Vegas special: Yaromir Steiner gives a guided tour of his Liberty Center project in Butler County

ICSC retailers flocked to Liberty, Kenwood centers

LAS VEGAS - Two of the region's hottest new retail projects were showcased in side-by-side booths this week at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas.

Liberty Center, a $400 million mixed-use project planned in Butler County's Liberty Township, was the major focus of the Steiner + Associates booth in the Central Hall at RECon, a global trade show for retail real estate professionals.

Next door to Steiner was Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate Inc., where Vice President Mark Fallon courted luxury fashion retailers and restaurant tenants for the Kenwood Collection project.

As WCPO Digital reported earlier this week, Steiner landed a "CineBistro" dine-in movie theater for its project. Kenwood Collection developer David Birdsall signed no deals but said initial meetings with upscale retailers went well.

Across the aisle from the Steiner booth, Nicole Chimento from Midland Atlantic was too busy with her own clients to notice which retailers were exploring the big scale model of Liberty Center near her booth.

"I'm fully booked every half hour, sometimes double and triple booked," said Chimento, director of leasing for the Kenwood-based firm whose local projects include Voice of America Centre, Kenwood Place and Deerfield Pointe. "It's a great convention, but … all of our portfolio is 98 percent leased."

Chimento said Cincinnati projects are getting a lot of interest from fast-casual restaurants, including the Ruby Tuesday concept, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, and Piada, an Italian "street food" chain started by Chris Doody, co-founder of the Bravo and Brio restaurant concepts.

Chimento said she represents a soft-goods retailer that is looking to open "multiple stores" in Cincinnati. She wouldn't name the retailer or the sites it is considering.

"Everybody's looking at Steiner's project," she said. "I think it's fantastic, a long time coming."

Steiner said his development team for Liberty Center had more than 100 meetings with retailers during the four-day ICSC event.

"We are trying to get the in-line tenants, the smaller tenants that you will know, the Victoria's Secrets, the Gaps, the J. Crews, the Sephoras, the tenants that make the fabric of the project," Steiner said Monday. "When we go back, we'll be able to say, ‘We have 80 to 90 percent of the tenants who are interested.' And some will have even picked locations by then."

Cobb Theatres was the second tenant announced by Steiner for Liberty Center. Dillard's department store was announced in early May.

Steiner agreed to give WCPO Digital a guided tour of the project, using the large scale model that was prominently featured in its ICSC booth. Click on the image to start the tour.

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