Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Bellevue project wins preliminary OK


Would include townhomes and office buildings

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BELLEVUE — A $25 million riverfront development plan that includes $300,000 townhomes and three office buildings received preliminary approval Tuesday from city planners.

        The project would extend Ohio River development that continues to push east from Newport on the Levee into neighboring Bellevue.

        The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the plan proposed by the Ackermann Group, a developer from the Eastgate area. Board member Florence Matthews did not vote because of a potential conflict of interest. She lives in an area where developers might purchase private homes to make room for the project.

        Bellevue Mayor Jack Meyer predicted after Tuesday's vote that the City Council likely will approve the plan — provided some concerns about traffic and parking are worked out.

        “It should be a real good project,” Mr. Meyer said. “The office is the money maker for the city as far as the tax base, but the homes bring some residential to the riverfront, which is something we always could use down there.”

        Council is likely to vote on the project Jan. 9. Ackermann will ask the city for a tax abatement, but those details haven't been worked out.

        The project would cover 7.7 acres between the Ohio River and Fairfield Avenue, the main east-west corridor through Bellevue that begins near Interstate 471. It is bordered on the west by Patchen Avenue and on the east by Lafayette Avenue, and will be adjacent to Port Bellevue, a riverfront development that includes Joe's Crab Shack and a Burger King restaurant.

        Residents at the meeting raised concerns about increased traffic on Fairfield Avenue if the project is built.

        “The congestion is already horrendous,” said Lafayette Avenue resident Kevin Matthews, adding the city needs to give consideration “to residents in other parts of the city trying to get to work in the morning.”

        Dobbs Ackermann, a partner in the development firm, said the company will conduct a traffic study in the area and look for ways to increase parking.

        The Ackermann plan calls for the construction of 42 to 50 two- to three-story townhomes that would sell for as much as $300,000. Also included would be 90,000 square feet of office space spread over three buildings, the tallest of which would be just over 40 feet.

        The project also would include a bike and walking trail and up to 75,000 square feet of public, open space.

        Pending approvals, site preparation would begin in the spring with construction set for the fall. It would be completed in phases by the end of 2004.

        Ackermann would truck in 67,000 cubic feet of dirt to build most of the project up out of the flood plain. A retaining wall also will be constructed.

        The success of Northern Kentucky's riverfront development, including Port Bellevue, attracted Ackermann to the project.

        “This development will have the look and feel of a village with residential homes with river views, some commercial development with stores and other amenities nearby,” Mr. Ackermann said. “The time has come for a project like this in Bellevue.”

       



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