Banks to start April 2

The developers of The Banks will announce this afternoon that they have secured all $74 million needed to finance the first phase of construction, clearing the way for an April 2 groundbreaking on the project.

"This is great news. It means The Banks project will definitely advance," said Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. "I'm excited that Carter/Dawson (the developers) will be doing the project and I'm looking forward to a great development.''

The financing comes on the last day of a month-long extension of a deadline for the developers, Carter & Associates Commercial Services LLC and the Harold A. Dawson Co., and could signal the end of a decade-long wait for activity at the barren riverfront site between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium.

It also means Carter and Dawson made good on their promise to weather a tough economy marked by difficult borrowing requirements for developers, to complete the deal. The developers’ agreement with the city and Hamilton County called for them to have commitments for all the money needed to build phase 1A of the project, to include 300 apartments and 70,000 square feet of retail atop a garage at the corner of Second and Main streets, by the end of January.

That deadline passed with Carter and Dawson still between $12 million and $14 million short. The city and county agreed to give them an extension. Today’s announcement should also include details on the sources of funding, which have not yet been disclosed.

If the April construction date holds, the vacant land at that spot will begin a long transformation into a mini-neighborhood along the Ohio River, featuring apartments, parking, retail and office space.