Sunday, February 18, 2001

Industry notes: Commercial real estate

HSR will anchor complex

By Ken Alltucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Developers of the Summit Woods complex in Sharonville say HSR Business to Business will be the anchor tenant of the office development's second building.

        Equity Group agreed to a lease last Thursday with the business-to-business marketing and communications firm and immediately started construction of the 142,000-square-foot building, said Arthur Calamari, who recently left the Cincinnati office of CB Richard Ellis to concentrate on leasing Summit Woods.

        HSR will take a 38,000-square-foot chunk of the new office at Interstate 275 and Reed Hartman Highway. The eight-year lease also allows HSR to put its name on the building.

        HSR chairman and chief executive officer Richard A. Segal Jr. described the timing of the expansion, announced as other tech firms are struggling to stay afloat, as a “powerful statement of our confidence.”

        The move allows HSR to combine its marketing communications and consulting groups and its Internet services group, which outgrew the company's Springdale headquarters last year. Craig Roberts, president of Capital Real Estate Partners in Cincinnati, coordinated HSR's search.

        Ted Mack, Sharonville's economic development director, said the lease is “good news at a time when bad news for the economy dominates.”

        Mr. Calamari said he isn't worried that Cincinnati United Contractors starts construction on the second Summit Woods building as the economy slows and several new office buildings are set to open in neighboring Blue Ash.

        “I don't think Blue Ash will have a problem filling up,” Mr. Calamari said.

        Summit Woods' first 75,000-square-foot building is almost full with several technology firms — such as Ciber Inc., OneNet Communications, Executrain and Kronos Inc. — establishing offices.

        And the HSR lease gives Summit Woods something its Blue Ash competitors haven't had: an an chor lined up before the bulldozers roll in.

        Other buildings, such as Al Neyer Inc.'s Hawthorne building, were built on a speculative basis — meaning no business signed leases for space, but developers and lenders were confident enough to build and fund the project.

        Hawthorne, Duke-Weeks Realty's 164,000-square-foot Pfeiffer Place and Silverman Inc.'s 90,000-square-foot One Kenwood Place all will open soon, creating a lot of available space in Blue Ash. A Houston developer, Hines Interests, has acquired land but is waiting to sign a major lease before starting construction.

        There are signs that some space will be snapped up quick. Sara Lee Corp. is eyeing four of five floors at Hawthorne. Al Neyer Inc. is expected to relocate its Fairfax headquarters to take one floor at Hawthorne, leaving the building full.

Architects renovating auto-dealer building

        A Pendleton architectural firm is renovating an old auto-dealer building at Race Street and Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine.

        The $1 million-plus project will be completed in April for Bruce D. Robinson Architecture Design. The firm will take one floor of the building once occupied by the Barlow Hodson Motor Car Co. Media Bridges, a Cincinnati cable public-access firm, will take the building's two other floors.

        When Bruce Robinson's firm purchased the building last year, it was used primarily for storage of AAA maps and ceramic pigs for the city's Big Pig Gig, he said.

        The loft-style office will keep its industrial touches, such as exposed brick and high ceilings. Some of the original features will be restored, including an antique engine connected to a girder once used to repair automobiles.

Village Crossing tenant expanding

        It appears Al Neyer Inc.'s $1 million renovation of its Village Crossing shopping center in Evendale is paying off. One of its anchor tenants, Jo-Ann Fabrics & Craft, recently agreed to expand.

        The retailer will take a 17,000 square-foot space at the center, located at Glendale-Milford Road and Reading Road.

        E-mail or fax (513) 768-8340.


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