Thursday, March 07, 2002

Big retailers could join development

Plans indicate Target, Bigg's likely tenants

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Retail giant Target and grocery store chain Bigg's are planning stores at the northeast corner of Cox and Tylersville Roads, according to development plans filed with the township this week.

        Borders, Pier 1 Imports, Bed Bath & Beyond, Famous Footwear and T.J. Maxx also are shown on proposed plans for Voice of America Centre, which will face Cox Road.

        Sit-down restaurants, a bank and perhaps a convenience store are also expected, said John Silverman, project manager with Midland Atlantic, which is developing the site.

        The final development plan for the 75-acre shopping center will be heard at the township's March 18 zoning commission meeting at 6:30 p.m.

        Officials of the stores in the plans declined Wednesday to say whether they are coming.

        “We don't like to confirm actual tenants until we have our groundbreaking event, and that will happen in another month or so with an expected opening in Spring 2003,” Mr. Silverman said.

        The shopping center will rise next to the 325-acre Voice of America Park across Cox Road from University Pointe, a medical office center expected to open this fall. just off I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton.

        A representative of Bigg's, which opened a store at the corner of Ohio 747 and Union Centre Boulevard last August, said the company wants to expand locallybecause of its success there and the fast-growing area's strong demographics.

        “I don't know that it would be accurate to say we are 100 percent committed to that site, but I also wouldn't say we are not pursuing that site,” said Mike Brooks, Bigg's director of operations.

        Target would join three other outlets along or near Tylersville Road: Home Depot, Meijer and Wal-Mart.

        It will sit across Tylersville Road from a Kroger shopping plaza. An adjacent Kohl's department store is expanding by 20,000 square feet on the side closer to Kroger. Construction is expected to begin soon, a Kohl's employee said Wednesday.

        The 125,000-square foot Target store would be the latest one to pop up in the Tristate. A new Milford store is expected to open in July. The Minneapolis-based retailer has locations in Deerfield Township, Middletown, and Tri-County and 1,053 nationally.

        The coming stores mark moredevelopment along Tylersville Road off Interstate 75, which already is packed with restaurants, gas stations, video stores and shopping plazas.

        Its location is expected to lure shoppers from Butler and Warren counties and beyond, including from the Dayton area, said Joe Hinson, president and chief executive officer of the Southeastern Butler County Chamber of Commerce. The extra customers the shopping center is expected to draw will benefit existing businesses, he noted.

        But some residents are concerned about the increase in cars the center would bring, especially on five-lane Tylersville Road, which already is jammed during rush hours and weekends.

        Some 51,000 cars travel Tylersville Road daily, with at least 33,000 cars using the intersection, according to the engineer's office. That is expected to jump with the coming development by 15 percent at the intersection and 40 percent on Tylersville.

        “You can't get up and down the road now,” complained Phyllis Whiteford, 57, a 25-year resident who lives about three blocks from the planned center. ""But I'll probably shop there because it's close to home and the prices are very reasonable.”

        Cox Road is scheduled to be widened from two to five lanes from Tylersville to Hamilton-Mason Road starting next month, according to the Butler County Engineer's Office. The $5.5 million project, expected to be complete this fall, is being paid for with tax increment financing from the county, said Chris Petroci, spokesman for the engineer's office. Turn lanes also will be added at entrances to new businesses.



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