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Developers clear milestone in massive Tri-County Mall project

New details were released about the plan, including the involvement of Princeton City Schools.
Developers clear milestone in massive Tri-County Mall project
Updated: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:01 AM EST
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SPRINGDALE, Ohio (WXIX) - Ownership of Tri-County Mall officially passed over to developers on Tuesday, setting in motion a $1 billion project that promises to transform the mall into one of the largest mixed-use developments in the state.

Texas co-developers MarketSpace Capital and Park Harbor Capital announced Tuesday morning they had closed on the mall, which is the largest in the region and, at present, mostly vacant.

The total purchase price was $37 million across parcels comprising the mall itself as well as the former Macy’s and Sears locations.

The developers’ concept plan won speedy approval through Springdale City Council last December. It calls for 2,600 residential units across 20 buildings on the 76.5-acre site. The buildings can have a maximum height of ten stories.

Another 39 buildings will contain space for retail, offices, bars and restaurants, entertainment offerings, recreation facilities, fitness centers, hotels and more. Fifteen acres will be devoted to green space. One of the restaurants, according to the developers, will be dog-friendly.

Current garages totaling 3,100 combined parking spaces will be preserved. Additional surface and structured parking could be part of the development as well.

“Today is the day many of us dreamed of but never thought would happen,” Springdale Mayor Doyle Webster said Tuesday. “It’s the biggest project in the history of our city and one of the most ambitious undertakings our entire region has ever seen. It will bring jobs, inspire community, cultivate learning and ignite growth. I could not be more excited that we are now officially on our way.”

Princeton City Schools will be represented on-site with a 120,000-sq.-ft. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) Institute that Superintendent Tim Burton called “transformational.”

Said Burton, “The Princeton STEAM Institute will continue to connect our students with opportunities to close the workforce gap that permeates our region, state and country.”

The mall’s five-phase redevelopment is expected to take a full decade to complete.

Phase one is scheduled to begin later this year and will include an initial 450 multifamily housing apartments as well as retail space, restaurants, recreational space, a fitness center, a park and walking and cycling trails.

The developers are not seeking county incentives or TIF financing, meaning the plan will not need to go before the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners before construction begins.

Preliminary site plan for the redevelopment of Tri-County mall.
Preliminary site plan for the redevelopment of Tri-County mall.(City of Springdale/BHDP)

History of Tri-County Mall

Tri-County Mall opened in 1960 amid a wave of suburbanization and highway-building, lending some historical irony to the present news of its revival as something dense and mixed-use.

The initial anchor tenants were Pogue’s (later JC Penney) and Shillito’s (later Lazarus, then Macy’s,) both headquartered in Downtown Cincinnati. There were 51 stores in total.

The Sears wing was added in 1969. An expansion project finished in 1992 saw the addition of a second level and dozens of new retail spaces as well as a fourth anchor tenant in McAlpin’s, which became Dillards.

Ownership of the mall changed hands multiple times in the ‘90s on concerns that the country’s retail environment was oversaturated.

The fears were well founded. Tri-County’s anchor tenants successively left through the 2000s, punctuating the mall’s slow decline.

Macy’s was the last to shutter earlier this year.

That news followed Macy’s store closure downtown and the company’s decision to relocate its headquarters to New York, effectively marking the end of the department store era in Cincinnati.

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