|60 more units being built within the Fort Thomas School District |
|Construction on the sixth of ten apartment buildings has started at the site off of Memorial Parkway in Fort Thomas. FTM file.|
In 1973 the Planning and Zoning Commission in Fort Thomas signed off on a proposal that would allow for construction of multiple apartment buildings to be built off of Memorial Parkway. In 1984 construction got started.
The original plan included eight, 12-unit buildings totaling 96-units.
In March 2000, Wessels Construction restarted plans with a site plan approved for nine 12-unit buildings in addition to the existing structure built in 1984 for a total of 120 units. Things began to pickup in 2007 when, according to Bernie Wessels, owner of Wessels Construction, the economy became a sticking point.
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"We want nothing more than to get started for the citizens of Fort Thomas. We have already committed a significant outlay of capital to the project." Wessels said in 2009. "It's on hold, but it's something that will get done."
In 2015 market conditions were favorable and Wessels began construction of four more apartment units, consisting of one and two bedrooms. A left hand turn lane, southbound, was constructed as well as a sidewalk along the frontage of Memorial Parkway that connects the previously constructed sidewalk on both sides leading to this property.
Memorial Village Apartments were rebranded as The Overlook and given a new street name: Oakwood Drive.
"They are doing very well. We have great tenants who filled the units quickly," he said.
|The Overlook was given that name, according to Bernie Wessels, because of the view it has of downtown Cincinnati, which can be seen in the background of this picture. FTM file.|
He said that with the demand, they've made the decision to continue with the second phase of construction and build the remaining five apartment buildings, which would complete the original site plan developed over thirty years ago.
Construction on unit number six is currently nearing completion. Rents for one-bedrooms go for $890, while two-bedrooms run around $990.
But while this is all good news for Wessels Construction, Fort Thomas Independent Schools are monitoring the situation closely.
Oakwood Drive is in the school district, with elementary school kids living within the confines of Johnson Elementary and middle and high school students matriculating to Highlands Middle and Highlands High School, respectively.
Superintendent, Gene Kirchner, said that to date, the schools haven't had much impact.
"We have been monitoring the progress of the apartments very closely since the development broke ground," he said. "Thus far, the school district has seen very little impact on student enrollment from the units which are finished and occupied."
School officials have said that the district can generally handle around 25 new students per school year, but have been receiving around 100 students over the last several years due to populations cycles.
Moyer Elementary's population has exploded. The school, which was below Johnson Elementary in terms of need of new facilities, was granted money by the state of Kentucky to start construction on a new school because of that growth in student enrollment.
School officials are hopeful that Johnson Elementary will receive funding as part of the 2018 Kentucky budget.
Until then, 60 more one and two bedroom units are slated to be built on the site.
"Things of course could change as additional units are completed," said Kirchner. "However, we don’t anticipate a significant increase in student enrollment as a result of this development."