Wednesday, January 30, 2002

What's the Buzz?


Talks over properties continue

        The fate of Tom Denhart's properties in Over-the-Rhine isn't set in stone quite yet.

        Despite a contract to sell 201 apartment buildings to North American Properties and local businessman Tom Williams, there may be other out-of-town buyers still interested.

        And sources close to the talks said the Williams-Denhart deal, for slightly more than $13 million, is unlikely to be completed unless it is changed substantially.

        After the review period for the North American deal expires in mid-February, that could trigger an auction in bankruptcy court.

        None of the parties would comment. But one source said the effort to get the properties out of Mr. Denhart's control is just as important as the buyer.

        Downtown development types are thirsting after the Denhart units, hoping to use them to revitalize Over-the-Rhine.

        The deal includes properties owned by about 25 limited partnerships controlled by Mr. Denhart. They went bankrupt last year. It does not include buildings owned by another 17 limited partnerships that were not in the bankruptcy.

Kraft sponsors Classic

        Kraft Foods is about to become the next big sponsor of the Kroger Senior Classic.

        The food giant has agreed to a deal as a Premier Host Sponsor for the Senior PGA Tour event, which moves this fall to the TPC at River's Bend in Maineville.

        Sources put the contract at about $250,000 over three years, making Kraft the third-biggest sponsor after Kroger Co. and Firstar Bank.

City wooing Delta

        It won't get much public attention, but a flight to Atlanta soon will help shape the expansion of Cincinnati's downtown convention center.

        Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken and several corporate CEOs are trying to set up a meeting with Delta Air Lines CEO Leo Mullin to discuss the airline's $30 million contribution to the $198 million expansion.

        John Barrett of Western-Southern Life Insurance Co., George Schaefer of Fifth Third Bancorp and Dan Meyer, formerly of Milacron Inc., are slated to be the first wave to lobby Mr. Mullin.

        You might recall that Atlanta-based Delta pledged that money in 1999, when the project was almost twice as large. Many civic leaders regretted not asking for more, since Delta would recoup the investment in less than two years by flying in thousands more convention delegates.

        Since then, Delta has had other issues, like terrorism, security and a recession. But despite the convention wisdom that Delta will “pro-rate” the contribution, leaders here have high hopes they'll get the whole $30 million.

        “It'll be the Delta Convention Center whether it goes over the highway or not,” Mr. Barrett, chairman of the elite Cincinnati Business Committee, said. “I don't think they're giving up anything.”

        If you have a tip about Greater Cincinnati companies, email Cliff Peale at cpeale@enquirer.com or call 768-8573.

       



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