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Evanston development to showcase potential?

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Posted at 8:00 AM, Oct 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-03 08:00:10-04

CINCINNATI -- Community leaders in Evanston hope that a new $3.5 million United Dairy Farmers at Dana Avenue and Montgomery Road will help developers see the potential for more development in an area often associated with crime. 

The project, designed to compliment the sprawling University Station development that runs between Dana and Cleneay avenues along Montgomery, is a short walk to the Xavier University campus.

The new UDF will replace a smaller store that had been near the intersection and was demolished in September. The Norwood-based convenience store chain acquired six nearby homes so that it could assemble a site that covers just over eight-tenths of an acre, said Tim Kling, director of real estate for UDF.

“That site was too small and we had to acquire some property so that we could have gas pumps,” said Kling. 

The timetable calls for the new store to be completed by April.

Kling said his company worked with University Station developers, Xavier University, the Evanston Community Council and the city of Cincinnati to make sure that the project received broad support from its neighbors.

Unlike most of its stores, the new location will have a two-story façade that will give the building a vertical appearance similar to many of the other buildings in the University Station development, Kling said.

Another view of the development. Photo by Greg Paeth, WCPO contributor

The new UDF building will have nearly 4,600 square feet and will be about 50 percent larger than the store it replaces.

“They brought the plans to us for our approval and they have been very helpful in supplying us with information about the project. They have been good neighbors here for many years,” said Anzora Adkins, president of the Evanston Community Council, which has offices a couple of blocks from the UDF site.

She also pointed out that the store will be convenient for residents of The Evanston, a 100-unit apartment complex for senior citizens that is operated by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority directly across Montgomery Road from the UDF property. 

“They can walk across the street and do some of their shopping,” Adkins said.

One goal of the community council is to improve the quality of life in a neighborhood that has become linked to crime. Four adults and a 3-year-old child were recently shot near the intersection of Hewitt and Fairfield avenues, which is on the opposite side of I-71 from the area where new development has been focused.

All five gunshot victims are expected to recover.

Although the neighborhood has some serious problems, Dobbs Ackermann, president and CEO of the Ackermann Group, a Cincinnati firm that worked with Messer Construction on the project, is convinced that that there is an abundance of potential for developers who want to help rebuild the neighborhood.

Phase one of University Station represents a $54 million investment in residential, retail and office construction on a 14-acre tract that is owned by the university's property company. 

A portion of that property has been set aside for phase two of the development, which calls for the construction of a hotel and offices that will cost about $50 million, said Ackermann. 

Much of the phase two construction will be almost directly across Dana from the new UDF, said Ackermann, who added that the university, University Station and UDF are working together to “energize that corner.”

A Delicio Coal-Fired Pizza restaurant is scheduled to open later this year at the northwest corner of Dana and Montgomery, where there will be a public performance space for bands inside the University Station development.

Ackermann said he hopes to have announcements about phase two of University Station in the next six or eight months. He said all of the 178 apartments in phase one, as well as 46,000 square feet of office space, have been rented. Eighty-five percent of the commercial space also has been leased, Ackermann said.

The retail space includes the university’s All for One shop, which serves as the campus bookstore, and has a Starbucks inside. Other tenants include Graeter’s Ice Cream and Gold Star Chili.

Kling said opening the new store will have no impact on the company’s store a half mile north on Montgomery Road near the company’s corporate headquarters in Norwood. That store was the first for a company that traces its roots back to 1940, when it was established by Carl Lindner Sr., whose family became prominent members of Cincinnati’s business community.