Township to partner with the county on retail analysis

March 29th, 2007    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

A recent partnership between Clermont County and Miami Township is hoped to turn a profit when a retail analysis determines what sorts of upscale shopping and dining services would be interested in moving to the area.

In all, the study will take around $25,000 from both the county and the township, but the expected benefit could be worth it.

“That research will help the township and county understand exactly what retailers would locate to these specific locations based on the buying power of people living around there,” said Clermont County Director of Economic Development Andrew Kuchta. “That information is critical to attract a developer to be involved with the project.”

The plan is to create an upscale shopping and dining center in the county, and perhaps more than one. Currently, the area is well-served by a number of retail outlets, said Kuchta, but the county would benefit from something more unique that may draw in shoppers from other areas.

"Information provided will be what a retailer would be looking for to make a decision on a new market," said Kuchta. "What this, by generating a list of stores that would locate here, would tell a developer what kind of rents the developer could expect in a mixed use or upscale retail development, as well as the prices for the land and overall revenue potential. That's a piece that's been missing in the past for the township to get development kick-started in that corridor."

In essence, the study would examine demographics in the county, use those to determine what high-end restaurant or shopping chain would be likely to cater to those demographics, and then use that information to convince developers to bring their money and constructions crews to Clermont County to build the appropriate structures. Then, once the building is there, a tenant shouldn't be far behind.

"We want to sell the developers on the location," said Kuchta. "Private sector money is absolutely critical. It's required to make the transformation happen. We don't have the resources to buy the property, we're not retail developers. A lot of people in local government have believed for a long time that there is a market here for upscale shopping or dining opportunities. We haven't had the hard data to back that up. The county is involved because the 2006 sales taxes were relatively flat from the year before. The county is concerned about keeping more tax dollars in the county. We believe that people are going to eat and shop at Kenwood, Deerfield or Rookwood Commons. We want to keep the dollars here."

Kuchta said that he hopes to one day see people from areas such as Terrace Park, Indian Hill, Hamilton County and Loveland travel to upscale shopping districts in Clermont County to spend their money.

Larry Fronk, development director for Miami Township, said that the township hopes to see this boost their development plan for state Route 28.

"From our standpoint, the township has been working on a redevelopment plan for business 28," said Fronk. "We want to create a mixed use, open village project. A walkable mix of retail and residential. We get mixed signals as to what type of retail we could attract. We hope to gain what type of retail we can expect, given our demographics. What Buxton (the study group) will do for us is identify the trade area, put together the demographic information and tell us what type of retailer we can attract to this area."

The study is currently underway, and results are expected within a few weeks.

"When we have that information, we can tailor a redevelopment plan to present to the retailers we would like to have come here," said Fronk. "Hopefully the results of this study will help kick-start the development we want to see in that corridor."
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