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Cincinnati: Mt. Adams: Development and News

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Plus the Bortz family/towne properties owns and runs the majority of the business district. They are both getting up there in age and dont have any aggressive forward thinking plans. I still enjoy living up here and the few business that exist are just fine. They just wont see the huge college crowds that once made Mt.Adams what it once use to be.

Yesterday's is still an incredibly lousy bar.  It served teenagers in the 90s which is why I went there, but the days of every bar strip having a bar that reliably served under 21's is over. 

 

Agree, but they have cheap drink prices, perfect when your wallet is tight...

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Mt Adams will be fine. It needs to reinvent itself a bit but the core is there. There are some solid businesses located up there and it has the Art Museum and Playhouse as its anchor. It was a bit overbuilt with some bars and like anything, some of the late to the game players will suffer but the Hill will be fine in the end.

 

The Celestial was always an overrated steakhouse. It had a great view but the food was meh at best.

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Plus the Bortz family/towne properties owns and runs the majority of the business district. They are both getting up there in age and dont have any aggressive forward thinking plans. I still enjoy living up here and the few business that exist are just fine. They just wont see the huge college crowds that once made Mt.Adams what it once use to be.

Yesterday's is still an incredibly lousy bar.  It served teenagers in the 90s which is why I went there, but the days of every bar strip having a bar that reliably served under 21's is over. 

 

Agree, but they have cheap drink prices, perfect when your wallet is tight...

 

Personally I think a neighborhood has really died when the bar like Yesterday's shuts down. Also what the hell is so bad about Yesterday's? They have a pool table, patio, free popcorn, TVs, darts.... I guess if you want fancy drinks and kitsch wall decor then maybe it's not for you. But it beats Crowley's for certain. Ever since I went to Crowley's and the bartenders and a few patrons all attributed the neighborhood demise on Pavilion attracting Black people, I decided never to go back.

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Thanks, I had only seen the site at night.  But I really don't like that whole side of Mt. Adams because the highway noise drives me nuts.  The highway noise is worse on the hillside than it is on the ground near 71. 

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U Square at the Adams.  Even on the high end most of these apartment blocks are post modern messes.

 

I don't know why they couldn't have taken the italianate corner and made it the whole building its not hard.

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I don't know why they couldn't have taken the italianate corner and made it the whole building its not hard.

 

I don't know why mish-mashing mediocre imitation styles with cheap materials is still happening.  This has been going on now for 25+ years. 

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Also, what is going on with the big retaining wall?  They have added a fake stone "façade" (maybe?  what is it, exactly?) to the former concrete retaining wall.  I didn't see any articles on it. 

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I agree that the architecture leaves a lot to be desired, but I am thrilled this project is moving forward. It's a pretty challenging site, and it's one of the last remaining sites for infill in Mt. Adams. Given the struggles Mt. Adams has been having with its business district, increasing the residential base is about the best thing the neighborhood can do.

 

From a design perspective, I'm not sure what's going on with the little two story stone bit tacked on to the front facade, and I wish they could use brick instead of EIFS or stucco or whatever for the rear portions, but I suppose those will not be very visible at least. It's definitely not ideal, but the fact that no buildings were removed to accommodate this one, and the new residents this will bring to Mt. Adams far outweigh the design shortcomings, imo.

 

But I really don't like that whole side of Mt. Adams because the highway noise drives me nuts.  The highway noise is worse on the hillside than it is on the ground near 71. 

 

I used to live on the west side of Ida St., and I could not hear the freeway noise from my apartment. If I stepped out to the balcony, then I could hear the noise, but even then it wasn't terrible. I had the best view of OTR and the hills of Mt. Auburn and Price Hill, I could watch storms moving in from the west, and I had the most amazing sunset views. Man, I miss that apartment.

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Also, what is going on with the big retaining wall?  They have added a fake stone "façade" (maybe?  what is it, exactly?) to the former concrete retaining wall.  I didn't see any articles on it. 

 

They drilled hundreds of micro-piles into the hillside through the old concrete retaining wall. Then capped it and covered it with a poured in place new wall that was stamped to look like stone. Source, I drive that stupid loopy ramp from 471 to 75 on a bi-weekly basis.

 

Edit: Found a story about it: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/04/02/whats-going-base-mt-adams-and-when-done-pier-wall-retaining-wall/478210002/

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None of the bars, at least in their current state, ever wow'd me. Lots of weird 80s relics that instead of feeling quirky were mostly just past their prime. Kinda like the Flats in Cleveland right before its previous incarnation (mercifully) went belly-up around 2001.

 

I still really like the Blind Lemon.

 

I would like there to be some destinations within the NBD up there for tourists to have somewhere to go. I always tell people visiting the city to check out Mt. Adams, since the neighborhood is rather unique.

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I've never seen someone so displeased with reality than you. Your life must be awful.

 

Being critical isn't equal to being miserable.

 

Especially when the criticism is completely justified and accurate.

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A reddit user posted this photo and made a thread about how dead Mt. Adams Pavillion was on a Saturday Night...

 

zk0b364umy521.jpg

 

Not a soul...on a Saturday night....I remember this place being so packed even a year ago.

 

Should the Mt Adams Community Council try and reach out to 3cdc and come up with a new comprehensive plan for Mt. Adams.

 

I know we've been arguing in the past about how it's okay for Mt. Adams to lose it's, "night life" identity..But the reality is that the whole business district is collapsing there. It's not just the bars, every single establishment is dead or on life support. 

 

If the Mt Adams community council was smart, they would reach out to 3cdc and figure out a new gameplan on how to make Mt. Adams a viable business district again. They need to target specific areas that could still present large density opportunities for residential. They need to figure out new parking options as well (parking there can be hell sometimes). They need to find out how to market Mt. Adams to a new generation (right now, the current 21 year olds only care about OTR for shopping/dining/bars, how do we make them aware Mt Adams exists?). 

 

I know this a pie in the sky idea, but a brilliant concept in my mind would be to an ariel tram that connects CUF > OTR > MT Adams. Regardless something needs to be figured out, because driving there is not really pleasant per say. It's confusing, narrow, and lacks parking. 

 

Honestly, I'm just scared that Mt. Adams is going to see a very intense collapse in the coming years if nothing is done to stop the bleeding. 

 

As someone who used to frequent mt adams quite often, to what I see on the streets of Mt. Adams today... I'm telling you right now guys, it's bad. Like really bad. I feel bad for the long time business owners there especially, I have to imagine many of them are suffering quite a bit at the moment. 

Edited by troeros

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Most of the residents of Mt Adams are wealthy older people and I think they’re perfectly fine with their neighborhood losing the bar crowd. 

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On 12/23/2018 at 9:19 AM, Cincy513 said:

Most of the residents of Mt Adams are wealthy older people and I think they’re perfectly fine with their neighborhood losing the bar crowd. 

While I think you're right, it would be prudent to put together a neighborhood plan for transitioning the neighborhood to something else. Otherwise a lot of the commercial spaces will become vacant, with some transforming into residential. Mt. Adams has more retail/entertainment space than neighborhood residents can support, so they would be wise to figure out some sort of niche to fill. If they don't, I suspect the residents who were happy to see the bars close will be upset to see their restaurant scene collapse and other amenities (like possibly the UDF) disappear. People from outside the neighborhood need compelling reasons to visit Mt. Adams, being that it's not on the way to or from anywhere and it's somewhat of a hassle to navigate. The beauty of the place only goes so far without a large tourism industry.

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2 additional bars, Tavern on the Hill and Yesterdays, are shutting down in mt Adams this final weekend 

 

Say hello, to the soon to be, prettiest hill side ghost town with elderly empty nesters in all of cincy! 

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The only time I went to Tavern on the Hill was the night 38-0 Kentucky lost to Wisconsin in the final four. I never went back and I hope those horrible memories die with the tavern. 

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Sad to see what is happening in Mt. Adams. There was an article about some planned revitalization attempts in the Biz Courrier a while ago, and I don't think it ever got posted here. I will look for it later this afternoon, but it basically mentioned some new streetscape stuff, potentially a small hotel, some new restaurant concepts to be announced soon, and emphasizing the new residential development happening mostly on the south and west sides of the hill. Mt. Adams doesn't need to be a nightlife center, and I think it's ok if it's a bit sleepy. But it'd be great if it could land a few quality restaurants, retain a couple bars, and add in a little boutique or two- though admittedly the street traffic is probably too low for retail to really thrive. As much as it kills me to say this, I also think parking is a bit of a problem, and there should probably be some sort of garage built on the hill somewhere. 

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Parking is definitely a problem, since you can’t really walk to Mount Adams from any other neighborhood and it doesn’t have great transit connections into the basin. I think some more cafes and maybe a new Rookwood-caliber restaurant would do ok up there but it really never made sense as a nightlife district in the first place. Those bars were mostly up there because at the time it was really the only gentrified neighborhood near downtown. 

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“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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1 hour ago, ucgrady said:

The only time I went to Tavern on the Hill was the night 38-0 Kentucky lost to Wisconsin in the final four. I never went back and I hope those horrible memories die with the tavern. 

 

Sounds like a great memory to me

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The closure of Longworth's left a gaping hole in the exact center of the business district.  Not sure what the deal is with that place but when it reopens the crowds will return. 

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The best route for Mt. Adams is to be a somewhat sleepy, mostly-residential community with a few upscale restaurants, corner cafes, and maybe a few small boutique hotels or BNBs thrown in. The narrow streets and confusing street grid, lack of parking, and lack of public transportation don't make the neighborhood an ideal location for nightlife.

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1 hour ago, Rabbit Hash said:

I still think an aerial tram (didn't @thebillsharkpropose this?) would do wonders for it as a tourist draw.

Yes but according to a diagram of neighborhood plans included in the recent business courier article https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/02/01/new-life-is-coming-to-mount-adams.html

 

the Tram is pointing the WRONG WAY! It is pointed towards Sawyer Point instead of towards the hotels, parking garages, residencies and businesses of downtown. Not of much use to anyone except for joggers.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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^Mt Adam's is going to be fine. As that article points out, it has average prices for real estate ($628k) despite many lots being quite small. (For comparison, Hyde Park's average sale price was $489k). There's plenty of demand from people who want to live there, and the retail scene will sort itself out. My only fear is if - as the article says - they try to brand Mt Adams as "the Hill"... uhm... no thanks.  

Edited by jwulsin

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My only fear is if - as the article says - they try to brand Mt Adams as "the Hill"... uhm... no thanks.

 

Residents have referred to Mt. Adams as "the Hill" for a long time. I don't think anyone is trying to formally brand it that way right now.

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Exactly. When I moved to Mt. Adams, everyone I dealt with at both rental companies insisted on referring to Mt. Adams as "the hill". 

 

It's kind of strange to see everyone saying that the retail scene will sort itself out, especially since that has been the standard response for years, as the business district has gradually died. Imagine if 3CDC took that kind of stance with OTR back in 2006 or whenever they started. "Oh these boarded up buildings will just sort themselves out because they're right next to the CBD and the architecture is solid." Maybe the key to Mt. Adams business district's woes is converting St. Gregory to a primarily residential street, and just removing a lot of the commercial space that's up there. Vacant storefronts certainly don't help anyone. 

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A dying retail scene is a reoccurring theme in a lot of small, historic, highly desirable neighborhoods. I know that German Village up in Columbus is facing the same struggle and the commission often cites Mt. Adams as what they're trying to avoid. I think the days of Mt. Adams being the go-to destination are long gone, but I think Mt. Adams could fill a new niche of more high end destinations that local residents could afford to frequent regularly . 

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Mt. Adams needs more places like Longfellow, Lackman, Blind Lemon, etc. Smaller places that are good for date nights. Not large clubs with huge patios. What does that mean for the existing large spaces? I don't know.

 

Mt. Adams could be the premiere date night location while OTR becomes the nightlife destination in conjunction with downtown.

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^Agreed. I also think someone mentioned a gondola? Usually they have a reputation for being cheesy transit, but in a city like Cincinnati and a hard to access neighborhood like Mt. Adams, a gondola system would do wonders.  

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The problem is that a lot of the retail and restaurant establishments don't cater to the demographic that lives in the neighborhood. The clubs rely on people from elsewhere to patronize them. Places like Mt. Adams Tavern and Blind Lemon do just fine. More places should cater to people living there and people going to the museum/shows.

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Or Santa Clara in Dayton, which boomed for about three weeks in the 90s and is now in worse shape than most of OTR. 


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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5 hours ago, ryanlammi said:

Mt. Adams needs more places like Longfellow, Lackman, Blind Lemon, etc. Smaller places that are good for date nights. Not large clubs with huge patios. What does that mean for the existing large spaces? I don't know.

 

Mt. Adams could be the premiere date night location while OTR becomes the nightlife destination in conjunction with downtown.

 Mt. Adams became too bar centric/club centric in the mid 2000s. There was always Longworth's and Pavilion, but they were more geared toward the band scene or the outdoor patio instead of the whole club feel that they became too clubby.

 

There used to be a mix of small restaurants for date nights, wine bars, more small bars and other establishments. Places like A Live One offered a place to get a drink after a dinner or a show.

 

What is missed is places like the Fish Market. Mt. Adams is best centered around the Playhouse and establishments to support that as the anchor.

 

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9 hours ago, Lucas_uLsac said:

A dying retail scene is a reoccurring theme in a lot of small, historic, highly desirable neighborhoods. I know that German Village up in Columbus is facing the same struggle and the commission often cites Mt. Adams as what they're trying to avoid. I think the days of Mt. Adams being the go-to destination are long gone, but I think Mt. Adams could fill a new niche of more high end destinations that local residents could afford to frequent regularly . 

 

What?? German Village in Columbus is not facing any kinds of struggles.  I was there last week and that neighborhood is hopping.  Always has been.

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What I think he meant is that German Village has been trying to nip any kind of losses like that in the bud for a long time as a neighborhood that had been gentrifying since all the way back in the 1950s. There's not much left to fix up in GV, but it also doesn't want to become stale. GV hasn't been considered a big place to party in the past unlike Mt. Adams so in that respect it hasn't been subject to "trendyness".

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3 hours ago, jeremyck01 said:

 

What?? German Village in Columbus is not facing any kinds of struggles.  I was there last week and that neighborhood is hopping.  Always has been.

 

I was working on a project with the GV Commission last year and one of the big concerns they had was the continuing decrease in retail over the years. They often cited Mt. Adams and how they didn't want to continue to lose retail. German Village competes with the Short North the same way Mt. Adams competes with OTR. 

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      As a younger resident of Mount Adams, and one that participates and attends the Community Council meetings monthly, there is a major problem among the majority of my neighbors. They are 55 and older, majority of them are self made and have considerable net worth. However they continuously think that they should open like six different white table cloth restaurants along St. Gregory. I have heard them time and time again shouting how about... fine dining, restaurants with live music, restaurants with raw bar. It just wont happen, because the residents don't frequent the existing establishments enough now for them to be successful. Plus parking will always be a sore spot in the neighborhood bringing non-residents up to the area.

      Brief food history, The Celestial was a dump, in the end that killed itself, Rookwood, closed because the rent was way out of control, and maintenance was poorly attended too. Teak closed because of poor ownership. Daveed's, made a second go of it and couldn't get the business to keep them profitable. Tavern on the Hill, had excellent bar food but couldn't capture the business of the neighbor on non weekend hours. The Wine Bar, with food closed never could get the business in the door,  Quincy's is now located there. Longworth's, use to have a decent food menu. Chapter, has really scaled back food menu as well. Pavilion, has bar food, but never been impressed with food to service in the bar. Mt. Adams Bar and Grill is truly the only restaurant left in Mount Adams and it does a decent business and the food is alright but nothing to tell your work colleagues or family members. Bow Tie cafe is basically a coffee house with some minor food offers, but again you rarely see many people in there as well, they did a remodel to attract more business but traffic is slow. 

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15 hours ago, jeremyck01 said:

 

What?? German Village in Columbus is not facing any kinds of struggles.  I was there last week and that neighborhood is hopping.  Always has been.

 

The few times I've been to German Village I always thought it was massively under retailed. It's a cute area to walk around in, but other than the big book store and a couple restaurants, it seems like it's very sleepy and residential. It doesn't have a real business district in the way Mt. Adams does. It's a charming neighborhood, for sure, but not really comparable to what Mt. Adams had, which is a cluster of ~20 businesses on two streets. 

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2 hours ago, savadams13 said:

      As a younger resident of Mount Adams, and one that participates and attends the Community Council meetings monthly, there is a major problem among the majority of my neighbors. They are 55 and older, majority of them are self made and have considerable net worth. However they continuously think that they should open like six different white table cloth restaurants along St. Gregory. I have heard them time and time again shouting how about... fine dining, restaurants with live music, restaurants with raw bar. It just wont happen, because the residents don't frequent the existing establishments enough now for them to be successful. Plus parking will always be a sore spot in the neighborhood bringing non-residents up to the area.

      Brief food history, The Celestial was a dump, in the end that killed itself, Rookwood, closed because the rent was way out of control, and maintenance was poorly attended too. Teak closed because of poor ownership. Daveed's, made a second go of it and couldn't get the business to keep them profitable. Tavern on the Hill, had excellent bar food but couldn't capture the business of the neighbor on non weekend hours. The Wine Bar, with food closed never could get the business in the door,  Quincy's is now located there. Longworth's, use to have a decent food menu. Chapter, has really scaled back food menu as well. Pavilion, has bar food, but never been impressed with food to service in the bar. Mt. Adams Bar and Grill is truly the only restaurant left in Mount Adams and it does a decent business and the food is alright but nothing to tell your work colleagues or family members. Bow Tie cafe is basically a coffee house with some minor food offers, but again you rarely see many people in there as well, they did a remodel to attract more business but traffic is slow. 

 

Yeah, the places in Mt. Adams did nothing to innovate or keep up with the times. I lived in Mt. Adams for 3 years, and other than Teak or Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, I would never go to the other places for food, because they were awful. Even Tavern, which was probably the best of the bunch, had very standard (mostly fried) bar food. The Mexican place was somewhat promising, but their hours were so spotty that you couldn't depend on them being open, or actually serving food if they were open. If some of the Vine St. type of places would have opened in Mt. Adams, I think the business district would still be doing well. People like coming to Mt. Adams. It's like an urban island kind of floating above downtown, has great views, picturesque architecture, etc. But they're not gonna make the trek for some fried pickles and wings. Now that the crowds have largely left, it's going to be harder to draw people back. One cool new restaurant (preferably in the Longworths space) could spark a major comeback, though.

 

BTW, is Monks Cove still around? Even though it could attract a douchey crowd, I have a soft spot for that little bar. 

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1 hour ago, edale said:

 

Yeah, the places in Mt. Adams did nothing to innovate or keep up with the times. I lived in Mt. Adams for 3 years, and other than Teak or Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, I would never go to the other places for food, because they were awful. Even Tavern, which was probably the best of the bunch, had very standard (mostly fried) bar food. The Mexican place was somewhat promising, but their hours were so spotty that you couldn't depend on them being open, or actually serving food if they were open. If some of the Vine St. type of places would have opened in Mt. Adams, I think the business district would still be doing well. People like coming to Mt. Adams. It's like an urban island kind of floating above downtown, has great views, picturesque architecture, etc. But they're not gonna make the trek for some fried pickles and wings. Now that the crowds have largely left, it's going to be harder to draw people back. One cool new restaurant (preferably in the Longworths space) could spark a major comeback, though.

 

BTW, is Monks Cove still around? Even though it could attract a douchey crowd, I have a soft spot for that little bar. 

Monks Cove is up for sale, but still operating. The douchey crowd isnt there anymore so its mostly dead, only time they get a slight crowd is events and weddings that come from the Monastery Event center. 

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Moncks Cove will not be going anywhere, it doubles as a real estate office upstairs and offers a nice tax write off for the owner.

 

14 hours ago, Lucas_uLsac said:

 

I was working on a project with the GV Commission last year and one of the big concerns they had was the continuing decrease in retail over the years. They often cited Mt. Adams and how they didn't want to continue to lose retail. German Village competes with the Short North the same way Mt. Adams competes with OTR. 

I have never found German Village to be that impressive. Mt. Adams is set up a lot better with a better defined business district than GV.  I think Mt. Adams has much for potential than GV ever had.

 

4 hours ago, savadams13 said:

      As a younger resident of Mount Adams, and one that participates and attends the Community Council meetings monthly, there is a major problem among the majority of my neighbors. They are 55 and older, majority of them are self made and have considerable net worth. However they continuously think that they should open like six different white table cloth restaurants along St. Gregory. I have heard them time and time again shouting how about... fine dining, restaurants with live music, restaurants with raw bar. It just wont happen, because the residents don't frequent the existing establishments enough now for them to be successful. Plus parking will always be a sore spot in the neighborhood bringing non-residents up to the area.

      Brief food history, The Celestial was a dump, in the end that killed itself, Rookwood, closed because the rent was way out of control, and maintenance was poorly attended too. Teak closed because of poor ownership. Daveed's, made a second go of it and couldn't get the business to keep them profitable. Tavern on the Hill, had excellent bar food but couldn't capture the business of the neighbor on non weekend hours. The Wine Bar, with food closed never could get the business in the door,  Quincy's is now located there. Longworth's, use to have a decent food menu. Chapter, has really scaled back food menu as well. Pavilion, has bar food, but never been impressed with food to service in the bar. Mt. Adams Bar and Grill is truly the only restaurant left in Mount Adams and it does a decent business and the food is alright but nothing to tell your work colleagues or family members. Bow Tie cafe is basically a coffee house with some minor food offers, but again you rarely see many people in there as well, they did a remodel to attract more business but traffic is slow. 

There needs to be something to cater to the older residents who live there. Maybe not 4 white table cloth places but 1-2. The Celestial was a dump and the food sucked but it had a great view and catered to the 50+ crowd.  Like OTR, the 50+ crowd has the money to invest in the area and keep growth going. They are the ones that will actually be spending on the retail scene there since they have the money to do so.

 

Also, losing the Art Institute and Empower/Clear Channel took away a lot of jobs to the area which helped to make it more of a 24/7 destination. Without the few hundred employees who work in the building. These were people who were going to happy hour at Longworths and A Live one during the week that no longer patronized the area.

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1 hour ago, Chas Wiederhold said:

Mt. Adams should do what other declining neighborhoods do and open up some low rent art gallery/studio spaces.

 

 image.png.c5446a7d6afba24b6e650fca5abd9d62.png

 

If you talk to alot of the older residence on Mount Adams, during the 60's there were many artist and flower children living in the area and made it more bohemian and hip. With the Art Academy and the Park it added to the desire for the creative culture to thrive in the area. 

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