The Magazine of the Urban Land Institute
March 18, 2015
With a diverse economy, educated and skilled workforce, natural resources and vibrant urban centers, Ohio remains a hotbed for real estate development, according to Mario San Marco, president of Cincinnati-based Eagle Realty Group. “We continue to view Ohio as a place where there are many development opportunities,” he says. “Cincinnati’s center city has undergone a real estate rebirth thanks to the nine Fortune 500 companies located here, it’s outstanding cultural and art venues, top universities and hospitals, professional sports teams and affordable housing.
The company, which developed the Great American Tower at Queen City Square and the Marriott Residence Inn in the Phelps Building, continues to evaluate potential projects. “Eagle Realty Group, along with its operating manager Winegardner and Hammons, is currently studying the adaptive reuse of the Anna Louise Inn property and the adjacent office building in Cincinnati,” San Marco says. “The current vision would be to house both a Marriott-branded hotel and restaurant.”
With a strong economy driven by the presence of the state government, the 65,000-student Ohio State University, and technology and medical research facilities, Columbus continues to lead the state in growth, says Steiner. Ohio is expected to add a half million people over the next 30 years.
“Most of the jobs created by that population increase will be located in central Ohio,” Steiner adds. “Columbus is one of the most dynamic cities in Ohio, so we are seeing an influx of talent, people, and energy, and that creates a strong economic climate for development. What makes the Columbus economy healthy is that young people want to live in the area.”
Among the developments by Columbus-based Steiner + Associates is Easton Gateway in Columbus, a 54-acre project that will add more than 600,000 square feet of retail space to Easton Towne Center’s existing 8 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential space. A collaboration of Steiner + Associates, the Georgetown Company, and Limited Brands, Easton Gateway is positioned around a central main street-style plaza and is expected to be completed this year.
In Cincinnati, Ohio Partners, Steiner +Associates and Bucksbaum Retail Properties are developing the 1.2 million-square-foot Liberty Center, which includes a 200,000-square-foot Dillard’s, an 80,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods, and a 150-room AC Hotel by Marriot. Liberty Center is expected to open in fall 2015.
“With U.S. economic growth expected to accelerate in 2015, the Midwest will come along for the ride,” says Bach of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. “Look for job growth to continue at a slightly faster pace this year, which will fill existing commercial properties and generate demand for new development,” he predicts. “Growth in a handful of Midwest metros such as Indianapolis, Columbus, Madison, and Grand Rapids will outpace the region. Leasing and investor demand will be robust across the Midwest.”
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