The intersection of two main roads is prime real estate in most communities — there's easy access, high visibility and thousands of cars a day — but, two corners of North Bend Road and Hamilton Avenue haven't been the perfect location for anything for 17 years.
"In 2002, I think the community was like. 'What's going on?'" said Michael Cappel, president of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHURC). "'Cause all of a sudden, your three major corners at your Main on Main, where 34,000 cars a day go through, closed down."
Cappel said the corner used to be home to several popular establishments, including a Kroger store and Shuller's Wigwam restaurant. Both closed, and CHURC worked with the city of Cincinnati to figure out how they would revitalize the corner. It's been a slow process — 15 years slow.
Now, a deal is nearly finalized for a 7.5-acre development called College Hill Station.
"College Hill Station has been the vision of the community for more than a decade at this point," Cappel said.
That vision includes 10,000 square feet for commercial space and 170 multi-family residential units, according to Lassere Bradley, regional vice president of lead developer Pennrose Properties.
The company is based in Philadelphia but has offices in Cincinnati and has completed a number of similar projects across the country.
"We're trying to incorporate ample green space and places that not only the residents and people that live within the project and the property, but also the community at large can benefit from," Bradley said.
Ground breaking for the $26 million project is expected before the end of the year, and it is expected to be completed by 2021. The idea is to create a walkable business district with gathering spots such as coffee shops and breweries, some of which have already moved in along Hamilton Avenue.
"It's been a long time coming," said Doug Hinger, president of Traditions Building Group. "People want those places that they can walk to for coffee and beer and convenience whenever that is. And that, really, is the new amenity most people are looking for."
Traditions Building Group will build 30 brand new town homes in College Hill Station, similar to its other projects in Evanston, Northside and East Walnut Hills.
"We've done a series of projects called the City Series, which are all in walkable neighborhoods, and we've learn that that really is the goal for people," said Hinger.
The developers say they anticipate the apartment units and town homes will appeal to both empty-nesters and millennials.
"We're trying to build a great new development that kind of kits all of the various housing needs that we perceive that we need in College Hill," said Cappel.
CHURC has a number of development projects planned for Hamilton Avenue and other parts of the community. Cappel said basing the College Hill Station project at Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road creates an opportunity to spur more development and growth down the road.
"It's very imperative for us what College Hill will look like for the next 50 years," Cappel said.
CHURC hosts an annual meeting each year to reveal details and updates on what's happening with their many College Hill developments. The next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6.
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