$150 million Warren County development lands pair of prized Cincinnati restaurants

The District at Deerfield promises to be the ‘urban downtown’ of Deerfield Township.
The District at Deerfield
The District at Deerfield(Reztark/Deerfield Township)
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:41 PM EST
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WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Two well known Over-the-Rhine eateries will make their way north on I-71 to a new mixed-use development in Warren County.

Vine Street mainstays Bakersfield and The Eagle will debut new locations at The District at Deerfield when the $150 million project finishes next year.

When completed, The District will include restaurants, retail space, entertainment destinations and a 120-unit high-end boutique apartment community, according to developer Silverman and Company, Inc. The development has already attained state designations as a DORA and a community entertainment district.

Groundbreaking will take place March 23. It’s expected to be complete at the end of 2024.

The Eagle and Bakersfield are among eight restaurant brands in the portfolio of Over-the-Rhine-based Thunderdome. The company has 46 locations across 11 states but none yet in the Tri-State outside Cincinnati’s urban core.

Other tenants at The District will include Fifty West Brewing Co., which will open a sprawling entertainment space, and Pins Mechanical Co.

“This will be a premier destination for those seeking experiential dining and entertainment options in a convenient location,” said Ryan Silverman, vice president of Silverman and Company, Inc.

Silverman sought out the Thunderdome restaurants for their “relaxed, downtown vibe,” which he describes as a perfect fit for the new development he described last year as Deerfield Township’s “urban downtown.”

Thunderdome Owner and co-Founder John Lanni selected Bakersfield and The Eagle as Thunderdome’s growth brands following the pandemic downturn. He says he was attracted by Silverman’s promise of creating a community gathering space—The District will be centered around a public square that will be owned, operated and programmed by Deerfield Township.

“We worked with Silverman for a long time,” Lanni said. “They had amassed a group of tenants – particularly with the announcement of Fifty West Brewing Co. and Pins Mechanical Co. – that we believe give this project the draw to be one of the premier developments in the region.”

Growth mindset

The District signals Deerfield Township’s continued evolution as a community that must now maintain its six-decade population gains.

The township, which comprises nearly 20 percent of Warren County’s total population, grew in step with Mason through the last four decades of the 20th century, but its build-out faces land constraints and increased competition from other suburbs.

Population growth illustrates the point. Deerfield Township nearly doubled its population 1980-89 when it added around 7,000 residents. It grew by 70 percent in the decade of the 1990s and 41 percent in the 2000s. In the 2010s, it grew by 11 percent.

After 30 years of 5 percent annual growth, Deerfield Township now grows at a rate of around 1 percent per year. It was already 85 percent built out six years ago, according to a 2019 economic development report, and opportunities for added single-family housing are becoming more limited.

The Township Board of Trustees adopted a flexible planning approach in 2022 that recognized the increased need for multi-family residential development and walkable neighborhoods with destination districts (as well as roundabouts, Complete Street design and improved connectivity.)

Paul Brehm, Deerfield Township director of economic development, says The District offers the sort of placemaking Deerfield Township needs to attract and retain people and businesses.

“We have a real opportunity to position Deerfield Township as a destination not only for the I-71 corridor but for the entire Greater Cincinnati area,” Brehm said. “What’s really wonderful is that it complements the other businesses that are already here in this thriving corridor; we’re not taking investments from one side of the community and moving them to another.”

Township Administrator Eric Reiners says The District’s housing density near the Mason-Montgomery business corridor puts employees in a position to live, work and play in one connected place.

“We want to make sure all the businesses in the area can thrive, and it’s not enough to just have great office space,” Reiners said. “This provides great food options, entertainment and recreation options within walking distance. And the public square is so important, giving us a true community gathering space, where we will offer events and programming for all ages.”

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