Middletown council to consider plan for $1.3B riverfront development

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

City: ‘Hollywoodland’ would include riverfront, parts of downtown and attract millions.

Middletown City Council will hear the first reading of emergency legislation that could lead to a “monumental” project that could transform the downtown and attract millions of tourists annually to the city, according to the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Because of the number of items on the agenda, including the full presentation of the riverfront destination entertainment district and theme park, the city’s non public safety budget, and repairs on the Ohio 122 bridge, the meeting started at 5 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than normal.

About 20 Middletown residents, including former Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan, spoke tonight against the plan. There were 23 citizens comments, and since there is a three-minute limit per comment and a 60-minute total limit for comments, council had to waive the limit.

T. Duane Gordon, who lives on South Main Street, said he and his husband, Matthew, purchased their home 14 years ago. He said their residence and business properties are less than 100 feet from the proposed development.

“It will impact us deeply at home and work,” he said.

Gordon said the city posted the 94-page work packets around 7 p.m. Friday and that was “very disrespectful” to residents.

Main Street Community Capital and its development partners are expected to make a presentation tonight on the mixed-use development called “Hollywoodland.”

The emergency legislation will have two readings: tonight and Oct. 21, according to the agenda.

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

The project, if approved by city council, is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, the city said. It will include nearly 11 acres of city-owned land near the Great Miami River and encompass more than 50 acres of the historic downtown.

The city said the project could lead to thousands of jobs, and the “unprecedented spin-off and multiplier affect” of millions of yearly visitors to downtown Middletown.

The proposed project could result in “dramatically increased” long-term revenues to the community in the form of recurring income taxes, property taxes, and other associated fees, the city said.

“‘Hollywoodland’ can truly transform the community to make Middletown a destination – both regionally and nationally.” according to the staff report.

Late last year, the city started focusing attention on the transformational redevelopment of the city-owned 10.98-acre along the riverfront. In March City Council approved spending $250,000 on a redevelopment study to determine if a large-scale, hospitality and destination entertainment-focused project could be “economically viable and sustainable,” the city said.

The city expects to expend $700,000 to $800,000 more in legal, engineering, lobbying and professional consulting services and activities in support of the public improvements, according to the staff report.

The city expects to utilize $7.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds toward pre-construction design, engineering, financial structuring, and other pre-closing and due-diligence efforts.

Other items on the City Council agenda: A resolution authorizing City Manager Jim Palenick to enter a contract with the State of Ohio, Department of Transportation for the rehabilitation of the Ohio 122 bridge over the Great Miami River; and an ordinance authorizing an extension of the contract with CBM Managed Services, now known as Summit Food Service, for jail food service in 2022.

The ‘Hollywoodland’ development is expected to include:

  • A destination hotel and attached, publicly-owned convention center with roof-top bar, themed restaurant and assorted amenities.
  • A second, family-oriented hotel and water park.
  • A third, historic, boutique hotel located within the adaptively-redeveloped First National Bank building.
  • A major, indoor entertainment and concert venue for large, nationally and internationally-acclaimed artists and touring Broadway productions.
  • An indoor amusement park containing multiple, themed entertainment-based rides, virtual reality experiences, immersive entertainment opportunities and integrated retail, food and beverage.
  • Structured and integrated underground deck-based publicly-owned parking with more than 3,000 spaces.
  • On-site, mid-rise, luxury, market-rate apartment units and/or condominiums.
  • Permanent, pre-and post-production motion picture studio sound stages and support offices and infrastructure.
  • Multiple, restaurants, bars, brew-pubs, and cafes and a likely comedy club.
  • Integrated fashion, electronic, lifestyle, convenience and recreational retail.
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED

Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Artist renderings of the proposed "Hollywoodland" development in downtown Middletown, which city officials say would bring $1.3 billion in investment and thousands of jobs to the city. CONTRIBUTED