Thursday, May 20, 2004

Housing, shops near UC praised as model for area

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Proponents of Calhoun Marketplace describe the retail and housing project at the southern edge of University of Cincinnati as a model for future development near the university.

UC President Nancy Zimpher, Mayor Charlie Luken and neighborhood leaders lauded the ambitious project's progress at a dedication ceremony Wednesday.

Crews expect to finish construction this fall on two buildings that will house 750 students and offer 45,000 square feet of street-level shop space.

The first phase will cost about $90 million. It includes a 1,100-plus space garage that will open by the end of the year, according to Tom Samuels, a Higgins Development executive vice president who is overseeing the project.

Plans also call for 241 condos, 18 townhouses, more shops and a park on both sides of Calhoun Street.

But the mixed-use development spearheaded by the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. still faces significant hurdles.

The city of Cincinnati goes to Hamilton County Common Pleas court next week in an attempt to seize properties from holdouts on the south side of Calhoun Street.

Also, an Ohio state tax commissioner's ruling on how cities can use property tax dollars to pay for development could block some city funds for the project.

The city pledged $3.2 million in tax increment financing - a method of using future property tax dollars to pay for project improvements.

The tax commissioner recently ruled that every property owner must agree to be placed in a tax increment financing district even if property taxes are not increased.


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