Saturday, October 09, 1999

Office park at home in Mason

Enquirer Contributor

        MASON — There's no sign of a slowdown in boomtown Mason.

        The second-fastest growing city in Ohio continues to enjoy a surge in commercial development. The newest project: Central Parke of Mason, a 26-acre office park on Mason-Montgomery Road that is expected to generate 700 jobs.

        The $40 million complex will have seven office buildings and be home to such companies as Sibcy Cline, CNG Financial and Group Health Associates.

        It's yet another indication that the pell-mell pace of development in the southern slice of Warren County is not slowing. And while that may generate more jobs and tax revenue, it also could trigger even more congestion on the crowded Fields Ertel/Mason-Montgomery interchange on Interstate 71.

        That traffic threat, however, does not seem to worrydevelopment officials from Cincinnati United Contractors (CUC).

        “This has been one of the hottest-selling properties we have developed since I have been in the business,” said Charles Kubicki, CUC president. “We have already signed deals on over two-thirds of the property.”

        Roads and infrastructure on the office site cost about $2 million, said Bill Mees, CUC's manager of property development. The office complex is about a mile from Procter & Gamble's research and development center and next to the Western Row golf course.

        Executives say the project's location between Interstates 71 and 75 and near the Interstate 275 beltway, along with a “pro-business” atti tude in Mason, are attracting tenants.

        “Mason won us over with just, really, their attitude about business,” said David Davis, spokesman for CNG Financial. “The area's growing by leaps and bounds. We have developed a very good working relationship with the city of Mason.”

        CNG's 60,000-square-foot, $10 million headquarters should be ready by spring. It will consolidate the CNG work force, now in three other buildings in the region.

        “P&G chose to make an investment in this area,” Mr. Davis said. “Duke-Weeks Realty has done a lot of building out here. We feel pretty good about being close to people like that.”

        Group Health Associates is building a $3 million health facility in Central Parke that will replace offices in Mason and Landen, said John Mitchell, director of operations for Group Health.

        “The Mason-Montgomery corridor is a lot more visible than where we are currently,” Mr. Mitchell said. “We feel like that's really become the mini health care mecca for the northern part of the city. It's strategically important for us to have a presence in the northern side of town.”

        Strong growth in Mason is helping to propel Warren County, the state's second-fastest growing county. Experts have projected that Warren County will experience an 85 percent leap in housing development through 2010.

        Why Mason? Some new residents are drawn from Cincinnati or Dayton by the availability of landscaped, green half-acre lots with spacious two-story homes.

        “People are moving to the edges of the city for the housing opportunities, and moving away from percep tions of problems in the city,” David Varady, a housing and community development expert at the University of Cincinnati's School of Planning, told the Enquirer in a July interview.

        Mason officials said they work to make their corporate residents feel welcome and develop personal relationships with them.

        “The Mason administration has always set high standards for its delivery of services to businesses,” Mason Economic Development Director Melissa Koehler said. “Our work begins once a company locates here. We are on the phone or at their door regularly throughout the year.”

        That has helped the city attract more than 500 businesses with about 20,000 workers, Mrs. Koehler said.


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