The city of Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. are working to help attract new industrial and distribution businesses to a planned industrial park on Seward Road.
On Monday, Fairfield City Council approved an agreement among the city, township and Duke Realty to develop a state-of-the-art industrial park in the township, invest funds in improving Seward Road, and construct five buildings that would house between five and 12 businesses. The park is expected to contain between 1.7 million and 2 million square feet of warehouse, distribution center or light manufacturing buildings on the 193-acre site near Tylersville Road.
A major part of the development agreement is the split cost of widening and improving Seward Road, a two-lane street with no shoulders.
MORE: Butler County emergency crews prepare for Hurricane Florence duty
The plan is to double the width of a nearly three-mile stretch of Seward Road from Tylersville Road to the just north of the railroad tracks. The project would include a center turn lane and 2-to-4-foot shoulders. Work will also shave a hump in the roadway and soften a hard curve in the road, according to Fairfield Development Director Greg Kathman.
The township and city will each pay $250,000 for the roadwork, while Duke Realty will pay $600,000. The entities also plan to apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission grant for the remaining cost of the project.
“Together we think that will cover the cost of the $1.8 million (road) project,” Kathman said.
Duke Realty will pay for the engineering costs of the project and Fairfield will manage the construction, according to the agreement.
MORE: Everything you need to know about the state’s medical marijuana program
One major challenge of the project has been getting approvals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because a majority of the land is located in a floodplain.
Until FEMA and Duke Realty finalize the agreement, the company can’t do anything on the portion of the project that is within the floodplain. They are near completion of the first building, a 285,000-square-foot warehouse next to UDF on Seward Road, which is not in the floodplain.
Fairfield Twp. Administrator Julie Vonderhaar said while the project is challenging because it is in the floodplain, “these things are great opportunities for us to work together. It was very collaborative … and I look forward for more of these kinds of successes.”
Company officials are hopeful for the success of the industrial park.
“The main driver in Cincinnati industrial is I-75 and 275,” said Daniel Colletto, Duke Realty vice president of leasing and development. “This market, the Union Center, Tri-County industrial market has grown.”
But there’s not a lot of open land in this part of the county zoned for industrial and warehouse. This parcel is zoned for industrial in Fairfield Twp.’s comprehensive plan and the benefits are around it — housing, an available workforce and infrastructure.
Next up for the project is to submit the OPWC grant for the road project, the city and township finalizing a joint economic development district, and the township finalizing its tax increment financing agreement with Duke Realty. The township trustees’ next meeting is Sept. 19.