City Officials, University and Community Leaders Gather for Uptown Gateway Groundbreaking

On Monday, April 8, Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction Co. broke ground on Uptown Gateway, a $250 million mixed-use development in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. City officials, university and community leaders gathered at the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Reading Road to celebrate the newest development in Cincinnati’s Innovation District. 

“The Uptown Innovation Corridor is the next big thing for Cincinnati’s future economy,” said Mayor John Cranley. “I’m confident that this development, combined with the new interchange and the research power of Uptown’s institutions, will attract other businesses and entrepreneurs to Uptown’s growing innovation ecosystem.” 

City officials, university and community leaders break ground on the Uptown Gateway development in the Uptown Innovation Corridor.

City officials, university and community leaders break ground on the Uptown Gateway development in the Uptown Innovation Corridor.

Community and business leaders attended the event, including Mayor John Cranley, Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld, University of Cincinnati President Dr. Neville Pinto, Avondale Community Council President Patricia Milton, Avondale Development Corporation Executive Director Russell Hairston, REDI President & CEO Kimm Lauterbach and Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce President Jill Meyer.

The first phase of the Uptown Gateway development includes a 360,000-square-foot digital futures office complex across two multi-story buildings, a 1,350-space underground parking garage, and a 158-room Hilton Homewood Suites hotel. The project will be completed in 2021.

The University of Cincinnati signed a long-term lease for an 180,000-square-foot building of office and research space to co-locate interdisciplinary research and innovation focused on addressing industry challenges and opportunities. The second multi-story office and research building will accommodate companies seeking to create dynamic connections between UC’s renowned researchers and highly-skilled students.

“The digital futures building will increase opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate with business partners to develop new research directions and generate knowledge to position us strongly in our transforming digital world,” said Dr. Neville Pinto, President, University of Cincinnati. “Proximity to the UC 1819 Innovation Hub, which houses many of our key external partners, will be an empowering element for change.”

Developments in the Uptown Innovation Corridor are purposefully designed to foster collaboration between tenants and surrounding organizations.

Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc.

Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc.

“The Uptown Innovation Corridor, comprising state-of-the-art developments like Uptown Gateway, is the region’s center of innovation and entrepreneurship where leading-edge institutions and companies connect with start-ups and innovators to harness new technologies and ideas,” said Beth Robinson, President and CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc. (UCI). “This is a huge step towards creating a world-class innovation district in Cincinnati.”

The University of Cincinnati digital futures building is a perfect example of the research, technology and innovation-focused tenants UCI hopes to attract to the Corridor.

“UC is focused on positively impacting education, society and the economy as a Carnegie Research 1 institution,” said Dr. Patrick Limbach, Vice President for Research, University of Cincinnati. “This space will be a destination for the types of collaborations with our outstanding faculty that are required to create solutions to the challenges associated with our increasingly digital-based lives.”

The Uptown Innovation Corridor is a 65-acre innovation and technology mixed-use hub integrated into Cincinnati’s Innovation District—the region’s center for future-facing research and talent. Plans promote connectivity among start-ups, established firms, and anchor institution partners through pedestrian-friendly features, architectural design, tenant mix, and support services. Uptown Gateway will include green space and public art to create a welcoming, collaborative environment and integrate the development into the existing neighborhood.

“We have been working on the Uptown Gateway project for three years and invested millions of dollars because of the tremendous opportunity it presents for the neighborhood, the City and the entire Cincinnati region to attract and retain the best and brightest talent from around the world. Virtually all successful research, innovation and technology districts in the U.S. are anchored by a major college or university,” said Tom Rowe, Principal of Terrex Development & Construction. “It is wonderful to have UC’s commitment and we could not be more excited for our project and for the Uptown Innovation Corridor. UC’s commitment will catalyze not only our project, but the entire Corridor; creating a focal point for innovation in our market. The broader positive impact to our city and to our region cannot be understated.”

As the master planner for the Uptown Innovation Corridor, UCI underwent extensive planning and community engagement initiatives throughout the past few years in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, community stakeholders, and other developers.  

“We spent significant time and effort ensuring that the development integrates well into the community—not just the neighborhood as we know it today, but the community we hope to create tomorrow,” said Peter Horton, Principal of Terrex Development & Construction. “Incorporating input from residents and stakeholders is critical to the project’s success, and development plans have truly benefitted from community involvement.”

A preferred developer agreement established by UCI and Terrex sets goals for minority business enterprise (MBE), women business enterprise (WBE) and Uptown resident inclusion from pre-development through construction, tenant selection, staffing and beyond. Terrex works with WEB Ventures, UCI’s economic inclusion consultants, to find and select MBE and WBE contractors and complete community engagement initiatives.

“We want to ensure that community stakeholders have a voice in determining the future of their neighborhood,” said Robinson. “It’s important to find ways for existing residents and businesses to benefit from the new developments in Avondale, and Terrex has been dedicated to those efforts from the very beginning.”

(Left to right): Henry Brown, Bill Witten, Patricia Milton and Howard Elliott attend the Uptown Gateway groundbreaking.

(Left to right): Henry Brown, Bill Witten, Patricia Milton and Howard Elliott attend the Uptown Gateway groundbreaking.

Uptown Gateway is one of multiple planned developments in the Corridor at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Reading Road. In addition, MLK Investors I [LINK TO THE NODE STORY] is building a mixed-use development on the northeast quadrant, NIOSH’s consolidated research facility is locating on the northwest quadrant, and Queen City Hills, LLC will develop the southwest for mixed-use.

More than 1.1 million square feet of new space totaling more than $1 billion of investment has been completed or is currently underway in the Corridor. When fully implemented, the Corridor master plan anticipates $2.5 billion of project investment and more than 2.5 million square feet of mixed-use development (research, office, clinical, residential, hotel and retail).