First building in new UC innovation district opens in April

CINCINATIONS – Although COVID-19 has slowed the development of many industries, some construction projects have been able to continue with limited delays. One such project is the first buildings of the Cincinnati Innovation Corridor.

The University of Cincinnati is the first tenant in a $ 2.5 billion four-square-foot project on Reading Road and Martin Luther King Jr. in Avondale. The UC Digital Futures building in the southeast quadrant is expected to be completed in April this year.

“We are very lucky that the construction went on schedule, and we have made good progress in these difficult times,” said Beth Robinson, president and CEO of Uptown Consortium, Inc.

“We believe so strongly that the Innovation Corridor in the Cincinnati Innovation District is such an opportunity for companies to be close to the talents at the University of Cincinnati and the talent of our health organizations and researchers that our confidence in our concept has never wavered,” she said. said.

Oakley-based Terrex Development & Construction is also building and looking for tenants for a second speculative building in the southeast quadrant. It has 180,000 square feet and is expected to be completed in June this year. Messer Construction is building both buildings.

Robinson believes that the entire Uptown area is what will attract technology, medical and educational companies to the area. She says companies have continued to show interest in the project for the past two years. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will build a major federal research facility with approximately 300,000 square feet of area in the Northwest Quadrant.

“They are completing the design and preparing the construction documentation,” Robinson said. “We hope to be able to launch this project as early as this year. It’s a big and complex development, so it takes time.” She said they may need to move to the first quarter of next year depending on how things go.

Additional corners for development include a project called The Node, which is a multifunctional development in the Northeast Quadrant. The first phase will include offices, a hotel and a shopping mall developed by MLK Investors. Robinson said they are optimistic that the project could potentially begin later this year.

The southwest quadrant is being developed by Queen City Hills, a minority-owned developer created in 2018 by local businessmen Ed Riga and David Fox. Their goal is to build multifunctional buildings with residential, commercial and tenants with biological and research directions.

“We hope it can be launched this year as well. It could be a very big year for the corridor, and we’re very excited about that,” Robinson said.

The innovative Greenway will be another element that unites the space with the public green area. Robinson said they are still working on design and planning. However, there is hope to start the early phase of this project in 2023.

Robinson said it’s important to make sure the spaces have pedestrian and bicycle connections. She said that after the first two buildings open in the southeast quadrant, there could be up to 1,400 employees who need pedestrian access.

“We need to make sure we can connect these workers with our districts and back with our amenities such as restaurants,” she said.

This week UPI presented updated information about the project to the Avondale Public Council. The report included an assessment of how the project addresses equity and inclusion goals. So far, about 40 percent of construction costs have been accounted for by minority and women’s enterprises (M / WBE), and 31 percent of the workforce was by minorities and women.

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