Development funding secured for Cincinnati-Norwood collaborative project near Xavier University

Locally headquartered firms Messer Construction Co. and Ackermann Group are pleased to announce that funding is secured and construction site preparation will soon begin for University Station, the mixed-use development site at Montgomery Road and Cleneay Avenue, adjacent to Xavier University.

The project is being financed by a lead loan from U.S. Bank and through an allocation of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) from local and national sources currently being finalized. In addition, the project will use funds from a City of Norwood Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District to help finance the required public improvements. Construction fencing will be in place in early July as the team gets ready to begin the project.

The newly named University Station has been in the making for the last two years. Messer, Ackermann and Xavier have been working together to plan the development, meeting with city and community leaders, and University leadership.

“We’ve worked very closely with Xavier University as well as leaders from the cities of Norwood and Cincinnati and Evanston Community Council to fulfill our vision for a revitalized Montgomery corridor,” says Dobbs Ackermann, CEO of Ackermann Group.

Conceived and designed as a pedestrian-friendly urban space by Messer and Ackermann, Ackermann says he believes this will be far more than a standard mixed-use development.

“University Station will be a catalyst for the continued visual and economic improvement of the Norwood, Evanston and Avondale communities, and a connector that links the communities to Xavier University,” he says.

According to Liz Blume, director of the Community Building Institute at Xavier and a former planning director for the City of Cincinnati, planning for the project has been very collaborative.

“Xavier has worked with Messer and Ackermann as well as representatives from Norwood, Evanston and Avondale to design the ideal, walkable, mixed-used development for our neighborhood,” she says. “We’re thinking about the kinds of uses that will serve the University and the larger community, things like new restaurants, a bank, our book store being more accessible to the community — things that will improve the amenities available to everyone who lives nearby.”

University Station will be located on a 20-acre site that used to be home to the BASF plant, Zumbiel Packaging and other smaller businesses.

The land will continue to be owned by XUPROP CO and leased for 95 years to a Messer / Ackermann entity with the buildings and other improvements owned by the developer as well. The project is an off-campus project intended to serve the University and larger community and create a welcoming environment for the whole neighborhood.

Phase One is a $54 million, 315,000-square-foot mixed-use development on 15 acres connected by a neighborhood street grid. It will include 40,000 square feet of office space, 35,000 square feet of retail —11,000 square feet for the Xavier University bookstore — 900 parking spaces and a 225,000-square-foot, 480-bed, 180-unit apartment complex serving the Xavier and local community. The developer is working with several prospective tenants for the office and retail space and expects to announce leases in the next several weeks.

As Phase One comes out of the ground the development team will be working to create the second phase of University Station, which will include significant additional office space, more new retail and possibly a hotel on the remaining 300,000 square feet of property.

Construction for University Station has been awarded to Messer and is expected to begin in mid-July. More than 350 jobs will be created over the course of the first phase of the development, which is slated to open in August 2014.

Project partners include:
Developer: Ackermann Group and Messer Construction Co.
Construction: Messer Construction Co.
Architect: Costandi Studio, LLC
Residential Architect: Humphreys & Partners, LP
Civil Engineer: The Kleingers Group
Landscape Architect: Martin Koepke Design
Retail leasing: Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate
Commercial leasing: CBRE

About Messer Construction Co. Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects. Founded in 1932, Messer has built a premier reputation through outstanding construction experiences and value with a focus on health care, life sciences, higher education and industrial markets. An employee-owned company, Messer ranks nationally as one of the premier health care builders and Top 100 largest contractors. Messer was honored with the 2009 International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence by the Council of Better Business Bureaus for superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers and surrounding communities. In fiscal 2012, Messer put in place more than $792 million in commercial construction.

About Ackermann Group Ackermann Group is a third generation real estate company based in Cincinnati, Ohio that focuses on real estate acquisitions, urban redevelopment and property management operations. Ackermann Group strives to be among the most respected real estate companies in the region by providing lasting value to communities, residents, businesses, and investors through integrity, reliability and commitment. Ackermann Group’s mission is to foster renewed viability and profit for underperforming or underdeveloped real estate assets through strategic, long-term partnerships. By initiating and cultivating relationships between public and private entities, the company facilitates the redevelopment and long-term stabilization of real estate assets. Capabilities include acquisitions of commercial real estate; development of residential, commercial, retail, and mixed-use projects; residential and commercial property management; and receivership services.

About Xavier University Xavier University is a private university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, providing a liberal arts education in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition. Founded in 1831, the university is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks it No.4 among master’s-level universities in the Midwest, and The Princeton Review names it as one of the “Best 377 Colleges in America.”