Originally the epicenter of freight rail for the western portion of the United States, Cincinnati’s downtown riverfront area has always been central to its identity and image. In the later portion of the 20th century – like so many urban cores around the United States – Cincinnati’s Central Business District experienced a period of population decline and a slowdown in commercial growth.
Signaling their commitment to transform the urban riverfront of downtown Cincinnati into a vibrant and sustainable gateway to Southern Ohio, a public-private partnership was formed between Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati in conjunction with the State of Ohio. And, in 1997, a new Cincinnati Central Riverfront Master Plan was approved. Following the plan’s approval, the city welcomed the new Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Cincinnati Bengals), Great American Ball Park (home of the Cincinnati Reds) and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to the riverfront area.
Next, the city and county set their sights on the development of the remaining 18 acres of undeveloped riverfront land between the two sports stadiums. In 2007, the Atlanta-based companies, Carter & The Dawson Company, were selected in a joint venture for the master development to create a dynamic urban mixed-use project and to develop this vision into a reality. Serving as a catalyst, The City of Cincinnati partnered with Hamilton County, once again, to provide infrastructure for the site, including an intermodal transit facility, parking garages, street grid improvements, and utilities. The City of Cincinnati also provided funding for the 45-acre Riverfront Park.
In late 2009, construction on phase one of the private development commenced adding luxury apartments and street-level restaurants that completed and opened in 2011. Further street-level retail grand openings and leasing will continue into 2012. An office building, hotel, and additional residential pad sites are currently available for future development.
Through a public-private partnership, the team has created one of the nation’s preeminent urban "Live, Work, Play" destinations. The Banks is expected to add $600 million in investment to the local economy, according to a recently conducted study. The development will create more than 1,000 net-new permanent jobs and already has attracted new national retailers and residents to Cincinnati.
The Banks development is a central element of downtown Cincinnati’s riverfront revitalization. Spurred by $157 million in public infrastructure improvements, the joint venture team of Carter and The Dawson Company, along with capital partner, USAA Real Estate Company, invested more than $162 million in Phase I of development with $69 million amount planned for Phase II, which will include additional retail and residential components. Bringing new money to Cincinnati through the purchase of local goods and services and hiring local workers, the operating impact of The Banks is beginning to occur, with retail establishments opening and new residents now living in Current at The Banks. By 2013, when Phase IA of The Banks is projected to be fully occupied and operational, the economic impact of operations is expected to be $276 million a year, resulting in a total economic impact of over $2.7 billion from 2011 through 2020.
For more on the Economic Impact of The Banks click here.