Bill Jump, the face of the $220 million Heights development for the past year, is no longer involved in the project, according to George Jenkins, managing member of Carriage Trails at The Heights, LLC and 201 Corridor Management, LLC.
Jenkins and Jump were working on The Heights project together, but Jenkins said Jump has turned his attention to two projects in Arizona and is not actively involved with the mixed-use development near the Ohio 201 and Interstate 70 interchange in Huber Heights.
Jenkins said he is solely running the project, which is still on schedule after being announced one year ago today.
“We were focusing full time on The Heights, and we don’t need to both be focusing on it at the same time,” Jenkins said. “I’ve got other people working with me.”
Jump did not return a message seeking comment.
The Heights project — which was given a five-year timeline — is expected to create hundreds of jobs and boast nearly $1 billion in value when complete.
“I don’t believe we could have accomplished all we’ve done to date at The Heights without Bill’s help. … I still have confidence in the project,” Councilman Mark Campbell said. “I look forward to George updating us on any changes that we will experience with Bill’s leaving.”
A year into it, Jenkins said The Heights is “moving very well with lots of interest. We’re looking at a variety of things. Hopefully in the next six to 12 months, we’ll announce the first development.”
Potential suitors that Jump had previously mentioned for the 150-acre commercial component were: medical, movie theater, retail, museum, aquarium, hotel, office space, restaurants, and research and development.
Jenkins didn’t rule out those possibilities, but stressed patience because the economy hasn’t turned around as quickly as he anticipated.
Huber Heights City Manager Jim Borland said the city remains confident that the project will continue to progress on schedule.
“As far as The Heights, I’d like to personally see some shopping, such as a JCPenney or something similar to that,” Borland said. “I’d like to see nice restaurants out there to give us a little more balance in that area; something to bring people in.”
The first two components — residential and recreational — continue to be successful.
Carriage Trails — the fastest-growing subdivision in Southwest Ohio — is expected to feature 2,000 homes when it’s complete. More than 160 lots have been sold; another 47 are developed and ready for sale; 53 are currently under construction; 28 are getting ready to start; and 45 more are currently being negotiated.
Ryan Homes and Inverness Homes are the two builders, and Jenkins said he is in discussions with a third builder.
“Our problem right now — and it’s a good problem — is keeping ahead of the home builders,” Jenkins said.
In its first year, the $6 million Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights has exceeded the city’s expectations as far as attendance, and the $1 million amphitheater opens Sept. 1.
“They’re very crucial to one another,” Jenkins said. “If you have a residential area, then you have the demand for retail and commercial. The aquatic center has been very, very helpful to Carriage Trails. It’s like having a big amenity attached to the complex. One helps the other.”
There aren’t any new tax dollars being used for The Heights project because of a TIF fund set up in April 2003.
City officials have said The Heights is expected to annually generate $31 million in tax revenue and have an economic impact of roughly $1 billion during the next 30 years.
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