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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Midway There Committee Still Hopeful For Developing Stables Building

The Stables Building. FTM file. 
By Jen Kohl 

Midway There, a group of Fort Thomas business and city leaders are still working on plans to land swap and convert the former U.S. Army Cavalry “Stables” building into an industrial kitchen, open air market, theater and retail space similar to Cincinnati's Findlay Market.

The building, which was built as horse stables in the late 1800's, has no plumbing and bare-minimum electric, but could be a blank canvas for new tenants coming in.

For the past three years, Midway There has been working on this plan, and city officials are hopeful the time is near.

“We are still in negotiation with the U.S. Army Reserve, the current owner, for consideration for purchase of the "Stables" building under their Real Property Exchange Program. We have been through a bid process under this program but have not been able to meet all the terms required under this program. The city does have a continued interest in acquiring this structure as we feel it could provide a great economic impact in that area of the community,” said City Administrator Ron Dill.

“There is still a group of private residents that was formed to assist with procuring the property and developing it with the city,” Dill said.

“Additionally, the city has been working with other potential purchase partners that would make it economically viable. At this time, there is no formal offer pending but it remains possible for the city/partner to make an offer in the future.”

Renaissance Manager and Economic Development Director Debbie Buckley said during her annual report that, "The Midway There Stables Project is continuing. Although it seems slow, the Army is now contacting us almost weekly wanting us to get this thing done. That’s a whole lot better for waiting months in between for their calls.”

The original plan for the project includes an idea to build a new storage building on the land near the Army's reserve unit headquarters located in the park in exchange for the stables building and five acres of land with a parking lot.

Currently the building is used for storage by Army's 478th Engineering Battalion.

“We have a major opportunity with a good tenant,” Buckley said, “and we’re hoping that this will be the impetus for other businesses to make that building a real economic boon once we have it."

In the past, there has been talk of giving the seasonal farmers market, area chefs, yoga instructors and other Midway There business owners an indoor home at the stables. The major tenant that could rent space if acquired, would rent the overwhelming majority of the building.

“Even though there is nothing concrete yet, the future could look very good if everything falls into place,” Councilman Ken Bowman added.

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