CINCINNATI — Cincinnati city council voted to approve plans for a Bengals practice facility on seven acres of land on Mehring Way, which the Hamilton County Commissioners bought from Hilltop Basic Resources.
The approval authorizes the Bengals to use 621 W. Mehring Way as an interim indoor practice facility notwithstanding "certain development regulations and use limitations" about flooding, the riverfront district and zoning regulations for the area that might prevent development.
The Bengals are one of the very few NFL teams without an indoor practice facility. The Bengals’ only practice facility is outdoors and next to Paul Brown Stadium.
The proposed plan calls for a removable and inflatable, 75-foot high, synthetic air dome that attaches to a concrete footer which will house a regulation-size interior turf practice field for Bengals players and staff. The exterior will be paved and include an 8-foot high security fence and 187 parking spaces.
Team players and staff will begin immediately using the practice facility, which the Bengals are proposing to build at its expense for use in the 2022 NFL season.
The property at 612 Mehring Way was once home to Hilltop Basic Resources, which consolidated its operations onto the remaining 10 acres while the gravel and concrete company has been looking for a new relocation site for three years.
Hamilton County agreed to buy Hilltop’s riverfront property — 17 acres west of Paul Brown Stadium — in October 2019, at what the county described as "a fair market price" of $29.75 million.
As part of the deal the Bengals gave up $30 million owed in game day payments to allow the county to buy the Hilltop property and offer it to the Bengals for parking, tailgating and a practice facility.
In exchange, the Bengals gave up parking areas east of the stadium (Lot 27) for the construction of an indoor-outdoor concert venue, the Andrew J. Brady Music Center near Smale Riverfront Park.
The county and Bengals deal specifically allow for the construction and usage of an indoor practice facility on the Hilltop site.