Cincinnati Business Courier: $116 million 4th & Race project takes another step forward

By Tom Demeropolis // Cincinnati Business Courier

The planned $116 million mixed-use development at Fourth and Race streets in downtown Cincinnati took another step forward on Friday.

Cincinnati City Planning Commission unanimously approved transferring a portion of the Fourth & Race site to the city and then to the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority to facilitate a project tax increment financing for the project. The plan is to build a 14-story, mixed-use development containing four different parcels, including air lots, with 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail space owned and operated by Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., a six-floor parking garage owned by the city and operated by 3CDC, and eight stories of apartments developed by Flaherty & Collins Properties.

The property is owned by Fourth and Race Development LLC, an affiliate of 3CDC. The property would transfer to the city, then the top eight floors would be transferred to the Redevelopment Authority, which would lease the residential portion to Flaherty & Collins Properties to develop 264 apartments. The transfer of the lots to the Redevelopment Authority is necessary for the project to move forward, according to a report provided to the planning commission.

The fair market value of the lots associated with the residential portion is estimated to be nearly $2.6 million. The city is transferring the property at no cost because the “development will bring additional residential units and commercial space to the Central Business District, as well as additional public
parking to serve the Central Business District,” according to the planning commission document.

In addition to facilitating TIF for the project by leasing the property from the Redevelopment Authority, Flaherty & Collins Properties will have the benefit of the authority’s tax-exempt status. It would not have to pay sales tax on construction materials, which can dramatically reduce construction costs.

Fourth & Race will have a total of 584 parking spaces and 264 apartments. 3CDC’s total investment in the garage and retail portion will be about $43 million. Flaherty & Collins’ total investment will be about $73.6 million.

The planning commission approval is just the latest step in moving the 4th & Race project forward. Cincinnati City Council will have to approve the transfer of property.

In addition, City Council is expected to see a revised development agreement with 3CDC and Flaherty & Collins Properties. A city economic development official told planning commission he expects the revised development agreement to go to council when it comes back from recess in September.

The garage and a portion of the commercial space are expected to be complete about 14 months after the start of the project. Flaherty & Collins Properties is expected to start work on the apartment portion of the project 10 months after the garage work begins, with completion scheduled a year later. In total,construction is expected to last 22 months.

If construction begins this fall, the project could be complete by summer 2020.