Sunday, July 25, 2004

Buildings to be razed for Bellevue development

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

BELLEVUE - Work begins next month on the first project in a $110 million riverfront building boom for this Campbell County city.

The Ackerman Group, an Anderson Township developer, plans to begin demolishing buildings on 14 acres along Fairfield Avenue just east of the Riverboat Row restaurant district.

That will make room for an $80 million development called Harbor Greene that will include:

•  100 luxury condominiums with river views that will sell for up to $300,000.

•  90,000 square feet of office space.

•  15,000 square feet of retail space and a restaurant.

•  a 40,000-square-foot Gold's Gym

•  Nearly 700 parking spaces.

•  Green space, a park, walking paths and a bike trail.

Work is expected to be complete in late 2005 or early 2006.

Harbor Greene "is designed for a club experience that caters to active adults," said Ackerman partner Dobbs Ackerman.

Plans also call for two more residential projects in Bellevue.

HHB Partners is putting the final touches on a $20 million plan to build 24 condos at Taylor and Eden avenues. The units will sell for $250,000 to $400,000 and will have riverfront views.

Property for the project has been secured but a construction date has not been set, said Chip Hunter, a partner with HHB

Meanwhile, a Cincinnati development group plans a $10 million townhouse project on Ross and Lake streets near the Bellevue Veterans Club athletic fields, said Bellevue Mayor Jack Meyer.

The homes will sell for $250,000 to $300,000, he said.

City officials recognize that the housing market can be fickle. The economy, interest-rate fluctuations and other outside influences could stall some of the projects.

But if all are built, the assessed property value in Bellevue would double to more than $200 million, Meyer said.

Growth also can bring headaches. Congestion already clogs Fairfield Avenue, the main east-west thoroughfare that connects Bellevue with Newport and Dayton.

Even with plans to improve traffic flow along Fairfield, new residents could increase back-ups.

Still, the projects' impact on the city will be positive, Meyer said.

""Projects like this bring people into the city to live and work here," he said. "That makes a town more vibrant, and it's good for our future."

Diane Witte owns and operates Fairfield Coffee Co. on Fairfield Avenue. She sees both sides of the growth debate.

"Getting lots of new, young people moving in is very exciting," Witte said. "It will help the businesses and be good for the city."

But Witte, who is active in the preservation of Bellevue's historic neighborhoods, also has concerns about too much growth. She said some of the residents on Lake Street have complained that when the townhomes are built, the residents will lose their views of the city.

"I have sympathy for those people," Witte said. "I think the new development is great, but I wouldn't want to see anything moving into our older neighborhoods. That's what really defines Bellevue and makes it such a great place, and we wouldn't want that to go away just for some new buildings."


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