$6.1 million in bonds issued for purchase of Ford plant

April 8th, 2010    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: News

The University of Cincinnati Clermont is one step closer to holding classes in the office building at the former Batavia Ford Transmission Plant.

U.C. announced Thursday, April 1 that Industrial Realty Group LLC was issued $6.1 million in bonds to be used towards the purchase of the plant and IRG immediately wired the money and obtained the property title.

At the end of January U.C. said it had begun working toward a lease agreement with IRG with plans to relocate the physical therapy, surgical technician, Emergency Medical Technician programs as well as other two-year allied health programs to the facility in order to expand its remaining programs at the current campus in Batavia.

The college has secured a five-year lease for 81,000 square feet of office space with an option to buy 45 square feet at a later date.

"This is great first step in the revitalization of the Ford plant; this site has the potential to be a real industrial center in Clermont County," said Board of Clermont County Commissioners Vice President Ed Humphrey.

Both U.C. Clermont and the U.C. main campus will be moving classes to the new location. U.C. Clermont will utilize space on the first floor while U.C.'s College of Nursing and Allied Health will occupy the second floor.

IRG said they were very excited to bring U.C. to the new location.

"We are very pleased to play a part in helping UC East expand its campus to this site in Batavia. We couldn't have done it without the combined team work with UC, UC Clermont, State of Ohio, County and Township officials. We look forward to announcements of new opportunities for this site and the community in the near future," said Stuart Lichter, President of IRG.

The Batavia Township Trustees unanimously approved zoning changes at the plant to move the project forward last month.

"We are proud to have U.C. up there," Trustee Archie Wilson said.

The nursing program and physical therapy program will be among the first to offer classes at the new location this fall.

"The expansion of UC in Clermont County is great news for local citizens to obtain a four-year degree without leaving the county," said BCC President Bob Proud. "I look forward to the new life that IRG will give the former Ford plant. The welcome mat is out to businesses looking to move into or expand in Clermont County."

According to Kathy Lehr, Communications Director for Clermont County, IRG will transfer 36 acres to the Clermont Community Improvement Corporation that will be sold back to IRG over a three-year period beginning in 2012. There are also 7.4 acres that will be transferred to the Clermont Transportation Improvement District to be used in planned improvements to the state Route 32 interchange.

"From the moment the Board of County Commissioners were notified of Ford's intention to close the plant, we aggressively pursued a solution to assure the continued viability of the site as an asset to Clermont County and its citizens," said Commissioner R. Scott Croswell III. "As a result of the Board's aggressive action the plant will not only remain a viable industrial, site but the county will ultimately gain a four year college."
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