July is turning out to be a great month for Cincinnati’s Xavier University. On July 1st, Xavier officially entered the Big East, one of the premier athletic conferences in the country, fulfilling a 30-year plan for athletics to help put the university in the national spotlight. Now it’s getting ready to start work together with Messer Construction Co. and Ackermann Group on a long-delayed apartment and retail development at Montgomery Road and Cleneay Avenue, adjacent to the campus.
The project was initially announced in 2007. At that time, it was named Xavier Square, with Covington-based Corporex Cos. as the developer. But the plan was shelved in 2008, when the financial crisis hit. Xavier will now revive it, with a new development team and a new name: University Station.
Work will start in mid-July on the $54 million first phase of the project. It will create more than 350 jobs and is expected to be completed in August 2014. Phase One is a 315,000-square-foot mixed-use development on 15 acres. It calls for the construction of 40,000 square feet of office space, 35,000 square feet of retail, 900 parking spaces and a 225,000-square-foot, 480-bed, 180-unit apartment complex for Xavier students and local residents. An 11,000-square-foot college bookstore will sit at the corner of Montgomery and Cleneay.
The developers are in talks with prospective tenants for the office and retail space and expect to announce leases in the coming weeks. As the first phase of the project is being built, the developers will be working on Phase Two. It calls for more office and retail space and even a hotel.
University Station will be located on a 20-acre site partly in Cincinnati and partly in Norwood. It was once occupied by the BASF plant, Zumbiel Packaging and other smaller businesses. Xavier will continue to own the land and will lease it to a Messer/Ackermann entity for 95 years. The buildings and other improvements will also be owned by the developer.
According to the developers, funding for the project is already secured. University Station is being financed by a U.S. Bank loan and New Market Tax Credits from local and national sources. It will also use funds from a city of Norwood Tax Increment Financing District to help finance the required public improvements. The development team also includes Costandi Studio L.L.C. as the project’s architect, Humphreys & Partners L.P. as residential architect, The Kleingers Group as civil engineer, Martin Koepke Design as the landscape architect, with Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate in charge of retail leasing and CBRE Group Inc. in charge of commercial leasing.
Photo credits Xaveier University