Lebanon could be taking a major step forward in the development of an innovation hub/research and development facility with Miami University at its southern gateway off Interstate 71.
On Tuesday, Lebanon City Council will consider a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with Miami University on the future development of 100 acres north of the I-71/Ohio 48 interchange.
City Manager Scott Brunka told council during this week’s work-session that the city and Miami have engaged in ongoing conversation for the past six months and the goal would be to establish a collaborative partnership to evaluate opportunities for talent cultivation, industry collaborations, and regional economic development.
“This MOU is very broad and would formalize these conversations over the past six months,” Brunka said. “They would like to establish a presence in the Lebanon area.”
He said Miami is not interested in a branch campus model and is looking for private sector development and program integration. Brunka said the city has also had conversations with other universities and organizations, but believes Miami would be a better fit for the city. The conversations over the past few months have regarded partnership opportunities, that could include future facilities, workforce development initiatives, innovation district opportunities, and other initiatives, Brunka said.
That area of the city has been designated as an Innovation District zone for research and development in the 2020 Comprehensive Master Plan. Brunka said the property is owned by different owners and is zoned for general commercial.
“The key would be getting an anchor tenant for the site,” he said. “The MOU is very conceptual, and at this time definitive plans and details have not been developed.”
The agreement would allow the city and Miami to evaluate the viability of developing the I-71/Ohio 48 property as an innovation hub, Brunka said.
He said the agreement may provide support for local and regional funding opportunities for Innovation Districts, Workforce Development, etc., and evaluate development concepts for the property.
Brunka said potential areas of focus would include integration of housing, business, and educational facilities at one location; the healthcare industry has been identified as potential focus area; advanced manufacturing, medical engineering, and STEM opportunities; and provide educational and development opportunities for local youth, and attract talent, innovation, and investment from outside of Lebanon.
A representative for Miami University could not be reached for comment for this story.