Monday, July 13, 2009

I-75 Linear City: The Middletown Interchange

The Cincinnati Buisness-Courier printed a lengthy article on the developments along I-75, recognizing a linear city is developing between Cincinnati and Dayton. The article was entitled I-75 Ceasless Makeover to Include New Interchanges.

The subtitle was even more signifigant: Line between Cincinnati & Dayton Blurs.

Since the POV was Cincy-centric they listed developments by exit number northbound on I-75.
The article is posted at Dayton Most Metro and Urban Ohio. The geographically imparied can read it while using the map below as a key.

As this spine develops people in south suburban Dayton will be more and more oriented south as the I-75 corridor develops into the new job and housing center for the region.

Though the article says the line is blurring, it's safe to say exits 19 through 24 (which is being rebuilt to include an additional interchange with Liberty Road) are within the orbit of Cincinnati, and exit 29 is a special purpose exit with unusual retail like the Hustler Superstore, the two "flea markets", Solid Rock Church with the Touchdown Jesus, the prison, and the new outlet mall.

Beyond that things get more least when it comes to blurring lines of influence.

This is the area where Dayton's influence might be felt more, but also the old industrial city of Middletown. In fact the development at the Middletown interchange, Exit 32, is probably the direct competitor with Austin Road (apparently Middletown is also proposing another intechange, too, at Manchester Road).

The New Middletown: The Renaissance District

This Middletown development, east of I-75, is called the Renassiance District. And, unlike development outside of Dayton, its all within the city limits of Middletown, representing economic growth for a city who's core is nearly as dead as Dayton.

The Renaissance District is developed around a brand new hospital, replacing an old hospital deeper into Middletown. The basic land use concept:
...and the master plan is shown below. A notable feature is the greenway following the forested banks of a little creek, and the greenways running east/west south of OH 122. In the map, orange is offices, red is mixed use (retail & office) and dark brown is multifamily. So the concept follows old-school zoning, but does try to mix things up more.

Theoretically some of this could be either walkable or bikeable, depending on how it sis developed.

Middletown selected Al Neyer, a Cincinnati developer, as their lead developer for the site. The aerials here are from Neyers online prospectus.

Looking West: The first mover was Paychex, who consolidated their Cincinnati and Dayton operations into one cener at this site. A good example of the business case for a consolidating into a central location serving two population centers. SR 122 is in the process of being widened and realigned, and I-75 is being widened to eight lanes. In the distance is the "new" downtown Middletown: the retail/hotel/food-drink zone around Town Mall.

Looking North:
The new hospital is visible here, and is quite visible from the freeway at this time, too. One can see the belt of woods proposed as a greenway, and some new office buildings, possibly related to or supporting the hospital.

Looking South: One can see the possibilities here, with lots of open space between Union Road and the interstate. Ideally the property closer to the interstate would be developed first as it's more visible, where buildings can act as billboards of sorts.
The Town Mall retail/hospitality zone is visible to the right (west) of I-75. Town Mall itself is empty, and this retail district has morphed into a de-facto power center, with a veneer of hotels and food/drink places and maybe some strip centers.

If the site planning is kept to the relatively high standard shown in the master plan map this could be one of the most attractive interchange developments in the region. There is a real posssibility here for some innovate use of open space to connect office and retail into future residential areas to the east of the site


"TheDonald" said...

The Renaissance District shows everything that is wrong with the rampant near-LA-like sprawl that is occurring in the Cin-Day axis. Towne Mall is a mismanaged, dying mall. Move a bit farther west into Middletown itself and you have the vast, concrete, boulevarded, depressing, grey, overbuilt 1970s Middletown of the Armco era that is now mostly vacant. If Renaissance is intended to be a residential destination, think of the staunch no-professional-jobs pattern of Butler and Warren. There are few places to work within 15 miles that pay more than $10/hr.

And SR 122 is a chunk farther to drive than West Chester or Monroe for Cincinnati workers, and several exits farther south than Springboro for Dayton workers. It sucks as a new exurb. IT SIMPLY HAS NO REASON TO BE BUILT in this era of fossil fuel depletion. Pure, utter idiocy.

However, great summary, as always. I know that your posting does not necessarily constitute endorsement. :)

Jefferey said...

I observe more than I editorialize, but I will say that within the paradigm of low desnity, "zoned" suburban development this is pretty good site planning, if they maintain high design standards and actually execute the greenways.

However, Middletown is replacing its downtown at the interchange. They did it with retail and now they are trying an office-park/medical center strategy. How wise is that, when there is opportunity of higher desnity walkable development down in the valley, esp with the coming 3-C rail transit along the railroad ROW.

Anonymous said...

The Renaissance District shows everything that is wrong with the rampant near-LA-like sprawl that is occurring in the Cin-Day axis.
Instant loans at an attractive low rates