How will Middletown Regional Hospital boost its workforce by 50 percent within 14 years? Visitors to can watch the progress of construction of Middletown Regional Hospital's new buildings, including the recently started five-story medical office building on the Premier Health Campus.

A web camera gives construction updates, while another link from the main web page gives a countdown to the expected December 2007 completion date for the hospital, to be called the Atrium Medical Center. Workers began construction in September for the medical office building, the third of nine buildings planned for the campus at State Route 122 and Union Road. That followed the August construction start for a cancer center on the campus and the hospital groundbreaking last year. Groundbreakings also are expected on the campus's Dayton Children's Outpatient Center, the Ann & Arthur W. Bidwell Surgery Center and the Behavioral Health Pavilion before year's end.

Middletown Regional now employs about 2,000 people, and hospital officials expect to add 1,000 jobs by 2020. Up to 600 construction-related jobs are expected during the busiest times.

The 110,000-square-foot medical office building will be connected to the new Atrium Medical Center. The building will hold doctors' offices and hospital services including cardiac rehabilitation, the Wilbur & Mary Jean Cohen Women's Center, and education facilities, along with a pharmacy, restaurant and offices for the hospital cashier and financial counseling.

Equity, a commercial real estate company, is handling development, construction, brokerage and property management for the medical office building. Equity expects the building will be fully leased by the time it opens in late 2007.

The 190-acre campus will feature some buildings built through partnerships, including agreements with the Dayton Children's center, a campus YMCA, senior housing and the Greentree Health Science Academy, a collaboration with Butler Technology and Career Development Schools, Miami University, Middletown Regional Hospital and Warren County Career Center.

The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corp. (Tri-ED) is listening. The economic development marketing agency for Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, Tri-ED launched an upgraded version of its web site based on feedback and input from users. The new site includes an expanded properties and buildings database, which now allows users to search for available locations based on criteria such as county location, type and size of building, and sale or lease options. Another feature is the Tax Tool, which allows site selectors to compare taxes among communities throughout the region. Northern Kentucky Tri-ED added an overview of the region that features major employers, attractions and experiences shared by executives. Northern Kentucky also will be marketed through the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's regional database now under development. The web site address is

A sales and marketing professional returns to the city to join the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau as vice president of sales and services. Barrie M. Perks, who has more than three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, was appointed after a nationwide search. He served as director of marketing for the Westin Hotel in downtown Cincinnati from 1992 to 1997, and as proprietor of the American Pie Cafe in Harper's Point from 1997 to 2002. Perks comes to the CVB from the Hilton Los Angeles at Universal City, a 482-room hotel with 60,000 square feet of meeting space. He also has held sales, marketing and management positions with hotels, including the Westin Bonaventure and the Biltmore in Los Angeles; Omni Hotels in Houston; Hyatt Hotels in Indianapolis and Chicago; Princess Hotels in Bermuda; and Loews Hotels International in London. The filling of this position is part of the realignment of the sales division as the CVB changes to focus on specific market segments rather than geographic regions. In his new position, Perks is charged with implementing a sales and marketing plan to promote the city, and to work closely with area hotels and convention facilities. He also will develop cooperative programs, familiarization visits and sales missions with the local hospitality industry to market the region.

Warren County is still drawing crowds. Tourist spending brought in $636.9 million in 2005, an increase of 7 percent over 2003, according to study data released by the county's convention and visitors bureau. Tourism remains the leading industry there, bringing 6.7 million visitors to attractions, festivals, events and hotels in 2005. The county is home to family destinations including Kings Island, the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open tennis tournaments, festivals, museums and historic sites. According to the county, tourist spending supported 15,800 direct and indirect jobs.

Economic development news relevant to the Tristate business community may be e-mailed to Cincy Business at