$265 million mixed-use development planned in northern suburbs
A developer is working on plans to bring a $265 million mixed-use development to about 99 acres of land in a northern suburb of Greater Cincinnati.
Developer Larry Dillin is working with the existing property owners to put together development plans for 98.6 acres of land in West Chester Township, just north of the Streets of West Chester. There, he plans to develop North Pointe, a mixed-use development that would be a total private investment of about $265 million.
Dillin, CEO of Dillin Development, said his firm is focused on mixed-use land development and will be looking to sell parcels to developers or end users under the master plan for the property. His firm is working with Brooks Development, which owns the majority of the site. Dillin also is in dialogue with DK North Pointe LLC, which owns about 18 acres south of GE Aviation’s existing office buildings on Aviation Way, including that property within the master development.
“This will be a significant tax revenue generator and job creator for the township,” Dillin told me.
Dillin received unanimous approval on Aug. 24 from West Chester Township trustees for a zoning map amendment to special purpose planned unit development from central business district for the property, as well as approval for preliminary development plans. The preliminary development plan for North Pointe calls for about 497,000 square feet of commercial space, 870 multifamily units and a 140-room hotel.
During a July zoning commission meeting, which unanimously voted to approve recommendation of changing the zoning for the project, Dillin said his intent it to make this property into something special. The landowner is committed to take the creek on the property, the east fork of the Mill Creek, and turn it into a more natural state, adding paths, bridges and seating areas.
“This will be an amenity, not only for folks who live and work in the development, but other residents of West Chester Township,” Dillin told me.
Aaron Wiegand, community development director for West Chester, said the approval of the preliminary development plan is the result of more than a year of discussions about developing this high-profile site. Other developers have looked at the site in the past, but it has challenges including portions being in a flood plain and accessibility issues to work through.
“We needed a developer who can handle a site as challenging as this one is,” Wiegand told me. “This is a big puzzle piece that has been missing. Now we have a developer we feel is capable of completing that puzzle.”
North Pointe is expected to act as an extension of the Streets of West Chester development that sits to the south, as well as complement the existing GE Aviation office buildings on Aviation Way.
North Pointe is expected to be developed in phases. As each phase of the development comes to the township trustees, they will vote to provide approval on the final development plans, making sure they are compatible with the preliminary development plan. The approval of final development plans will be needed before construction could begin.
During the July zoning meeting, Dillin said based on conversations at that time, the developer is under contract for the multifamily site and has letters of intent on several parcels. When I spoke with Dillin, he said he could not name the developer for two of the multifamily sites yet, but plans are being formulated.
Dillin said during the July meeting the apartments planned on the site would be high-quality, high-end units, possibly the highest rental rates in the area.
“The more residential density we can attract, the better it will be for the entire business ecosystem that surrounds it,” Wiegand said.
A third site that is planned for multifamily development could end up being office space, Dillin said. He said he has already received more office interest than anticipated.
The first and second phases are scheduled to be two years apart. The first portion of the land to be developed will be on the east side of the creek.
Dillin said his company is becoming known for its skills as a master plan, mixed-use land developer. Dillin has worked on several other projects of similar character that have gained some renown, he said.
“We find communities and landowners calling us, asking to put together master plans for their property,” Dillin said.
North Pointe, which will likely be rebranded during development, is similar in size and character to another mixed-use development Dillin is working on, Easton Farm. The main difference between the two is that Easton Farm is designed with a single-family home component, while North Pointe will have no single-family homes.
At North Pointe, Dillin is working with Butler County engineers on the property’s flooding challenges. That work will involve the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“We’re hoping to be moving some dirt, mass grading by the end of the year,” Dillin said.
Wiegand said the township is still negotiating with Dillin on some of the site’s infrastructure issues and how the township will be able to help with those costs. He expects those won’t be completed until the end of the year, which means the first phases of the development would come back for approval in 2022.
Dillin hopes to start construction on portions of North Pointe in late 2022.