‘Transformational’ $200M event center project moves ahead in Middletown

Retail, office space, hotels and restaurants all part of developer’s plans for 50-acre project.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

What has been called a “transformational” development at Ohio 122 and Union Road in Middletown’s East End continues to move forward with the approval of funding for infrastructure work.

Council last week passed an ordinance providing for the issuance of bond anticipation notes with the maximum principal of $14 million to pay the cost of engineering and multiple infrastructure improvement for the Renaissance Arena project.

The 50.86-acre mixed-use project will include a 3,000-seat, multi-purpose Event Center, Class A retail and office, hotels, restaurants and a variety of residential products, according to developer Todd Duplain from Woodard Development.

In late 2023, council approved legislation to allow City Manager Paul Lolli to enter into a final development agreement with Woodard and the Warren County Port Authority concerning the planned $200 million project.

“The city in partnership with Woodard development and the Port Authority is moving toward a timeline to bid things out in the next few weeks,” said Assistant City Manager Nathan Cahall last week. “Before a construction contract can recommended by staff and ultimately approved by council, we have to certify with the finance department that we have funds on hand, so we have to sell these notes parallel to that ... and start the underwriting process and enter into various agreements.”

The infrastructure improvements to the site include water mains, sanitary sewers and storm sewers, public roads and streets, curbs and gutters, grading, landscaping, according to staff reports.

The city has created a tax incrementing financing (TIF) district for the site and a new community authority to raise other supplemental revenues over time in support of the project, according to city documents.

The city, under the agreement, also agrees to transfer the project property to both Woodard Development and the Warren County Port Authority. The port authority has agreed to construct the Event Center and attached hotel that will act as the anchor for the development.

Woodard Development will be tasked with the development of the remainder of the site in accordance with the approved preliminary development plan.

The project would attract full-service, high-end hotels, premium and fast-food restaurants, townhomes that would sell in the $325,000 to $425,000 range and a medical complex that could complement the two East End hospitals, Atrium Medical Center and Kettering Health Middletown, according to Duplain.

Lolli has called the development “a destination location” that will draw visitors seeking entertainment, dining and shopping options off Interstate 75.

Contributing Writer Rick McCrabb contributed to this report

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