Saturday, June 12, 2004

West Chester condos promise urban feel

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - The five- and six-story brick buildings fronting a village square certainly don't look like anything else in Butler County's booming suburbs.

That's why township officials like the urban-style neighborhood planned for 32 acres immediately east of the Streets of West Chester shopping area and Rave Motion Pictures theaters.

"This changes the image of West Chester as the four-bedroom suburban house," says Art Hupp, a township resident who runs Glaserworks, the Cincinnati architects designing the complex.

Fifteen buildings - ranging from one to six stories - will house 332 condominiums at the Villages at the Streets of West Chester, if trustees approve a zone change to special purpose-planned unit development.

Coffee, wine and cheese shops are planned for the retail area along the village square, said Jeff Raser of Glaserworks. A wide auto and pedestrian bridge will connect the development to the Streets of West Chester commercial center - Barnes & Noble, Mitchell's Fish Market, P.F. Changs - which opened this spring.

"You can't really have a downtown with no one living there. This really complements the retail area," said Catherine Stoker, trustees president.

Unlike much of West Chester, the county's most populous and highest-income township, this community won't have backyards or playgrounds.

Raser said singles and older adults would be interested in the two-bedroom townhomes costing up to $270,000 - because families could buy a four-bedroom house with a yard for that price elsewhere in the township.

Stoker said her biggest worry about the development is flooding from the Mill Creek, which separates the condominiums from the stores.

Jose Castrejon, a designer with McGill Smith Punshon Inc., said dirt was hauled from the adjacent commercial development to raise the residential area above the floodway.

Developers are awaiting approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Butler County Engineer's Office, which oversee changes in the floodway, Castrejon said.



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