Luxury apartment community planned in Middletown

A Kentucky developer could start construction as early as this spring on Nicholas Place, a $20 million, 216-unit apartment community on South Towne Boulevard.

Middletown Planning Commission on Wednesday approved the preliminary site plan. A public hearing before City Council has been set for Feb. 17.

The land was previously approved several years ago for a similar-sized apartment community.

If approvals are granted, the company said it plans to close on the land purchase and break ground as early as this spring, with the first apartments ready for occupancy in 2016.

The Middletown site has 22.4 acres and will have nine buildings with 24 units, each of two- and three-bedroom apartments. The average unit will have about 1,145 square feet of floor space and 95 percent will have brick exteriors.

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“We’re a builder of luxury apartment communities with all of the amenities,” said Tonya Burns of Fred Burns Builder Development Team. “We are the owner, and we provide the on-site management. We’re not an absentee owner and that’s good for the city. We take pride in what we do.”

The community would include amenities such as a pool, clubhouse/fitness room, playground, garage spaces, community garden and basketball court. Of the 216 planned units, plans call for 144 two-bedroom units and 72 three-bedroom units. Burns declined to give a specific price point for the units, but did say they would be market rate.

Burns said she found the site by chance as the company had searched the internet for possible locations in southwest Ohio. After driving around, Burns said they came across the Middletown property and called the broker.

“We’re excited about this,” Burns said. “It’s our first project in Ohio.”

The family-owned company has developed a number of properties of this size and just completed a similar-sized luxury apartment community in LaGrange, Ky., just outside of Louisville.

She said the company currently owns in excess of 1,200 units in seven properties in Kentucky, including four apartment properties in Northern Kentucky communities of Florence, Independence and Burlington.

Burns was at Wednesday’s meeting and said the community has been very welcoming to her and her company.

At Wednesday’s planning commission, there was no opposition raised during the meeting. However, one resident, Kevin Banks, of Arbor Court in the Bridgewood Villas subdivision south of the proposed complex, sent the commission a letter opposing the project.

In addition to having such a large apartment community located near his home, Banks wrote that the city’s infrastructure is weak and overburdened as street, police and fire services cannot support what is already in the community.

“Why would the city support adding strains to already stretched city services?” he said in the letter. “Focus should be on repairing and re-striping Towne Boulevard and Union Road, and (the) removal of the eyesore empty buildings on Commerce Drive from Middletown’s last annexation.”

According to Planning Commission documents, the site also has another 8.39-acres that is also being planned for retail development. That part of the city is served by the Lebanon City School District.

The site was originally approved for a similar-sized apartment community that was to be called Wellington Manor in 2007 and an expansion was approved in 2008. The Planning Commission and City Council approved a new development plan in 2011, but no construction ever began on the site.

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