Tuesday, February 09, 1999

City, riverfront firm millions apart

Jury will decide value of property

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        City of Cincinnati and Crosset Co. attorneys agree a parking lot is the best way to use the produce distributor's riverfront property at the northwest corner of Pete Rose Way and Central Avenue.

        But there's a huge difference in opinion when it comes to what the 91/4 acres needed to make room for Fort Washington Way ramps is worth.

        Crosset's old distribution center is on the land now, but ramps will cut across the property, making it most useful as a parking lot.

        Two Cincinnati appraisers studied the property. One says it's worth $3 million; the other, $6 million.

        An appraiser for the Crosset Co. figures the property is worth more than double that highest figure: $13.6 million.

        The company paid about $1.7 million for the land that is now across from the future Paul Brown Stadium.

        “The riverfront of Cincinnati ... is a revitalizing area,” Crosset Co. attorney Mark A. Vander Laan said in his opening statement Monday in Hamilton County Common PleasCourt. “Property values are not static.”

        Mark Vollman of the city solicitor's office said the property will be under highway bridges, is in a flood plain and is not considered a part of the heart of the downtown business district.

        “These are all things that nega tively impact the value of the property,” he said.

        A jury today will continue to hear evidence so it can decide how much the property is worth. Testimony is expected from appraisers explaining how they came up with their values.

        The trial won't affect the tight construction schedule for the $146.9 million Fort Washington Way overhaul, said Don Gindling, the city's construction manager for the project.

        Crosset Co., supplier of fruits and vegetables to groceries and others, relocated to Blue Ash in December.


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