University demolishing Zumbiel Packaging Plant to prepare site for 'Xavier Square'

Part of the old packaging plant is being imploded and recycled | September 28, 2007

At the 30th annual Founders’ Day dinner on Thursday, Sept. 27, University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., unveiled the name and an artist’s rendering for a development that will bring new life to the corner of Montgomery Road and Dana Avenue.

Commonly referred to as the East Campus development, Graham announced that the multi-use development will be known as Xavier Square and will include a combination of student housing, affinity housing, stores and restaurants, commercial office space, a boutique hotel, fitness center, student health center and Xavier bookstore.

Xavier is partnering with Corporex Companies, the local developer responsible for the renaissance of the Covington riverfront, The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge and the $1 billion Ovation mixed-use project in Newport, to develop the property.

The site, about 20 acres, includes about seven acres where a BASF Chemical Plant stood until 1990 when it was destroyed by an explosion and fire. BASF donated the site to Xavier in 2000. The Xavier Square site also includes the former Zumbiel Packaging Plant on Cleneay Avenue. Xavier bought that site, a little more than nine acres, in 2004 when Zumbiel moved its plant to Hebron, Ky.

The first step in making Xavier Square a reality is demolition of the old buildings on the Zumbiel site. Bob Sheeran, associate vice president for facility management, says that most likely will begin in October and will include an implosion.

“The metal building closest to the street will be the first part of the plant to go down,” said Sheeran. “That building will be demolished. The tall, concrete structure will be imploded.”

While Sheeran said the implosion will not be as dramatic as other local implosions, including Riverfront Stadium in 2002 and the University of Cincinnati's Sander residence hall in 1991, some members of the campus community are already talking about an “implosion party” to make this a memorable event for students, faculty and the community to mark the beginning of this new chapter in Xavier’s history.

Sheeran said the steel and concrete removed from the plant will be recycled. “All the steel, even what we find buried in the concrete, will be cut into small pieces and taken to a local steel mill for recycling,” he said. “The concrete will be hauled out by trucks and taken to a couple local plants to be ground up and recycled for aggregate.”

The demolition, implosion and site preparation will take place over the next year with actual groundbreaking expected to begin toward the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009. In addition to preparing the site over the next year, Xavier, Corporex and Norwood and Cincinnati political and neighborhood leaders will work together to finalize the site plan and identify tenants that will benefit both the University and neighboring communities.

“We are thrilled to finally get this project underway,” said Graham. “Both the University and our neighboring communities, Norwood and Evanston, have been working together a very long time for the opportunity to bring this type of revitalization to our neighborhood. It will help us attract students, home owners, business owners and visitors from all over the city and the country.”

Graham unveiled details about Xavier Square at the University’s 30th annual Founders’ Day celebration. Founders’ Day honors modern day founders whose outstanding contributions to Xavier help the University better serve students and society.

This year’s recipients, Jim and Delrose Eigel, have made generous gifts to the University that have helped make Xavier’s Community Building Institute a premier player in community revitalization. They have also stepped forward to establish the James C. and Delrose M. Eigel Family Center for Community Engaged Learning. Jim Eigel is a 1956 graduate of Xavier. He is a native of Reading and lives in East Walnut Hills.