OU to meet with potential Ridges developers

Article from Athens News

By Conor Morris

Ohio University is set to meet today (Jan. 9) with developers who are interested in working with the university on plans to redevelop The Ridges.

According to a release from the university, the meeting is merely “informational,” meant to assist potential developers with “understanding the opportunities” in the Ridges Framework Plan that was approved as part of the university’s Comprehensive Master Plan. That Framework Plan provides recommendations for how the university could renovate and use currently unused buildings on the old Athens Asylum campus, and put in new building development on parts of the 700-plus-acre area that includes nature trails and a land lab.

“Future steps in this process will include a proposal submission process, which will permit analyses of financial feasibility and respective staging/implementation of the components of the Framework Plan,” the release notes.

Joe Shields, co-chair of the Ridges Framework Plan, said in the release that renovations to the historic buildings will set the stage for “long-term success.”

“The former Athens Asylum has architectural and cultural significance for the Athens community as well as to the university,” Shields continued. “By investigating development opportunities, we will be looking for long-term solutions that enable preservation of its historic character while bringing new life to this public asset.”

The release charges that “stewardship” is the university’s primary goal, with a focus on preserving existing buildings and enhancing trails.

The NEWS plans on following up on the results of that meeting in our next paper, although details may be relatively scarce considering the meeting is not open to the public, and information will come from a conference call held with OU officials after the meeting.

“Ohio University’s goal is to select the successful development team(s) using a multi-phase proposal process,” the release reads. “Through this multi-phase proposal process, the university intends to both refine and test the feasibility of its existing Ridges Framework concepts. Should new concepts be introduced by developers, they would be presented to the Ridges Advisory Council for review and approval as well as require presentation to and approval by OHIO’s Board of Trustees.”