Construction of the county’s South Afton Commerce Park is on track to be completed this summer, and project officials feel confident that they’ll begin selling lots this year.
“We have easily a half a dozen of what I would categorize as very serious leads that we submitted the property for, and I’m confident that with the way the economy’s going, unless there’s some drastic disturbance in the international economic climate, we should be in good shape,” Andrew Kuchta, Clermont County Community Improvement Corporation, Inc. executive director, said. “I feel extremely positive that we’re going to have our first buyer this year.”
In February 2016, it was announced that the CIC had purchased 242 acres of land to build the commerce park at Half Acre Road and state Route 32 in Williamsburg Township in order to prepare “shovel ready” sites for manufacturers.
In March 2016, the CIC granted the Clermont County Transportation Improvement District management authority over all aspects of final design and construction for the commerce park’s public infrastructure, which includes installing road infrastructure, water and sewer lines, and putting in underground conduits for natural gas, electric and telecommunication lines.
The contract completion date for the project is June 30, according to Kuchta.
“I anticipate that we’re going to finish up a little bit before that, weather permitting,” he said. “Everything’s on pace.”
Currently being constructed are 2,000 linear feet of roadway, 5,000 linear feet of sanitary force main, 1,700 linear feet of gravity sewer, conduit for underground electric lines, telecommunication lines and piping for natural gas.
“That’s all going in right now, and construction is on pace,” Kuchta said, noting that the site’s first storm water retention pond was recently constructed.
Project officials are also working with Norfolk Southern Railway and Cincinnati East Terminal Railway on the process to finalize a rail spur pathway on the south side of the commerce park.
“Once we identified this property and got the parcels under contract, we always intended that this would be rail accessible, and that would be an option for users,” Kuchta said. “The question is, are users going to come along that need to use rail?”
Project officials, including Kuchta and his team, have been actively marketing the site.
In December 2016, Kuchta described business interest in the commerce park as “sluggish,” but noted that he looked forward to increased activity in 2017.
Now, as the mid-year mark approaches, Kuchta said that the commerce park is submitted on a “frequent basis” for leads through JobsOhio ready brokers and, sometimes, to companies directly.
“I know our site is very competitive within the Cincinnati region, in terms of the pricing, in terms of all the utilities being there, being shovel ready and having a motivated owner … our site is positioned very well compared to what’s out there in our neighboring counties that we’re competing with,” Kuchta said. “I’m confident that this is going to be the year.”