Cincinnati Transforms Riverfront Real Estate, Draws New Residents, Restaurants and Entertainment

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By: Bill Poffenberger, Executive Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle 

The impact of a local landmark goes beyond exterior benefits. This post is the second in a series that will highlight landmarks, news or trends across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the corresponding impact on local real estate, with takeaways that can be applied in neighboring geographies.

Cincinnati’s Central Riverfront, better known as The Banks, is currently undergoing a $600 million dollar transformation, reports the New York Times. The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County entered into a partnership with Carter and The Dawson Company, as well as USAA Real Estate Company to kick off renovations.

Due to the scale of the proposed mixed-used development project, The Banks complete revitalization was segmented into phases. Upon completion in the latter part of this decade, the area will be alive with restaurants, retail centers, office space, hotels and residential buildings.

Phase 1, which broke ground in 2008, reached completion in 2012, revitalizing the area into a more attractive and desirable location.

Following the initial phase of construction, new residents are rushing to take part in the newest city scene. According to Cincinnati’s own ABC 9, the newest residential unit Current at the Banks is at full capacity, with a list of residents hoping to move into the area.  ABC 9 also reported the creation of at least 300 jobs in direct result of the riverfront makeover.

Riverfront Revitalization

Phase 1 of revitalization at The Banks fell into the following order:

Phase 1A – Residential and Retail Development

Phase 1B – Office Development

Phase 1C – Hotel and Residential Development

                                    – The University of Cincinnati

Phase 1A is winding down, and Cincinnatians are taking full advantage of their new facilities. When the newly constructed buildings are fully functional, The University of Cincinnati said “the economic impact of operations is expected to increase to $276 million a year, resulting in a total economic impact of over $2.7 billion from 2011 through 2020.”

The Banks revitalization is simultaneously transforming the Cincinnati brand, as well as the city’s economy. The Banks makeover is on the minds of many. The project has received attention from prominent media, retail tenants, hungry diners, new businesses, and real estate investors.

Implications for Investors

The happenings at The Banks should serve as a green flag to real estate investors. The construction has jump-started the economy, creating ideal surroundings for home, restaurant and retail locations.

When seeking an addition to a real estate portfolio, an investor must also consider the nature of the surrounding city. Investing in an economically unstable area may impact the value of real estate when it comes time to lease or sell. During the initial phases of a real estate search, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will the city likely sustain long-term economic success?
  • Would a tenant, business or guest choose the building based on geographic location?
  • What can I offer in terms of entertainment in surrounding neighborhoods?

The neighborhood itself may not be the final deciding factor, but it should be a major factor during the real estate investment decision-making process. The city of Cincinnati is progressing, specifically around The Banks. This is a prime example of what investors should search for as they evaluate new properties for their portfolios.

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As Executive Vice President,  Bill oversees sales strategy at the Cincinnati office. He specializes in office and industrial tenant representation. View Bill’s full bio to read up on his experience.


Photo Source: Hannaford