Saturday, March 09, 2002

Residents upset at possibility of Convergys moving in

By Ken Alltucker,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        California-area residents are demanding answers from City Hall over a proposal to pave California Golf Course and build an office campus for Convergys Corp.

        A community group representing 500-plus Mount Washington and Anderson Township families sent a public records request Friday to the city of Cincinnati, asking for all documents for a proposed development in the east-side community.

        “We want to keep the green space,” said Richard Lindhorst, co-chairman of Lower Salem Neighborhood Association. “If public property is on the corporate bargaining table, what is safe?”

        Since last year, Convergys has been searching for a single site to build one or a series of smaller office buildings for its 2,000-area employees.

        The telecommunications firm now leases three downtown buildings — including Convergys Center at Sixth and Vine streets — and a fourth building in Norwood.

        A Convergys spokeswoman confirmed the California Golf Course is one of at least a half-dozen sites the company is considering in Ohio and Kentucky.

        “It's too early for us to focus on just a single site,” spokeswoman Renea Morris said. “We're not in a hurry to make a decision.”

        A potential office campus in California would be built over the city-owned golf course and wouldn't disrupt the California Woods Nature Preserve, as some residents fear, Ms. Morris said.

        Community Development Director Peg Moertl couldn't be reached Friday.

        Ever since Convergys publicly announced its search for a new office last year, city officials vowed to work diligently to keep the company downtown.

        Losing such a large tenant — the firm leases about 350,000 square feet at Convergys Center alone — would be a severe blow to a tepid downtown office market.


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