be the country’s largest, along with a convention center.

Spooky Nook is now scheduled to open in the spring of 2022.

ExploreSpooky Nook progressing in Hamilton, but plenty of work to go: Here’s the latest

Renters of those apartments would be natural customers for shops, restaurants and bars that are opening in the downtown area and Main Street. Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Dan Bates this week said such residents, like those who will live at the 76-apartment Rossville Flats that had its groundbreaking this week, are “built-in customers” for Hamilton businesses.

Rossville Flats was the first new housing development begun along Main Street, in the Rossville neighborhood, in more than 100 years.

ExploreWork on Rossville Flats set to begin; complex on Main Street to open in 2023

The city also is working with developer Bloomfield/Schon to transform the 127-year-old Shuler & Benninghofen Woolen Mill in the Lindenwald neighborhood into 100 apartments and shops.

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

The Third+Dayton complex, which once was filled with Ohio Casualty employees, now is filling with apartments and shops. The city also has been helping finance projects that restore apartments on upper levels of buildings along Main Street.

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