Atrium Medical Center is the latest in a string of buyers snapping up land along Interstate 75 in Butler County near an area envisioned as a Millikin Interchange.
The hospital, which is part of the Dayton-based Premier Health hospital system, bought nearly 96 acres sandwiched north of Millikin Road sandwiched between Cincinnati-Dayton Road and I-75 in Liberty Twp. last month.
Michael Uhl, the hospital’s president, confirmed the purchase but said it had “no development plans for this property at this time.”
The envisioned interchange is about 2 miles north of the $43 million Liberty Way Interchange, which opened Oct. 7, 2009.
A Millikin Interchange should generate the same level of growth that the Liberty Way Interchange did, if not more, depending on “the economic situation and how things change over the next few years,” Liberty Twp. Trustee Christine Matacic said.
The Liberty Way interchange spurred the $350 million Liberty Center mega retail project, which opened in October 2015, and the $62 million Christ Hospital Medical Center-Liberty Township, which opened in January, as well as hotels. A mixed-use project anchored by medical office use, including a TriHealth medical facility is in the works in neighboring West Chester Twp. near the interchange. Cincinnati Children’s $83 million Liberty Campus opened the year before the Liberty Way Interchange opened.
Atrium purchased the land for $3.5 million from Pilgrim REO LLC.
Other investors have been buying land in the same area, approximately 100 acres of it. In April, Liberty Heights Church sold a vacant, surplus property to Mayhew Village LLC, and in February, a neighboring property sold to Madala Investments for $1.7 million.
“It’s like anything else. Once they hear that there’s potential for an interchange there, there are some people who like to speculate a little bit,” Matacic said. “When you take a look at our land use plan, that whole corridor is for commercial growth, so I think it would make sense that investors would show an interest in that.”
A plan laying out the vision for the area shows it could include everything from offices, entertainment, restaurants, hotels and light industrial in appropriate locations, she said.
“It’s a combination of a lot of mixtures of things that complement each other and would work well in this community and would bring jobs to the community,” Matacic said.
With 1,433 employees as of the end of 2017, Atrium Medical Center is Middletown’s second largest employer and is among the largest employers in Warren and Butler counties.
Mary Boosalis, Premier Health’s president and CEO, said at the Nov. 8 ceremony that preceded the opening of the facility, that the I-75 Growth Corridor is “so important” to the changing nature of both health care and business in the region.
The closest Premier Health facility is Premier Health Liberty Township Medical Office Building, a 13,000-square-foot facility at 6615 Cincinnati-Dayton Road that includes primary care providers and specialty services.
An 18,000-square-foot Premier Health facility just down the road from Monroe’s I-75 exit is scheduled to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 6.