The planned consolidation of three National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) facilities into the Uptown Innovation Corridor is taking a step forward as the federal agency is seeking architect and engineering firms to design its new home in Cincinnati.
NIOSH is planning a $110 million facility located on a 14-acre site in the northwest quadrant of the Uptown Innovation Corridor at Martin Luther King Drive and Reading Road.
The planned research facility will combine 550 employees from three 1950s-era facilities. The employees include chemists, biologists and engineers. It will be a key anchor in the developing Innovation Corridor.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of NIOSH, is formally seeking architects and engineers to design what will be a sprawling campus that includes office and laboratory buildings, a shipping facility, a parking garage, roadways, utility work, security infrastructure, and landscaping.
The project is big — 235,000 square feet of laboratories, offices, laboratory support offices, shipping, and storage spaces, roughly the size of two new Kroger Marketplace stores.
“They’re ready to enter into their design phase,” says Beth Robinson, CEO of the Uptown Consortium, the not-for-profit that is organizing development of the Innovation Corridor.
“I believe their timetable is to begin next year on the project,” she says. “And there will be room to grow.”
NIOSH’s choice to build a research facility in the Corridor aligned with the Consortium’s vision for the area as a destination for research and medicine. The potential for collaboration with nearby University of Cincinnati, the Environmental Protection Agency, and hospital systems was instrumental in the site selection, Robinson says.
The consortium is a group of large employers in the neighborhoods around Clifton and Avondale: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, UC Health, TriHealth, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The alliance has assembled and owns dozens of acres in the Uptown area, and is working to create the Uptown Innovation Corridor along Martin Luther King Drive, an avenue that was opened for major development with the completion of the Interstate 71 interchange there.
The NIOSH project is expected to have a $291.7 million economic impact on Greater Cincinnati in addition to $1.2 million in earnings tax revenue for the City of Cincinnati.
NIOSH’s site selection process began 11 years ago, and became active again in 2014 following the economic recovery.