Stalled development project in Fairfield city, township brought back to life

Project could bring hundreds of new jobs to the area in the next few years

Years after Duke Realty pulled out of an agreement with Fairfield city and township, a new developer with a long history in the county will take over the speculative building project.

Al Neyer, a Cincinnati-based commercial real estate development firm, has partially acquired ― and plans to fully acquire ― a 146-acre site located in the 7900 and 8200 blocks of Seward Road in Fairfield Twp. The firm plans to develop a speculative industrial park on the site to be known as Fairfield Logistics Center. The project will include potentially three new buildings for e-commerce, general distribution, and manufacturing companies.

The first of the three buildings will be a 312,000-square-foot structure and would be finished by the first quarter of 2023. The second building would be 528,000 square feet and finished later in 2023. The third building, which would be the same size as the second, is dependent on the success of filling the second building, said Tom Wilson, director of Real Estate Development for Al Neyer.

Though this project was started by Duke Realty, which will maintain ownership of the existing 500,000-plus-square-foot building at 7950 Seward Road, Wilson said taking over projects “is one of the strengths of Al Neyer.”

“We’re able to get through projects a lot of people weren’t able to,” he said. “We do that all over the city and in the four markets that we’re in. We’re able to find creative ways to get through issues people weren’t able to figure out.”

And the market for Class A industrial distribution spaces like Al Neyer is planning, said John Bumgarner, senior vice president of Business Development for the company. "

“The industrial distribution space is very strong and it’s a good time to bring this product to market,” he said.

Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman said it was a company decision by Duke Realty to not sign the development agreements in 2018 already passed by the city and township At that time, the market was soft “and they thought it was going to be a multi-year project.”

“They basically had a limit of how much land they could hold for future development,” he said. Duke Realty was looking at holding nearly 150 acres of land at that time.

Though this project is in Fairfield Twp., within the city of Fairfield, nine projects have been announced or are underway totaling $175 million-plus of investments.

While the road will be maintained by the city after the project is completed, Al Neyer will conduct a traffic impact study to determine what roadway improvements are needed.

The city, township, and the developer have negotiated a Development Agreement, which will allow:

  • the city and township to create a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) at the project site. The city will collect a 5% administration fee off the top, then the township would collect 75% of the remaining income tax revenues generated and the city will collect the remaining funds. This agreement will be discussed at future City Council and Township Trustee meetings.
  • Al Neyer will be responsible for completing the widening Seward Road in front of the new development., and is estimated to be $1.35 million, and would be completed concurrently with building construction.
  • Fairfield will be responsible for intersection improvements at Seward and Tylersville roads. Fairfield Twp. would contribute $250,000 and Al Neyer will contribute $150,000. The city would pay the balance of the anticipated $1 million project expected to be substantially completed in 2023.
  • Fairfield will seek grant funding before the end of 2024 to realign and ease the back-to-back curves on Seward Road immediately south of the development. This is expected to be completed by 2026 unless funding is available earlier.

It’s anticipated Fairfield Twp. will have a tax increment financing agreement with Al Neyer, and will have a schools compensation agreement with Fairfield City Schools and Butler Tech.

“Based on the projected square feet, the development could create at least 425 to 725 new jobs within three years of completion of construction,” said Fairfield City Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin. “Anticipated future payroll is estimated to exceed $14.87 million to $25.37 million.”

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