The center announced the opening of the Elevate Office Suites co-working space on the second level of The Foundry in February, but Taylor said permitting has slowed construction. The 26,170-square-foot space will include flexible co-working spaces, private office suites and high-tech conference rooms. Construction is planned at the beginning of 2022 with an expected opening in the spring.
Liberty Center has been hit hard financially in recent years and asked the Butler County auditor’s office for a total property value reduction of $73 million this year. The new owners Apollo Global Management also wants to change the character of the development by switching a planned anchor store to apartments.
The county commissioners and Liberty Twp. trustees have been working with Apollo for months, trying to work out a deal that would bolster the finances of the center during these bleak retail times. Those talks ended last month with no agreement.
Part of the negotiations included the county offering to pay the center $6.8 million over six years in lieu of Apollo seeking property value reductions. In the midst of the negotiations Liberty Center applied for two value reductions, one of the mandated 2020 reevaluation and a second taking advantage of a new law that allows companies to seek relief based on the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor said he could not comment on those issues.