Liberty Center gets third management, marketing company in 4 years

A new commercial real estate firm is taking control of retail leasing, property management and marketing for Liberty Center.

Birmingham-based Bayer Properties was awarded third-party management of the 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use property. The move is the second management switch for the $350 million development. On Sept. 1, 2018, Chicago-based JLL took over management and leasing of the mixed-use development from Steiner + Associates, one of the project’s co-developers.

Located between Cincinnati and Dayton at Interstate 75's Liberty Way exit, Liberty Center includes 860,000 square feet of retail space, 75,000 square feet of Class A office space, 240 luxury apartments, 17 restaurants and a 130-room AC Hotel by Marriott, the region's first.

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“We are always looking for value-add opportunities where we can implement the Bayer factor and introduce exciting experiences to the communities we serve,” said Libby Lassiter, president of Bayer Properties, said in a news release. “Liberty Center brings a new opportunity for Bayer to continue creating places people love, and we look forward to having a positive impact on the surrounding market.”

Bayer Properties inherits a center that has seen several additions in the past year, most of them signed by Steiner + Associates before that Columbus-based firm’s exit in August 2018.

Equity partner Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., which provided a $165 million construction loan for Liberty Center, handed retail leasing and management of the project to JLL on Sept. 1, 2018. A series of openings followed, the majority of them coordinated by Steiner + Associates.

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MidPointe Library opened its fifth full-service branch in November 2018, and Le Macaron French Pastries opened a new location in December.

Design-your-own-dessert concept Molly’s Cupcakes and indoor skydiving attraction iFly opened in May, during which JLL also signed In the Game, a family entertainment center and restaurant that is scheduled to open by spring 2020.

JLL replaced Cantina Laredo after it closed in September with tequila and bourbon hall/ taco restaurant Agave & Rye in October.

But Bayer Properties will inherit at least three spaces that JLL did not fill during its time in charge of leasing: the former homes of The Gap, Rogers Jewelers and Lotus Pad Asian Cuisine, all of which closed this year.

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Founded in 1983, Bayer Properties owns or operates more than 10 million square feet of retail and office space across the United States.

Liberty Center is Bayer’s first property assignment in Ohio. With the addition of Liberty Center, Bayer has expanded its portfolio by more than 2 million square feet this year.

Liberty Center, which opened in October 2015, includes retail anchors Dillard’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as shopping, dining and entertainment options, including Cinébistro. The center also has two outdoor parks, a rooftop garden and two event spaces available for conferences, weddings and other events.

Steiner + Associates continues to be partners in AC Hotel by Marriott Cincinnati at Liberty Center, plus the mixed use project’s office and residential buildings.

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