CINCINNATI – Uptown Consortium spent that last three years buying real estate in the uptown corridor and cleaning it up.
The Marathon gas station on Reading Road and Martin Luther King Drive was an important piece of the strategic puzzle to redevelop uptown.
Franz Stansbury, director of real estate for Uptown Consortium, said acquiring the Marathon gas station is a small, but necessary part of their bigger picture.
“This is a very active corner, as you can see. It was a key corner. Like I said, in real estate, you always want to control the corners,” Stansbury said. “In the next five to 10 years, this will change significantly. It will be called the Uptown Innovation Corridor. We will be working with UC, Children’s Hospital and other institutions to instill that innovation concept, whether it be medical or technical or whatever it may be.”
The project impacts six neighborhoods, five major medical research institutions and about 51,000 employees. The Uptown Innovation Corridor is expected to bring in $11. 6 billion in annual economic impact.
Their goal is to form a diverse and urban area with numerous small businesses, starting with the people involved in the project.
“It is not just a job, it is a career we are trying to build for the people,” Stansbury said. Joe Jackson is the CEO of Battle Axe Construction. Jackson said employing local people to work on the project is an immediate investment that is making a difference.
“We are roughly at 25 employees and growing. The more projects we receive, the more employees we hire,” Jackson said. “A lot of the people I employ are from Avondale, Walnut Hills, downtown, Over-the-Rhine. So many areas in the city are benefiting from the work that we received from uptown.”
Jackson said hiring local people is one of the first immediate investments the projects made.
“We are a solution. When Uptown Consortium calls us and Battle Axe Construction shows up, we clear the way for new development that turns into new jobs,” Jackson said.
Uptown Consortium said the investment is well worth it.
“It was well worth it because something better and higher can go in here,” Stansbury said. “We can accomplish that with the rest of the holdings that we have. The future looks good.”
Uptown Consortium hopes to lock in and break ground for new projects in the next year.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will have a new facility built for them off of Reading Road next to UC Hospital.