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Duke Energy breaks ground on $18 million project in Colerain Township

Officials from Colerain Township and Duke Energy on Wednesday, June 5, ceremoniously broke ground for a new electric operations center at 7600 Colerain Ave., which is less than three-quarters of a mile south of the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway. The $18 million development is being built on 12 acres of land that was previously home to Western Home Center and, later, Builders First Source, but has been mostly vacant in recent years.

The redevelopment is a game-changer for the Groesbeck business district and the south end of Colerain Ave., according to Geoff Milz, Colerain Township administrator.

“This project is a homerun for our community and residents,” said Milz. “Not only does it bring life to a blighted, yet highly visible property. It will serve as a catalyst for further development along the corridor.”

Duke Energy expects to finish construction by mid-2020. Once complete, the operations center will consist of 81,000 square feet of indoor and covered outdoor space including collaborative workspaces and training areas, a warehouse and garage, and covered areas for Duke Energy bucket trucks and supplies used by line technicians. About 100 Duke Energy employees and contractors will be based at the facility when it opens. The company will be able to expand the Colerain facility and its workforce in the future, if needed.

“This is the first electric operations center we’ve built in Southwest Ohio in nearly 50 years,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy’s utilities in Ohio and Kentucky. “And this location in Colerain Township is perfect due to its proximity to major highways and the central and northwest areas of our service areas.”

Spiller noted that the primary drivers for the new Duke Energy facility are to deliver better and faster service to customers as well as create a modern facility to help recruit and retain talented workers. 

According to Chris Gilb, who oversees Duke Energy’s facilities management in the Midwest, the new Colerain operations center was designed based on various sustainable design practices and standards in an effort to create a highly efficient and cost-saving facility.

Cincinnati-based BHDP Architecture is the lead designer for the new Duke Energy operations center. Turner Construction, which began its Cincinnati operations in 1903, is managing the project’s construction.