Community Building Partners and Buckeye Hills Regional Council are continually collaborating with valuable stakeholders— including Ohio University, the City of Athens, and Athens County, along with a team of planners, engineers, attorneys, and market analysts — to develop an economically viable strategy to reactivate The Ridges. This plan builds off the valuable work developed by the Ridges Framework Plan and will advance those objectives.


acres of natural Appalachia

Contribution to GDP

sq ft of commercial space

construction jobs created

new units of housing

Reactivating The Ridges has long been a priority for Ohio University and the Athens community.

This strategy builds off of— and aligns closely with —the vision of the Ridges Framework Plan. We have tested and refined the viability of this strategy with urban planners, engineers, attorneys, market analysts, lenders, and institutional investors to ensure we have a strategy that works.

This plan is a 7-10 year, $220+ million investment into reactivating The Ridges and the Appalachian region, preserving over 600 acres of conservation land while also creating housing to fill a growing need. Ohio University will continue to be an anchor user at the Ridges while continuing to utilize the historic buildings and land it currently operates.

stay up to date with the ridges

CBP and BHRC are working extensively with the City of Athens, Ohio University, and other interested stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan that fully aligns with the original intention to preserve and enhance The Ridges. We have been hard at work hosting community town halls and performing extensive due diligence. Read OU’s coverage of these events here.

Building and Land Conservation

In addition to preserving and repurposing buildings on the Kirkbride campus, the strategy also preserves over 600 acres from development for educational and recreational uses. This ensures the continued conservation of land for years to come as the NCA becomes a good steward of the wildlife and local environment. All of the highlighted land on the map will be untouched by development.

Buckeye Hills Regional Council and Community Building Partners are the master developers of The Ridges, having developed this strategy in close coordination with key project partners identified below.

Ohio University will continue to be an anchor user at The Ridges moving forward. OU’s Voinovich School, located at the Ridges, will be a key partner in studying the development and replicating successful economic strategies in communities across the Appalachian region.

ZoneCo is a national leader in crafting clear, consistent, user-friendly, equitable, resilient, and defensible zoning regulations that promote your community’s vision. At the Ridges, ZoneCo provided zoning recommendations that allow for the seamless integration and development of new infill development alongside the historic redevelopment of the Ridges.

The National Land Advisory Group, established in 1987, is a multi-faceted corporation engaged in the market research and consulting of various real estate activities. National Land Advisory Group supplies consulting services to real estate and finance professionals and state housing agencies through conducting market feasibility studies. At the Ridges, the National Land Advisory Group established the viability to repurpose the site for a variety of users, including family housing, senior-housing, and artisan-live work communities.

OHM Advisors are an interdisciplinary firm of 600 professionals across planning, engineering, and landscape architecture. At the Ridges, OHM Advisors provided both civil engineering and land capacity analysis. The team identified costs associated with upgrading existing infrastructure serving the Kirkbride Campus and the infrastructure cost associated with the limited new development proposed at the Ridges. Their planners also assessed limited infill sites at the Ridges to identify opportunities for new housing that align with the market study and will support the ongoing investment at the Kirkbride Campus.

An innovative feature to finance this long-term development is the creation of a New Community Authority to guide the overall stewardship, rehabilitation, and preservation of The Ridges. The New Community Authority will permit the development of the project to be stewarded through a series of public-private investments designed to attract multiple private development partners for specific investments, without relying on University, City and County resources. It permits the staged development matching those investments with necessary supporting infrastructure supported with the issuance of bonds by the New Community Authority.

This strategy relieves the University, the City of Athens, and Athens County from taking on financial liabilities beyond those specific engagements that may be of interest to any or all these entities. The New Community Authority can engage with multiple developers, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to catalyze individually financed investments that complement the master development plan. The NCA will be led by a board of trustees— appointed by the master developer, the City of Athens, and the community —who will govern future decisions regarding development and community investment.

The Ridges Framework Plan addressed the current state of The Ridges land and buildings, investigated potential uses and adaptability, identified global issues bearing on access and integration with the rest of campus, and outlined financial strategies to realize the potential of this resource. The plan is sensitive to the significance of The Ridges as a community and regional asset.

The analysis described was informed by the history of this complex, previous studies, and new collection of data and ideas. Significant input to the process from both campus and community was provided by the Ridges Master Planning Committee and its subcommittees, the Ridges Advisory Committee, and the public, through meetings and workshops.

The Ridges in the News

Ridges proposal calls for redevelopment of old building, construction of new ones

February 27, 2023 | The Athens Messenger – A mixture of building renovations and construction of new facilities, is in the works as part of The Ridges Development Strategy.

OU Board of Trustees approves resolution for Ridges development

January 30, 2023 – The Post | The Ohio University Board of Trustees met on Jan. 19 to discuss a variety of topics including the new updates within the Ridges Development Plan. The vision for the plan is for it to expand the recreational benefits of the Ridges, provide more housing options for the Athens community and preserve the property.

OHIO and Athens community participate in The Ridges Development Strategy town hall

March 3, 2023 | Ohio UniversityMembers of the Ohio University and Athens community participated in a town hall on Tuesday, Feb. 21, focusing on The Ridges Development Strategy.

Ohio University partners to spend $220 million on housing, mixed-use spaces at The Ridges

March 30, 2023 | The Columbus Dispatch – After years of debate and discussion, the historic Athens Lunatic Asylum could soon be reimagined into a $220 million mixed-use development project under a new plan proposed by Ohio University.

City to host public hearing on Ridges New Community Authority District

May 30, 2023 | The Athens Messenger – Athens City Council approved a resolution that sets a public hearing for the Ridges New Community Authority District during Monday’s meeting.

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