CINCINNATI -- City officials hope a new manufacturing facility at the former site of the beloved Cincinnati Gardens will serve as the "first phase of redevelopment" in Bond Hill.
"Change is important," said Mayor John Cranley, "and progress happens by churning up the dirt and changing things."
Crews broke ground on the 73,342-square-foot facility, located at 2249 Seymour Ave., on Wednesday.
Demolition of Cincinnati Gardens wrapped up earlier this year; the former sports and entertainment venue had been a Queen City landmark since its construction in 1949. The Cincinnati Gardens was the seventh-largest arena in the country at the time.
The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority acquired the property in 2016 and will repurpose the 19-acre site for manufacturing, which could add about 300 jobs to Bond Hill.
The new facility, to be constructed by Messer, is expected to attract new businesses by offering new and clean manufacturing sites in Hamilton County.
"Site readiness is a challenge every region faces and we’re no different," said Laura Brunner, president and CEO of The Port. "Having sites ready is crucial to attracting business."
Bond Hill has been home to Messer for most of the company's 87-year history, according to Messer president and CEO Tim Steigerwald.
"We also see this as a way for Messer to directly reinvest into our community," he said, "doing what we do best, which is to build buildings. And that advances the goals of everyone."
Wednesday, The Port also announced a signed lease at the Bond Hill Business District at Reading and Dale roads -- for Cranley, that's a sign of more to come.
"There has been a rising tide of good-paying, living-wage, middle-class jobs that are returning to Bond Hill and to the city," the mayor said.
Editor's note: This article previously stated a tenant was named for the manufacturing facility located on the site of Cincinnati Gardens. That was incorrect. WCPO regrets this error.