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Nov. 18, 2013

Cincinnati-Area College Developments Receive Funding, Expected to Boost Local Economy

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

This July, Xavier University, together with Messer Construction Co. and Ackermann Group, broke ground on a long-delayed apartment and retail development at Montgomery Road and Cleneay Avenue, adjacent to the university’s campus. With a $53 million first phase, the University Square project recently received some help from the Finance Fund. It was awarded $8 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits.

The project was initially announced in 2007, and at the time was named Xavier Square. It was shelved in 2008 due to the financial crisis, but Xavier revived it this year, with a new development team and a new name. University Station will be located on a 20-acre site in Cincinnati and Norwood.

Phase I calls for the construction of 176 housing units for students, 39,000 square feet of retail, 46,000 square feet of office and more than 1,000 parking spaces on a 15-acre site. Some of the housing units will be affordable units for qualifying neighborhood residents. Phase I is expected to be completed by August 2014. It will create 350 full-time jobs and 200 construction jobs in an area that, according to the Finance Fund, has a poverty rate of 32.8 percent and an unemployment rate approaching 10 percent.

“We are pleased to provide $8 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing for such an impactful project,” said Finance Fund President & CEO James Klein in a statement for the press. “University Station is a cornerstone of economic development for this area and will support further expansion and job creation by attracting additional private investment.”

To the south, in nearby Covington, another college is also working on a development project expected to boost the local economy, and it has also received financial aid in recent weeks. The Gateway Community and Technical College has received a $100,000 grant from the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts for its Urban/Metro Campus project.

Gateway has now raised more than $2.6 million of the $5 million initial amount set by the Gateway Foundation to support the Urban/Metro Campus development and scholarships. The college has also invested $350,000 in the campus master plan and $10 million for the development of Phase I.

At a cost of more than $81 million, the project calls for the renovation of seven buildings and the construction of a new facility over the next three to six years. When finished, it will help make college education more accessible to Northern Kentucky residents. Phase I has already started, with the renovation of the former Marx Furniture store into the Gateway Design and Technology Center.

“This campus is crucial to the economic development of the region by creating a ready workforce, helping families out of poverty through higher-wage jobs and boosting the economy with new business development around the campus area,” said Heidi Jark, managing director of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank, in a statement for the press.

Photo credits: Finance Fund

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