Impact 2020: Prominent Bond Hill property to become mixed-use development

Story By: Jamie Barron

Part of The Port's 2020 Impact Report

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The southeast corner of Reading Road and Seymour Avenue has a long and storied history. In 1956, it became the site of the first shopping mall in Cincinnati, name Swifton Commons. It thrived until the 1970s when new shopping centers began opening and suburbs farther from the city center drew more people away. In the ensuing four decades, Swifton experienced various efforts to revitalize, but ultimately, when The Port acquired the property in 2013, businesses had diminished with few retailers remaining. Demolition of the building started shortly thereafter, preparing the prominently located site, once owned by Donald Trump’s father, for new development, jobs, and economic growth.

"The Shopping Center that has Everything"

When Swifton Center opened in October of 1956, the region had never seen anything like it. With nearly 50 retailers across 500,000 square feet, it was one of the largest centers of its kind in the nation. When it opened, the Cincinnati Post mentioned its central location as one of the center’s main draws, writing “It stands on Reading Road between Seymour Avenue and Langdon Farm Road. This is practically the geographical and population center of Greater Cincinnati.” Today, this central location remains the site’s biggest draw. In 2013, The Port commissioned the University of Cincinnati Economic Center to conduct a market study of the area. The study, “Developing Cincinnati: An Analysis of The Seymour / Reading Market Area,” found over $100 million in unmet retail demand including $2.5 billion in household purchasing power within 3 miles of the site. Additionally, the study confirmed the emergence of the corridor as a job center, seeing over $250 million in real estate development over the past decade creating or retaining over 1,350 quality jobs.

As Swifton’s number of tenants waned, the potential of the site far outstripped its current utilization. When The Port acquired the site, it was with an eye to the site’s next stage as a centrally-located development creating jobs for the region.

Poised for a Bigger Impact

The Port began demolition of the majority of the structures remaining at the former mall. One of the former department store anchor spaces remained, now housing various community-focused organizations including the Hamilton County Community Action Agency and the Bond Hill branch of the public library. The Port also secured grant funding to create a one-mile walking path around the site. Completed in 2016, “Swift Park’s” name gives a nod to the former shopping center and provides a space for recreation. The rest of the 25-acre site, now-cleared and prepared for new development, was renamed MidPointe Crossing to signify the next phase for this important site, and The Port began marketing the site to prospective developers and companies.

Kean Plans to Bring Mixed-Use Development to MidPointe

As a public agency, The Port has the unique capacity to be patient with real estate, waiting for the right end-user for the benefit of the community and region. First, the Swifton Commons site sat vacant for an extended period. During this time, The Port received a variety of proposals that would not have served the community well, including trucking and distribution that would have underutilized the site and underserved the community.

Our patience was rewarded in 2020 when The Port awarded the development rights to a developer focused on a full-site redevelopment, as originally envisioned in community plans.  The Port and Kean Development signed a sale agreement for Swifton Commons and the developer began meeting with neighborhood leadership. Preliminary plans call for a mix of retail, office, and residential on the site across approximately 400,000 square feet. Now, nearly 70 years after Swifton Center opened its doors, new development will bring jobs and vibrancy back to the property at the center of Cincinnati.


  • City of Cincinnati
  • Allen Temple
  • O'Rourke Wrecking
  • Bond Hill Community