Overcoming Redevelopment Challenges
The Northern Kentucky Industrial Park in the city of Elsmere—the largest of its kind in the Greater Cincinnati area at over 1,400 acres—is home to a unique piece of property that sat undeveloped for more than 50 years. The site was burdened with challenges: a private family cemetery plot with no defined owner, topographical constraints that included stream and wetland permitting, and a lack of definitive roadway access. Various groups have attempted to develop it over the years, but to no avail. Despite the foreseen hurdles and potential setbacks, Core5 took on the project with the ingenuity and sensitivity it required. If successful, the team would need to acquire three contiguous parcels in order to build out an infill site spacious enough to attract large corporate users.
The Core5 Challenge: Cemetery Relocation
Unearthing a private burial plot is not something any developer wants to confront. To make it all more complicated, the 100-year-old plot for the Rice family, located in the center of the overall site, was both overgrown with thick brush and was without a legal owner. The management of this “ghost parcel” would require at minimum the expertise of an archaeologist and the approval of county officials.
The Core5 Delivery
Core5 engaged local legal teams and environmental engineers specializing in cemetery relocations. Eventually a plan coalesced, and the group began the process of researching possible heirs, posting public notices, attending public hearings and issuing numerous legal filings. Just when everything seemed to be on the correct trajectory, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Given the delays, this process took approximately 10 months to complete. It ended with a successful proceeding through the Kenton County Fiscal Court that perfected the title in favor of the development. This allowed the site to be incorporated into the adjacent parcel and included in the overall site. With the help of an archaeologist with K & V Cultural Resources Management, Core5 began the multi-phase process of burial relocation, adhering to strict guidelines set forth by the county and state heritage council. All in all, relocation of five adult and five child burials took seven months.
The Core5 Challenge: Environmental Roadblocks
Common to the topography of northern Kentucky, the property was home to many streams and wetlands. Upon receipt of mitigation credits, the team enlisted the help of an environmental engineer and an Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a preemptive walk-through. This helped to more accurately determine costs early on in the budgeting process. Further entangling progress was an issue with a crucial access point to the primary roadway: overhead power and transmission lines obstructed access.
The Core5 Delivery
Instead of relying on a potentially drawn out exchange with utility companies to relocate towers, Core5 laid out multiple driveway options that avoided them. The ideal entry sequence would ultimately require the acquisition of small portions of the neighboring properties. Strategically, however, Core5 identified similar-sized portions of its land that could be provided in exchange. These parcels were not buildable land for Core5 but were well suited for the future plans of both neighboring companies. Negotiations ensued, and the trade became a win-win for all parties.
By closing day, Core5 purchased three separate parcels including the “ghost parcel,” subdivided the newly acquired land for the access drive, and consolidated all parcels into a 772,037-square-foot plat for development of the distribution facility.