BY THE NUMBERS
239: apartments available between two buildings at Liberty Center
75: percentage of apartments now occupied
60: number of new apartments to be added at Liberty Center
130: number of rooms at AC Hotel Cincinnati North/West Chester, which opened Feb. 2 at Liberty Center
65: acres being developed during Liberty Center's first phase
35: acres remaining to the west for future development
Source: Steiner + Associates
Mega mixed-use development Liberty Center, which has been open for almost one year, is planning for its next step in growth — more residential space and lodging options.
Steiner + Associates is looking to add two new hotels and 60 more apartments to the $350 million development, according to Beau Arnason, executive vice president for developer Steiner + Associates.
“What’s happened is we’ve always figured there would be more hotels on that 35 acres to the west but the interest in more hotels even trying to fit in within the existing 65 acres has really ramped up,” Arnason said. “The interest in the whole I-75, Liberty Way interchange is very strong. People want to be there.”
The two new hotels will join the 130-room AC Hotel Cincinnati North/West Chester, which opened in February at Liberty Center. Arnason said it is too early to announce what type or brand of hotels are being considered for the site.
Mark Hecquet, executive director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau, said added entertainment options in the region, as well as the Voice of America Athletic Complex and the expansion of medical facilities have “undoubtedly driven new visitor streams in our county and will continue to do so into the future.”
Hecquet also there’s the “huge significance” the business community plays in continuing to be a key year-round driver of business travelers particularly mid-week visitors.
Arnason said that out-of-town guests likely opt for Liberty Center, which offers easy access to a movie theater, restaurants and comedy club, over a hotel isolated from such attractions.
“That amenity of a town center is very, very strong for that hotel guest,” he said. “It gives them something else to do.”
It’s also a draw on a local level, Arnason said.
“If kids are playing a game of soccer at Voice of America, what do they do afterward?” he said. “Come over to Liberty Center and eat. I think it’s sort of the … complimentary nature of all of these different uses in the market.”
Liberty Center has two apartment buildings, The Fillmore and The Grant. The Fillmore's 150 multi-color apartments on Blake Street are above Starbucks toward the southern part of the property. The Grant — where the 60 new apartments will go — already has 89 units on Foundry Row just above The Gap.
The apartments are now at 75 percent occupancy and should be fully occupied by April, about two months ahead of schedule, Arnason said.
“That’s why we’re already planning an expansion,” he said. “We already know the market is there.”
The additional apartments and hotels are expected to create more ground-floor retail space at Liberty Center, which could eventually include as many as 500 residential units as part of an approved planned unit development, Arnason said.
As previously reported in the Journal-News, Aveda Salon, Children's Place, Homage, LensCrafters, Pure MD Lasers & Cosmetics and Talbots are among the latest businesses to move into Liberty Center in the coming months.
Liberty Center opened on Oct. 22 at the intersection of Ohio 129, Liberty Way and Interstate 75 in Liberty Twp. Anchor tenants include department store Dillard’s, the Tri-state’s largest Dick’s Sporting Goods store and movie theaters CineBistro and Cobb Liberty Luxury 15.