WALNUT HILLS, KY-Xavier University, a Catholic liberal arts university, is joining with local developer Corporex Cos. to build an approximately $160-million, mixed-use village square outside its main campus here. The area at the corner of Montgomery Road and Dana Avenue lacks retail and multifamily development.

The project will be called Xavier Square and will include a combination of student housing, affinity housing, stores, restaurants, commercial office space, a boutique hotel, fitness center, student health center and college bookstore. The developer has a letter of intent to lease the property for 35 years after which the property would revert back to the university.

John Kucia, administrative VP for the university, says the project will include 100,000 sf of retail, apartments for up to 600 students, 100 condominium units, 120,000 sf of office space in one or two buildings, a 90-room boutique hotel, a fitness center and even a campus bookstore. “We think this development is an acknowledgement on the health and vitality of the university and surrounding community,” Kucia tells GlobeSt.com. “Our intent is for this to be a catalyst to positive redevelopment in the surrounding neighborhood.”

The project is being built on 20 acres acquired by the university during the past 10 years. First, the former BASF Chemical plant donated the site’s seven acres to the school in 2000, and, in 2004, Xavier paid $8 million for the adjacent, nine-acre Zumbiel Packaging Plant site on Cleneay Avenue. The BASF plant was taken down in 1990. The university hopes to demolish the Zumbiel plant, which includes imploding a large concrete structure, sometime in the next two weeks, Kucia says.

Now, Corporex and the university are in negotiations on final plans for the Xavier Square site. Groundbreaking is expected in late 2008 or early 2009. Corporex is known for helping build up Kentucky communities, such as the Covington riverfront, the Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge and the $1-billion Ovation mixed-use project in Newport.

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