Liberty Center lands third anchor: Region's first 'flagship' Dick's Sporting Goods store

Developers want bridge to Children's Hospital

CINCINNATI - Dick's Sporting Goods will build an 80,000 square-foot “flagship” store at Liberty Center, developers of the $300 million project announced Friday.

Steiner + Associates, a Columbus-based developer that is partnering on the project with Buxbaum Retail Properties LLC, told Cincinnati area real estate professionals that retail components of the project are now 50 percent leased.

The new Dick’s location will be about twice the size of other local Dick’s properties, with in-store services including skate-sharpening, glove steaming and club fitting. It’s the third retail anchor announced for Liberty Center, which will also include a Dillard’s department store and Cobb Theaters multiplex.

The 100-acre mixed-use development will include office, hotel and apartment buildings in its 65-acre first phase. Steiner executives briefed area real estate professionals at the University of Cincinnati’s Real Estate Roundtable event at Kenwood Country Club.

“We know what we build makes a difference and know what we can create that will be a super-regional draw,” said Anne Mastin, executive vice president for retail real estate at Steiner. “You’ll see a lot of firsts to Cincinnati. You’ll see a lot of second stores that may be in Kenwood today. And you’ll see a lot of restaurants that’ll include some big names that are already in Cincinnati and a whole group of restaurants that are not currently in Cincinnati.”

Mastin said Liberty Center’s location, 20 miles from Dayton Mall and 20 minutes from Kenwood, are a major attraction for retailers who find comfort in the site’s demographics.
“By 2015, Cincinnati and Dayton will be an official metroplex of 3.5 million people,” she said. “We view our location as being in the heart of the new Metroplex.”

RELATED: Yaromir Steiner gives a guided tour of his Liberty Center project in Butler County in 2013.

Steiner President Barry Rosenberg said the clustering of retail, apartment and office uses around public spaces will set the Liberty Center project apart. He also described plans for a new bridge over I-75 to connect to the growing Liberty Campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Among its growth plans is a $118 million proton therapy center for cancer patients.

“They are going to attract people from all over the world,” Rosenberg said. “As they look at and rethink their campus, the ability for us to create a bridge over this highway to connect to their campus is a very important thing for us.”

Butler County Administrator Charles Young said this week that public financing partners are “very close” to issuing $31 million in bonds for the project, including $10 million from Butler County, $5 million from Liberty Township and $16 million from a New Community Authority that can issue debt backed by revenue from tenant assessments. Another $10 million in public debt will be in the form of an infrastructure loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority, which helps communities finance environmental infrastructure.

Rosenberg said this morning that developers are contributing $90 million in equity to the project and a $160 million construction loan. He said the $300 million price tag does not include office, apartment and hotel buildings, all of which will be separately financed.


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