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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, OH-Steiner + Associates, based in Columbus, has proposed to build a 110-acre, $250-million mixed-use project here at the edge of a brand new connector to Interstate 75. The new Hamilton-Mason Road exchange to the major north-south highway will open up about 600 acres for commercial real estate development, says a township official.

Caroline McKinney, the economic development director for the town, tells GlobeSt.com that the filing by Steiner recently to the Township Board of Trustees for the Liberty Town Square is just the “first step of about 150″ to getting the project passed. “They simply wanted to get a zoning change, this is just the beginning. The site is currently zoned B-2, and they’re wanting BPUD, which would allow them the flexibility to put together the large project,” she says.

Plans from the township show about 1.2 million sf of commercial property proposed, with retail being the dominant type, and some apartments, office buildings and a hotel also thrown in. A master plan concept shows three large retail anchors, big box and first floor/office retail sections, three office buildings, more than five apartment complexes, parking structures and more, all north of Hamilton-Mason and west of I-75. That’s just the first phase, and even more development is expected, McKinney says. A representative from Steiner could not be reached for comment.

The new interchange has promised to bring much more development to the township, McKinney says. “Currently, there’s just a two-lane road in this small township 25 miles north of Downtown Cincinnati,” she says. “When the interchange comes in by 2010, the road will be widened to five lanes. Some local developers started to acquire properties in the area about two-three years ago, following the master plan, which calls for an entertainment/retail/town center hub. This project certainly fits within that vision.” The township has asked the University of Cincinnati to conduct an economic impact study on the Liberty Town Square project, she says. Results will take a month or two.

The area has been growing commercially, especially with medical office, she says. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has announced plans to build an $83 million, 230,000-sf building nearby on 65 acres. “This is really becoming a growing medical corridor. We think that development will really draw doctors to the office in this Steiner project, and could encourage more similar construction,” McKinney says. In March, Grubb & Ellis Healthcare REIT Inc., which is sponsored by Santa Ana, CA-based Grubb & Ellis, purchased the new 44,000-sf Liberty Falls medical office plaza for $8.1 million, sources say.

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