Banks sale brings $4 million payday to city, county

Profit sharing required by GE development deal
Banks sale brings $4 million payday to city, county
Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 08:38:27-04

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati and Hamilton County will receive about $4 million from the recent sale of General Electric’s new office building at The Banks.

The money is likely to be re-invested in parking garages to fuel new development north of Mehring Way and east of Paul Brown Stadium, said Tom Gabelman, an attorney who negotiates all riverfront development deals for the county.

A sharing of proceeds was part of the deal when city and county leaders approved more than $70 million in tax incentives to attract GE’s Global Operations Center, which opened Tuesday. Gabelman said the amount depended on the sale price, which turned out to be a new record for Downtown office space at $315 per square foot, or $107.5 million.

Future phases of The Banks are expected to include a new 300-unit apartment building south of the GE site, with first floor retail space along West Freedom Way. Four new restaurants – Taste of Belgium, Pies and Pints, BurgerFi and Tiger Dumpling - and one new bar concept called The Stretch are expected to open at The Banks by the end of this year.

“I really feel like The Banks is at a great point in time where we're starting to put tenants in there that fit the project at its age,” said Tori Sunderman, a senior associate at CBRE, a brokerage firm that took over the retail leasing of the riverfront project last summer.

Sunderman said the streetcar has increased foot traffic between the stadiums. So has GE and the new Radius apartment building.

“I think The Banks will do very well this holiday season,” she said.

At GE’s grand opening this week, Cincinnati business leaders reflected on the patience and perseverance it took to bring the city’s newest neighborhood to life.

“It was a very strategic, calculated risk that was made,” said Kay Geiger, president of PNC Bank’s Greater Cincinnati division and a former board chair of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce. “That first phase was the biggest bet. But that master plan has resulted in $2.5 billion (in new investment), of which $800 million was private and the other $1.7 billion was public. It’s unprecedented that we took that vision, that partnership across the landscape.”