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McClatchy-Tribune  09/04/2014 8:26 AM ET
See plans for the first buildings at Liberty Center [Dayton Daily News, Ohio :: ]

Sept. 04--As construction kicks into high gear on the mega retail complex Liberty Center, the township is fielding multiple building plans rushing in for the Dillard's department store, apartments, hotel and other buildings to open at the site.

Applications for the zoning certificates give a first look at some of the proposed storefronts never seen before, such as Dillard's.

Other renderings have been shown before, but the zoning records contain more detail than previously provided, such as drawings for AC Hotels by Marriott. Developer Steiner + Associates has also previously shown views of what the whole center and its buildings will look like with grassy common areas.

"We are transitioning from that phase where there is a lot of dirt work and we're going to start seeing the buildings coming vertical, which is when it really gets exciting," Justin Leyda, senior development executive for Steiner, told Butler County Commissioners the last week of August.

Construction on infrastructure such as sewer and water systems, and parking garages has already started at the site.

Following a key subdivision approval granted by Butler County Commissioners on Aug. 28, a flurry of construction activity is expected to begin. The final plat approval (contingent on the developer obtaining a surety bond) will allow Columbus-based Steiner to divide the land into up to 23 lots and sell property to the hotel operator, anchor retailers, and other partners, according to Butler County Development Director David Fehr.

In turn, that means those companies will likely begin construction on their buildings soon pending zoning approval from Liberty Twp.

Also, the developer or a subcontractor will have to apply to the county for building permits for each building constructed, and multiple permits will be issued per building, according to the county development department.

Liberty Center is the name of the approximately $350 million shopping, office, residential and dining complex under construction now in Liberty Twp. at the intersection of Ohio 129, Interstate 75 and Liberty Way. Described as the "Easton of Cincinnati," and one of the biggest development deals in Butler County history, anchor tenants announced so far for Liberty Center are Dillard's department store, dinner-and-movie theater CineBistro, and most recently Dick's Sporting Goods. Other named tenants include pizza restaurant Pies & Pints and AC Hotels by Marriott.

Set to open in fall 2015, Liberty Center will consist of 75,000-square-feet of Class A office space; 98,000-square-feet of restaurant and dining, and 250,000-square-feet of residential space consisting of more than 200 apartments.

Steiner + Associates owns more than 100 acres at the intersection for future phases of construction.

Representatives of Little Rock, Ark.-based Dillard's submitted a zoning certificate application Tuesday, Sept. 2. The two-story building will have four exterior entrances. It was first announced in April 2013 that Dillard's would open a 200,000-square-foot flagship store at the 69-acre site for the retail center's first phase.

Zoning applications for apartment buildings C and H were submitted in July and describe plans for five stories each, with 89 apartments and street level retail, according to township records.

To date, building permits for footers and foundations have already been approved for two of three parking garages -- the first building permits approved for the project -- as well as residential buildings C and H, and a retail tenant building A, according to the county development department.

Staff Writer Eric Schwartzberg contributed to this report.


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