Downtown update: Kenwood/Cooper Corner
(August 13, 2021 - Blue Ash)
At the April 8, 2021, City Council Meeting, Circle Development presented a redevelopment concept for the former Hosbrook garage (owned by Blue Ash) and the former Ringo Lanes and Blue Ash Chili (owned by the developer) at the northwest corner of Kenwood and Cooper Roads. The City purchased the property in late 2020 as it is a key piece to ensure the future success and viability of downtown Blue Ash.
At a work session on August 10, 2021, Blue Ash City Council was presented with a market assessment for the project. Councilmembers had requested the assessment to determine if there was market support for the elements of the design. In most instances, that question was answered with a resounding “yes”.
The assessment, presented by Global Retail Strategies, called for an increase in amenities at the location. It found that more specialty retail stores, home-grown restaurants and entertainment, and entrepreneurial or co-working office spaces will best utilize the space and provide for economic sustainability long into the future. To make these amenities viable, compatible, and feasible, the assessment also found it is important to supplement these elements with a residential component of 250-300 apartment units. A boutique hotel that was presented in the original concepts was removed after the assessment determined it was too risky in the current and future hospitality market.
Circle Development and Reztark Design Studios also presented updated information regarding their conceptual designs. Highlights included a pedestrian-friendly design, lower streetscape profile, the elimination of the hotel, a repositioning of the residential component, and modified parking garages. City Council requested updated renderings to better understand the design changes.
The City’s planning consultant from McBride, Dale, Clarion was also at the meeting to evaluate the project in accordance with the City’s Downtown Strategy Plan. As the project was crafted with this plan in mind, it was no surprise to find that it fits the plan's goal of being a vibrant, family and pedestrian-friendly place. The development will also be a community focal point intended to complement Summit Park as opposed to competing with it.
Council requested time to review the information presented at this meeting and next steps including Council feedback and a public input process are forthcoming. There is no deadline at this time and it is possible (or even likely) that the plan will continue to evolve after much more community input.