Expect to see more construction equipment at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Reading Road for the next two years.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Monday for the $250 million Uptown Gateway, a mixed-use development on the southeast corner of the intersection. The project is being developed by Terrex Development and Messer Construction, both of which expect it to open in 2021.
"We couldn't be more excited," said Beth Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Uptown Consortium. "It is a tremendous opportunity for growth for the city, for the region and for the neighborhood of Avondale."
The development will include 360,000 square feet of office space, a 1,350 space underground parking garage and a 158-room Hilton Homewood Suites Hotel. The main tenant will be the University of Cincinnati's Digital Futures complex, which will be focused on research and technology.
"From digital health to intelligent manufacturing, the opportunities are enormous and endless," said university president Neville Pinto.
Signage wrapping the corner property touts it as the home of the University of Cincinnati's newest venture. The previous title-holder, UC's 1819 Innovation Hub, sits directly across the street along Reading Road. The university will occupy 180,000 square feet as the project's anchor tenant.
"This will be a huge draw for companies wanting to be here," said Robinson. "Near their research and near their talents quite frankly."
The development is a direct byproduct of the I-71/MLK interchange, which opened nearly two years ago and was intended to spur growth in Avondale. During her remarks, Avondale Community Council president Patricia Milton referred to Avondale as the Cincinnati's most innovative neighborhood.
"Avondale is a proud neighborhood — a diverse melting pot full of caring, dedicated people who want a fabulous neighborhood to call home," Milton told those gathered for the event.
She said it was important for projects like this to partner with residents in the neighborhood and commended Terrex Development for including the neighborhood in planning.
The Uptown Gateway project is just a fraction of the entire Innovation Corridor, which is expected to be a $1.5 billion investment in the area and home to a workforce of several thousand workers. Businesses are already expressing interest in the project.
"We've had several conversations with companies outside the region as well as inside the region," said Robinson. "I think really the only thing that's slowing us down is we've got to get the buildings constructed."
Projects planned on the other corners of the intersection include two more mixed use developments and a brand new National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) consolidated research facility.