Monday, June 24, 2002

Loveland seeks ideas for corridor

City hoping to invigorate road

By Susan Vela,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — The city wants to know what's on the minds of the more than 100 business and property owners with a stake in the economic health of the beleaguered Loveland-Madeira Road corridor.

        City administrators are holding a public hearing at 6 p.m. today to gather their ideas about signs, landscaping and architectural standards.

        They would like to see Loveland-Madeira take on a more uniform look, similar to the downtowns in Montgomery and Madeira.

        “We're just going to try to get a sense of what ... people are willing to live with,” said Tom Carroll, assistant city manager. “A lot of these high-quality communities have these standards. This is the first step.”

        The ideas will be used for a new Overlay District that will establish design standards for the two-mile stretch linking Interstate 275 and downtown.

        “We certainly don't want to rush this process,” said Mr. Carroll, who would like to see council members approve the new standards in the next several months.

        For now, Loveland-Madeira Road is a mishmash of new and old strip malls. Retail space has suffered for years.

        The vacancy rate is 15 percent, compared with 8.7 percent for the region as a whole, according to figures released by the Cincinnati brokerage firm NAI Eagle earlier this year.

        City Council members have been trying to improve the road since February, when they approved a comprehensive master plan that emphasizes a greater mix of retail, restaurant and commercial businesses for the road used by about 27,000 travelers a day.

        Mr. Carroll said the city, in the next few years, will buy property along the road to spark growth and development, but not until it sells the historic, 85-acre White Pillars property.

        Loveland is negotiating a deal with Hines-Griffin Joint Venture and Parrott & Strawser, who are willing to buy the property for $3.4 million.

        The city chose the team after the developers submitted a proposal to build 85 single-family houses valued at $450,000 each, 70 town houses worth $225,000 each and a 16-acre commercial development.


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