March 1, 2024

A growing Cincinnati commercial real estate firm that is working to diversify its portfolio has acquired Columbia Square in Columbia Tusculum.
John Rickert, principal and executive managing director of Lee & Associates | Cincinnati, calls Columbia Square “differentiated real estate.” It’s something his firm, which is the sixth-largest in Cincinnati, is focusing on acquiring more of as it expands.
To Rickert, differentiated real estate is any real estate occupying a unique niche in the community. Columbia Square is in a pocket of Columbia Tusculum no one will develop around, Rickert said, and its proximity to Jeff Ruby’s Precinct also makes it unique. When Rickert acquired Columbia Square, it was 100% tenanted.
“We think businesses have a reason to be here,” Rickert told the Courier.
Rickert and his firm acquired Columbia Square on August 23 for over $12.7 million, he said. The properties were purchased from Neyer/Columbia Square LLC, an affiliate of downtown-based developer and design-builder Al Neyer.
Columbia Square includes several buildings in the vicinity of a surface lot off Columbia Parkway. The properties – 3505, 3515, 3543-3549, 3527-3537 Columbia Parkway – house a variety of retail and restaurant options. The square includes Anytime Fitness, Taglio, Verizon, Leslie Salon and Bruegger’s Bagels.
Columbia Square also houses an office building with two current tenants: IPSOS, a French marketing company, and Keller Williams. Now, Rickert wants to find additional tenants for the space.
The office building, located at 3505 Columbia Parkway, is currently 86% occupied. There is 6,724 square feet of open space, which Rickert said he thinks would fit one additional tenant. The space, however, could be divisible between multiple tenants.
Rickert said he could envision a tenant like a financial services firm or co-working space in the office building.
Rickert believes Columbia Square offers a lot of amenities for a potential office tenant. Columbia Square has the closest office to downtown Cincinnati with surface parking, Rickert said. Having a gym, food options and retail options all within its vicinity also provides convenience for tenants and their workers.
“The amenity package here is really pleasant,” Rickert said. “It’s a pretty place to be.”
Now that he’s acquired Columbia Square, Rickert wants to work on promoting it. Lee & Associates’ marketing team is working on putting together a marketing video to help promote the property moving forward, Rickert said.
The Columbia Square property was developed in 2008 by Al Neyer as a mixed-use property in cooperation with the city of Cincinnati. At the time, the city provided tax increment financing to facilitate the development of public parking areas.
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