Minority Developer Partners with Uptown Consortium on Key Corner in Innovation Corridor

A rendering of the Uptown Innovation Corridor during the daytime.

The Uptown Consortium (UCI) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Queen City Hills, LLC to develop a key corner of the Uptown Innovation Corridor. Queen City Hills, LLC is an ownership group comprised of prominent local executives with extensive business and real estate investment experience. The team is led by Ed Rigaud, David Foxx and Albert Smitherman.

The LOI gives Queen City Hills, LLC nine months to submit a development plan and enter into a purchase agreement for the UCI-owned property on the southwest corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road. The selection of a minority-owned development team is a key component of the economic inclusion model that UCI has prioritized in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. The full investment team of Queen City Hills includes Ed and Carole Rigaud, David and Patricia Foxx, and Albert and Liza Smitherman.

"We are very fortunate to have Queen City Hills as the designated developer of this important site. The leaders of Queen City Hills, known for their innovative and inclusive management approaches, have vast business and investment experience,” said Neville Pinto, board chair of Uptown Consortium and president of the University of Cincinnati. “Uptown Consortium has been intentional in our diversity and inclusion efforts, so it’s gratifying that Queen City Hills, LLC has stepped forward to invest in an ownership stake. We look forward to collaborating with Queen City Hills as we develop the Uptown Innovation Corridor.”

Last summer, Uptown Consortium purchased the former Marathon gas station at 3049 Reading Road and the former Dual Manor Health Care Center at 515 E. Martin Luther King Drive in addition to three adjacent properties. This land is included in the LOI with Queen City Hills, LLC. The group is exploring options for a mixed-use development on the corner, including possible residential, office and/or hospitality uses.

“The Uptown Innovation Corridor is a timely opportunity to help transform our region’s innovation ecosystem, so we are very excited to help shape the Corridor’s development through our shared vision,” said Ed Rigaud, principal of Queen City Hills, LLC. “We will work closely with the Uptown Consortium and the community to create a development and amenities that will advance the goal of attracting top talent and high-growth, innovative companies to the Corridor.”

Uptown Consortium has made comprehensive economic inclusion a priority in its development initiatives. WEB Ventures, the Consortium’s economic inclusion consultants, are focused on ensuring inclusion in all aspects of the development and operating process of the Corridor, including construction contracts, employment, developers, and investors. The WEB Ventures team was essential in recruiting the principals of Queen City Hills, LLC to the Uptown Innovation Corridor.

Queen City Hills, LLC joins a host of developers in the Uptown Innovation Corridor. Terrex Development & Construction and Messer Construction Co. are developing the Uptown Gateway in the southeast corner of the Corridor. In August, Terrex announced that the University of Cincinnati will be its first tenant with a building that will become a digital futures research commons for university-industry collaboration. The northeast corner will be a mixed-use project developed by MLK Investors and the northwest corner will be home to the consolidated NIOSH research laboratory.

Wordsworth Communications