A rendering of the Queen City Hills mixed-use development in the southwest quadrant of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Reading Road in Avondale.
The massive Queen City Hills project in the southwest corner of Reading Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Avondale has a name.
The developers call it the Biotech Cincinnati Life Science Research Park for Innovation.
The Queen City Hills team has been tight-lipped about the project details, including the identity of an expected partner for the biotech research element. But they did tell Cincinnati City Council, which rezoned the property Wednesday, a little more about it.
The unnamed partner will employ 600, with an expected annual salary of $70,000 per year, developer Eddie Rigaud told council members at a Tuesday committee meeting. He added that the expected assessed value of what they will build there is in the $250 million range.
“We have focused our development on biotech by looking at what the regional assets are in our science and medical communities,” said Rigaud, who is developing the project with his father, Cincinnati entrepreneur Ed Rigaud, and other partners, including David and Patricia Foxx.
The unnamed partner is a leader in biomedical research gene therapy and manufacturing.
“We think we’re able to create a focus that will make Cincinnati a hub for biotech in the Midwest. Most of the biotech work is done on the coast,” said Eddie Rigaud.
Developers plan commercial development and research labs, up to 400 housing units and street-level retail space on about 5.85 acres of the 7.8-acre site.
Still unclear are the potential total investment, the full scope of the partners involved and whether Current Biologics, a startup firm that will provide cell and gene therapy manufacturing and development services to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, is the partner that will be located at the development. Moody Nolan is the architect on the project.
At the end of 2021, Cincinnati Children's and CTI announced they were partnering on a $100 million initiative to launch a new firm that provides "cell and gene therapy manufacturing services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries." A Children’s spokesman told the Business Courier in January that the hospital had no information to share on its location.
Council members lavished the project with praise.
“I love the purpose behind it. I think this is going to have a tremendous impact on our schools and our education system here as we prepare kids for that talent pipeline,” said Councilwoman Liz Keating.
Councilman Seth Walsh noted that tens of millions were spent upfront by Uptown Consortium even to acquire the blighted properties razed for the project.
“We have to be able to do that in neighborhoods where it doesn’t seem very clear (what the end product will be) on the front end,” Walsh said.
The Queen City Hills project includes:
Original article posted on March 1, 2023 by the Cincinnati Business Courier.