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The Banks Cincy

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Broker: Banks grocery store could join hotel, new retail

The Banks is far from a finished product, but an official from the Downtown site’s retail leasing manager said Friday the development is an economic powerhouse that’s becoming stronger.

Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials could announce an agreement to locate an AC Hotel by Marriott at The Banks on Monday, according to a source familiar with the deal. The hotel would be located on a parcel near Great American Ball Park.

Mark Fallon, senior vice president of real estate at Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, said leasing interest is robust and there are active negotiations to attract a grocery store to the 18-acre Cincinnati riverfront site. Fallon, of the Norwood-based company, said recent comments from a public official about The Banks were a “poor choice.”

Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman, who had been the county’s point man on economic development, got into hot water last week after he told city officials he was unhappy with the progress of The Banks development and questioned whether it was time to hire a new developer.

In his email, which was obtained and published by The Enquirer, Sigman told city officials he was “concerned about developer performance” and, specifically, about efforts to bring a hotel to the commercial and residential development.

“There’s just a lot of moving parts in here,” said Fallon, who was among the speakers at a University of Cincinnati Real Estate Center Roundtable event at Kenwood Country Club in Madeira. “There’s city, there’s county approvals, steering committee approvals.”

Construction could wrap up in the third quarter of 2016 on a nearly 339,000-square-foot office building for General Electric Co. at Second and Race streets. The facility could employ up to 2,000 workers and many of those workers could support activity in the building under construction next door. Construction on a building featuring 291 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space could be completed in spring 2016.

Those developments are expected to backstop the existing apartments and restaurants on the site between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

Negotiations for the hotel have been ongoing since last summer.

The city isn’t expected to contribute any incentives in the deal, according to a source familiar with the agreement. Mayor John Cranley has said no city subsidy would be contributed to help develop the hotel. Blue Ash-based Winegardner & Hammons is expected to develop and manage the venue.

Fallon said tenants have been identified and are in negotiations for more than half of the retail space near the GE building, Fallon said. A retail tenant has also been identified for an undeveloped outlot at The Banks.

Fallon also said last year – even during what was considered a “tough time” at The Banks, the restaurants generated $50 million in food and beverage sales. The site features restaurants such as Moerlein Lager House, Yard House, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Jefferson Social.

“The truth is not out on that you don’t realize what a massive generator that is,” Fallon said.