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Short Vine's newest plan: Apartments, retail

10:03 PM, Aug. 31, 2011

Written by

David Holthaus

dholthaus@enquirer.com

 

 

A 100-year-old school building would be demolished and a new city block with more than 100 apartments would be built in its place under the latest plan to resuscitate Short Vine Street in Corryville and upgrade the area around the University of Cincinnati.

 

Developers are planning a $20 million project that includes tearing down the former Schiel School, which Cincinnati Public Schools officials closed in 2010. In its place would be 102 apartments designed for graduate students, medical students and workers at nearby hospitals. On the ground floor, three or four stores are planned, including a Fifth Third bank branch as the anchor.

 

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110901/BIZ01/109010311/Short-Vine-s-newest-plan-Apartments-retail?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Business

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Shameful demolition aside, this is the best proposal ive seen for infill in this area.  This could be a very nice addition to the University area and hopefully would inspire others to reach a little higher than the norm in future projects.

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Actually I can't believe it, but the rendering of the place looks pretty good.  Particularly for who's building it.  :-o

 

Still is there any way they could have taken the castle facade off of the school?  And I'm still cynical, lets see how it looks completed :P.

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Uptown Property's continued raping of Corryville and CUF Heights' historic fabric...

 

"But that would have resulted in a $7 million loss on the investment"

This statement bothers me so much. $7 million loss on the investment? So they are still making money... just $7 million dollars less?

 

"The developers considered re-using the old school, pitching it to the University and nearby hospitals, but none could find a way to use it."

Maybe the developers could open their eyes and see what is being done to the Fairview German Language School. It is actually quite amazing to see them salvaging this building!

 

Conservation is being totally ignored for laziness and because someone wants to make a buck by giving Cincinnati another homogeneous-Main-Street-USA-Disneyland development. When did people stop deserving a quality product?

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"The developers considered re-using the old school, pitching it to the University and nearby hospitals, but none could find a way to use it."

Maybe the developers could open their eyes and see what is being done to the Fairview German Language School. It is actually quite amazing to see them salvaging this building!

 

Conservation is being totally ignored for laziness and because someone wants to make a buck by giving Cincinnati another homogeneous-Main-Street-USA-Disneyland development. When did people stop deserving a quality product?

 

 

I agree with you 100%.  Sadly all this stuff was set in stone behind closed doors years ago, just proving how poor democracy is for local neighborhoods unless they have a community council that well represents the community instead of outside interests with a stake.  I don't know why they are going ahead with such a blatant 1960s style urban renewal, to what is IMO one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the midwest.  Its really criminal, and speaks to just how f-d up Cincinnati is when it comes to this stuff.

 

Cincinnati is San Francisco that aspires to be Indianapolis, seriously :P.

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From the article: "It's either a vacant building or doing something that will jump-start our businesses," said Mike Ealy, community council president.

 

This statement is sad but true I think, especially with a still-uncertain financial environment for developers. That $7 million is not chump change, please don't make it out to be nothing, exurbkid.

 

I also think that Short Vine is a crucial component to moving the Uptown area forward; this project takes care of a major site that might otherwise sit empty. Couple that with the fact that this building will likely see 100% occupancy with a waiting list before it even opens, and I support this project. This area desperately needs housing like this.

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Uptown Property's continued raping of Corryville and CUF Heights' historic fabric...

 

I can go on and on about Uptown's (and other companies) demolition of Uptown, including the Friars' Club, but in reality, many of these buildings are not suitable for mass housing developments.

 

"But that would have resulted in a $7 million loss on the investment"

This statement bothers me so much. $7 million loss on the investment? So they are still making money... just $7 million dollars less?

 

No, it means that when you add in the purchasing price of the property, and the renovation of the building to suit the needs of an apartment complex, it would be cost prohibitive. They are in the business of generating a profit - and if CPS is selling the school at a high value - as they should since it is on a prime corner of land next to the University of Cincinnati, then that potential for renovation goes down. School renovations are always tricky - if the layout is right on the inside, then tearing down walls and adding in amenities like bathrooms is not as bad. But this school's layout is not as straightforward. You can only get so many units out of the building, and because of that there is not that revenue that will be generated to pay off the development.

 

"The developers considered re-using the old school, pitching it to the University and nearby hospitals, but none could find a way to use it."

Maybe the developers could open their eyes and see what is being done to the Fairview German Language School. It is actually quite amazing to see them salvaging this building!

 

Fairview was sold for a VERY cheap price (I was at the auction), and thus the purchase price is FAR lower than Schiel. There is also much more square footage to work with at Fairview, and more potential for more units.

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Speaking of re-purposed schools, it would be amazing if there actually was someone with both the creativity and resources to pull off something like this in Cincinnati...

 

http://www.mcmenamins.com/427-kennedy-school-home

 

I'm amazed how a city that for the most part looks like a giant Reading or Lockland set in a temperate rainforest manages to do so much more with so much less :P.

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If the choice is between a new dense 5-story mixed use building and a repurposed school like the abomination of the old Walnut Hills High School on Burdett Avenue, I'll take the new building.  I've not been impressed with the school/condo conversions I've seen around here.  They have such low occupant densities for the most part that they tend to be dead weight on the neighborhood.  The monumental way the buildings are put on their sites (one of the few urban buildings that actually work with a buffer of grass around them) made them very vulnerable to having that buffer zone paved for parking or play areas.  When converted to residential use, that area either remains parking (like Chase School in Northside) or becomes a barren no-go land (like the Burdett Avenue school).  If the old SCPA was to be converted to residential use, you can bet it would remain surrounded by parking, and that's no good.  That doesn't mean an office would be any better, but they are difficult buildings to repurpose. 

 

In this particular case, the school as well as the library and fire station across the street have a marked deadening effect on the block.  Something much more dense with a positive ground floor relationship to the sidewalk is necessary to help that stretch of Short Vine. 

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If the choice is between a new dense 5-story mixed use building and a repurposed school like the abomination of the old Walnut Hills High School on Burdett Avenue, I'll take the new building.  I've not been impressed with the school/condo conversions I've seen around here.  They have such low occupant densities for the most part that they tend to be dead weight on the neighborhood.  The monumental way the buildings are put on their sites (one of the few urban buildings that actually work with a buffer of grass around them) made them very vulnerable to having that buffer zone paved for parking or play areas.  When converted to residential use, that area either remains parking (like Chase School in Northside) or becomes a barren no-go land (like the Burdett Avenue school).  If the old SCPA was to be converted to residential use, you can bet it would remain surrounded by parking, and that's no good.  That doesn't mean an office would be any better, but they are difficult buildings to repurpose. 

 

In this particular case, the school as well as the library and fire station across the street have a marked deadening effect on the block.  Something much more dense with a positive ground floor relationship to the sidewalk is necessary to help that stretch of Short Vine. 

 

Well put.

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Since this is Uptown Rentals we are talking about expect all the upper parts of the building in the rendering shown in white to be cheap vinyl siding.  It will not turn out like the rendering.

 

$20mil seems low for a project of this size.

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I can go on and on about Uptown's (and other companies) demolition of Uptown, including the Friars' Club, but in reality, many of these buildings are not suitable for mass housing developments.

 

I'm not arguing that they re-purpose the building as housing. A neighborhood needs diversity. I presented Farview as an example of keeping a historic urban school mostly intact, not as an example of what should be done with a historic building. What's everyone's fixation with mass housing developments anyways? Wouldn't an equally advantageous use of money be a mass updating of the current housing infrastructure? Who is spearheading that business? I would rather live in a building with character and history than a sterile, cheaply built, out of scale building.

 

 

No, it means that when you add in the purchasing price of the property, and the renovation of the building to suit the needs of an apartment complex, it would be cost prohibitive. They are in the business of generating a profit - and if CPS is selling the school at a high value - as they should since it is on a prime corner of land next to the University of Cincinnati, then that potential for renovation goes down. School renovations are always tricky - if the layout is right on the inside, then tearing down walls and adding in amenities like bathrooms is not as bad. But this school's layout is not as straightforward. You can only get so many units out of the building, and because of that there is not that revenue that will be generated to pay off the development.

 

Perhaps it doesn't need to be a housing development. Consider this. Consider "redevelopment" "revitalizes" Corryville... wouldn't that mean that Corryville would need a school? A community center? Some type of institutional space? Clifton has the Clifton Cultural Arts Center... That's excellent use of a school building. Maybe the building becomes an extension of the Neihoff Studio. I dont know... for every massive housing development, maybe there should be an institution nearby. Density needs to offer occasional respite. I felt the article was too dismissive about the University and the Hospitals to convince me that they were either were seriously considered in this equation... but, I know nothing but what I felt when I read the dismissive statement.

 

Does anyone recognize that this would be the TALLEST development in Corryville? Maybe one building in Corryville makes it to 5 stories. Most are 3 stories. I think that it is largely out of scale and if anything, harms the urban fabric more than helps it. Bing Maps birds eye view is pretty convincing of this. The development is right across the street from 2 story townhouses! To argue that this new development is consistent with the urban fabric of Corryville is delusional.

 

And seriously... how much longer until post modernism goes away?

 

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In this particular case, the school as well as the library and fire station across the street have a marked deadening effect on the block.  Something much more dense with a positive ground floor relationship to the sidewalk is necessary to help that stretch of Short Vine. 

 

I'd say it's pretty handy having a fire station and library around, though, no? The library is a Carnegie.

 

It's really tough to get good results out of school to apartment conversions. Makes me think of the old Ashville School that got turned into Hinkle Apartments a.k.a. Hinkle's Hatchery. In fact, I'd say the school was kind of a plague on Short Vine because of the huge asphalt lagoon around it. It only came in handy for Bogart's parking and dads tailgating before high school games on Fridays. Though that horrible '50s post office gives it a run for its money.

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I'd say it's pretty handy having a fire station and library around, though, no? The library is a Carnegie.

 

Handy yes, but a station like that shouldn't really be on a pedestrian-focused street.  If it was closer to the sidewalk and had a bit more character, and only one or two bays (think Hyde Park Square or Ludlow and Clifton) then it'd be ok.  The library is awesome architecturally, but it doesn't engage the sidewalk.  Having a monumental building isolated on its site works in an urban environment only when it stands alone among the dense and more day-to-day fabric surrounding it.  When you have more than one of those types of buildings in a single location (like the library, and a school, and also the fire station) it becomes more suburban in character.  Above all, the point is that even if the school and the library are nice buildings, and they are, they along with the fire station basically mark the end of a good pedestrian zone because there's nothing there to engage the pedestrian's interest.

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I would agree that the school is a complete dead space. Most of the conversions to residential units typically leave it either as surface lot, or as grass which is completely out of character for what Short Vine is being envisioned as. From Louisville, Ky. to Midway, Ky., to Wheeling, W.Va. and even in Cincinnati, I have yet to see a great reuse of a school that doesn't enhance the street corridor. It's not to say that the project was not a success - it saves a building from demolition, but there are many factors that go into if the reuse of a building is practical or not.

 

With this new proposal for a new structure, you are obtaining 102 units plus first floor retail, which brings in more revenue to the developers. If you keep the existing school site, you are only obtaining just 40 units and zero retail. Retail generates higher leases than typical residential rents, and you need a critical mass of residents to generate retail spaces.

 

I should add that you need a particular demographic to generate retail spaces. We aren't talking about Linn Street and that failed West End development, but something along the lines of University Park.

 

And you need more residents to support the Corryville Crossings development at the junction with MLK, which has no other street facing retail because it has not been built yet due to a lack of pedestrians and residents. For what its worth, that is a mess of a development - the Hampton Inn doesn't even face the street.

 

Finally, this is a private development. The school isn't being demolished with federal monies, so no Section 106 review required, et. al. And with private money, you are responsible to your shareholders and/or to your employees. So purchasing the school from CPS at a high price - because they are wanting to make a buck off of this valuable land too, and then converting it to 40 leased units that don't generate the return-on-investment as say, condos, you run a deficit of $7 million. It's just not a profitable project, which is the end all for all private development. Demolishing the school, which is not historic nor is all that interesting outside of the front facade, and converting it into a better and higher density use, generates the best bang for a private developer.

 

FYI, I don't like most of Uptown's properties, but I was able to see a detailed rendering of this. If it looks as nice as what was handed out, then this should be a sell out project that is next door to UC. It provides a needed shot in the arm to revitalizing the declined Short Vine district.

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Since this is Uptown Rentals we are talking about expect all the upper parts of the building in the rendering shown in white to be cheap vinyl siding.  It will not turn out like the rendering.

 

$20mil seems low for a project of this size.

 

It's only 100 units. 200 g-spots per unit should get them something decent.

 

Not luxury, but decent.

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Well, you are targeting young professionals that pretend to have a lot of money, and students that have no money :)

 

I wouldn't put it past them to use the awful stucco-like material that is on 65 West instead of siding. Is there a design standard on Short Vine?

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This discussion reminds me of the Bass Lofts complex in Atlanta's Little Five Points neighborhood.  The building is a 1920s high school and gym/auditorium with a couple newer structures on the site. I love how they have kept much of the classic "charm" of the school while giving it a modern feel... Check it out: http://basslofts.com/

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So I decided to go for a walk through Corryville this afternoon during a break of the rain.  There are four major projects that will be going on in Corryville this year.  1 is just beginning (Schiel), one is almost finished (Euclid), one is underway (vine) and a fourth is likely to break ground later this year (stetson Square expansion).

 

There is no general Corryville/Short Vine thread, so forgive me for combining all of these here but they are all close to each other.  If a Mod wants to move these to a new thread, feel free.

 

<br><b> Schiel demolition almost complete, probably will be done tuesday or Wednesday depending on weather.

15ytes1.jpg

 

From outside the library at Daniel & Vine. </b>  From this point you could see both the new Schiel development & the almost finished Uptown development that is between Euclid & Van.

2rcy4qf.jpg

 

 

<b>Standing at Van Street, these actually don't look too crappy.  </b>Much better than 65 West. BUT never fail, I'm sure they will screw it up with Childs Playpen Colors for the balconies.

544f9.jpg

 

 

<b>Standing at Van & University- Back of Euclid/Van Development.</b>  Immediately behind me is the Vine Flats development.

From the corner of Seminole & University you can see all three developments at once.

5v4nbp.jpg

 

 

<b>Vine St. Flats Development across from Post Office

m9yjqq.jpg

 

 

Sign for Vine St. Flats - </b>Also an Uptown (Dan Schimberg) development (nearly all of his developments in uptown are aimed only at College students, shared living rooms, individual room leases, etc.)

fkmcjn.jpg

 

 

<b>Stetson Square Expansion </b>Finally, a couple blocks away, Setson Square is getting ready to develop this block at Eden & Rochelle.  This will be condos, not apartments. 

2duyvwj.jpg

 

 

IMHO Corryville is being overwhelmed with rental units.  I'm glad Stetson is expanding with condos, as, to maintain stability during a period of growth, you need more permanent residents, not just college kids who are in and out in a couple years. 

 

Also, with such a HUGE influx of rental units in large buildings, I'm concerned that the Old Standby style apartments in Clifton Heights & Corryville, the slightly beat up Italianate's that need a makeover and some TLC will lose their residents.  And considering how cheap many of the landlords are, they probably will begin renting to lower income tenants. Which in and of itself is not bad. there always needs to be affordable housing, but having borderline absentee landlords rent beat up old buildings to lower income tenants is NOT the right way to do affordable housing- that won't help better the community. 

 

At the same time, it's good to see investment in this neighborhood.

 

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^Nice analysis, OC.  The aluminum Euclid development is a travesty, but Stetson filling in and the other projects may hide that embarrassment.  Every city has some awful infill, but at least we're getting infill in Cincinnati after many years of enjoying an urban core that resembled southern France after the Second War.

 

MLK has come a long way, still irked by the ugly office bldg by UDF and all the surface parking/suburban apts on the UC side though.  There's always Taft to make MLK look good, which wasn't quite Nero in the womb but represents everything wrong with early 20th century Cincinnati planning.  Unnatural boulevards stunt the potential of Walnut Hills and Mt. Auburn.

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I guess this is "better" than how it was before. Do keep in mind that while the architecture of the old stuff that was in this area certainly more pleasing, there was high vacancy and there were a lot of unruly tenants. Unfortunately, since not enough investors feel that merely rehabbing the old buildings through here would generate enough interest, we wind up with this stuff -- which certainly could be worse.

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A block away, Uptown Properties purchased and has evicted the tenants of the notorious Section 8 building of 2700 Euclid.  This building appeared to have 20-30 units and was the source of the majority of the problems in the area. 

 

Renovation work hasn't started, aside from the appearance of this sign:

euclid-2.jpg

 

euclid-1.jpg

 

New apartment that replaced the victorians:

euclid-3.jpg

 

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^-I'm glad to see that section 8 building being remodeled, that place was always pretty run down.  I wonder if they'll redo the porches, it looks like there is a nice 2nd empire underneath brick porches that were added later, or or those in fact originals? Credit is due where credit is due and I do give uptown props (pun intended) for improving the neighborhood.  My older critiques still stand though until I see better designed infill from them :).

 

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Yeah those porches were definitely added.  There was nearly constant drug dealing on this corner up through 2009, when I think Uptown Properties started not renewing leases.  I haven't seen any problem people over there for at least a year.  I do think that the porches actually kept the area from totally devolving, since there were some decent people who lived in the building and kept watch over what was going on. 

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I just noticed that renovation sign says Apartments & TOWNHOMES.  am I to believe that Uptown is actually going to support Home ownership in Corryville!?  That would be amazing. 

 

Corryville & CUF need major investments in ownership properties because as all these new apartments open sending kids from converted houses into massive student housing developments absentee landlords will likely just replace college kids with section 8.

 

And while I'm all in support of well managed affordable housing (Model does a pretty good job through brickstone) I'm not a fan of random landlords just filling their run down buildings with vouchers. 

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Right now at least this massive influx of student housing is improving the safety of Corryville which in turn is causing some remodels.  There is an apartment on Rochelle even where they are adding a rooftop deck and gutting a long abandoned and poorly rehabbed building.

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Drive around CUF and then drive around Corryville.  Corryville is now cleaner with less graffiti.  CUF looks horrible lately. Trash covered side walks for blocks. Graffiti on every stop sign, every no parking sign and on many buildings filled with residents. I remember 4-5 years ago when CUF was fine and Corryville was scary and dangerous.  Now walking around Corryville is nice and CUF has taken a huge dive!

 

Wonder if the City or Uptown Consortium have any plans to fix up CUF now. 

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Got out to photograph some stuff today, including the Schiel School redevelopment which is coming along. The building has a pretty massive presence already and it's only half finished. I really dislike how the rear of the site is, but the Vine side seems like once finished i t may actually be nice...ish. They were testing hardiboard siding though and it looked...well like how hardiboard always looks...bad. The windows being installed appeared to be nice. I didn't see who the manufacturer was though, so who knows. Anyway, here's some pictures, with bonus pictures of the finished Vine Street Flats since I don't know what thread that project would even fit in.

 

IMG_20130131_153011_744_zpscbb1a802.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152933_100_zps181f5cdd.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152927_678_zpsbfeaca0b.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152629_234_zpsdbc6cf30.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152623_327_zps234d784d.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152555_878_zps93ee2015.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152508_039_zpsec416adb.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152501_843_zps3f032a97.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152430_610_zps98463aea.jpg

 

So yeah, there's that. I'm not holding my breath, but here's hoping one of the many projects around UC will actually impress when finished.

 

Here's the finished Vine Street Flats. Better than the little hideous strip mall thing it replaced. The design actually has some potential, but then they went and ruined that potential with the weird little red wings, the use of brick where brick wasn't necessary, and all around lack of design finess. Oh well, it adds density to Short Vine which is nice. I'm hoping the strip mall that is a block or so away gets redeveloped sometime soon as well.

 

IMG_20130131_152704_876_zps8a1ef41f.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152727_821_zps09570d28.jpg

 

IMG_20130131_152740_718_zps2fd3be83.jpg

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I didn't take any photos since I was kind of pissed off about them haha. The design sucked on the corner of McMillan and Ohio, and it certainly still sucks on Euclid. I forget what firm did the design work for those projects, but they should be ashamed.

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Here's the finished Vine Street Flats. Better than the little hideous strip mall thing it replaced. The design actually has some potential, but then they went and ruined that potential with the weird little red wings, the use of brick where brick wasn't necessary, and all around lack of design finess

Read more: http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,26241.0.html#ixzz2KE0TXeAI

 

Yeah, those red strips just look terrible.  Otherwise it's okay, I guess.  Whenever I see a new building like this, I can't help but wonder how dated it is going to look in 20 years.

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Total fail.  I no longer care if a project brings street life or density or anything to these streets.  I'll take the empty buildings that we lost instead.  It's all just so damn ugly.  Seriously, this rubbish looks like 1960's era East European apartment blocks.  I don't think people realize how little historic stock is left, and the old school could have provided a foundation and point of reference for what remains.  As more of this CRAP gets built, it only makes these CRAPPY developers more brazen and willing to eliminate what's left of our collective history.

 

I am just so ashamed of our society that we build this junk.  I'm getting to the point that the announcement of a new project in certain hoods actually makes me scared of what junk will befall us, instead of being excited about the prospect of new development.

 

The city needs to make a stand.  IF YOU WANT TO DESTROY AN OLDER STRUCTURE, WHAT REPLACES IT MUST BE OF HIGHER QUALITY.

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Thank this guy.

 

 

And what is the point of posting this profile?  Totally uncalled for.  Considering all the factors that go into the final execution of a built design, hardly worth villifying the designer (if it in fact was him).  Mods should remove this.

 

Am I happy with it?  No.  But everyone needs to remember, that if building these developments in a nicer manner was economically feasible or in high enough demand, someone would have stepped up to do it by now.  They aren't, so this is what we are stuck with.  You want better bad enough, either build up demand or step up and do it yourself. 

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^??? There's nothing offensive about that post. It was a link to a public work related profile that lists him as the architect of the project. Someone asked "what firm did this" and by searching, the only thing that could be found was the architects public LinkedIn page that lists the project someone asked about. It's not like I posted his home phone number or said Burn him Alive! Public LinkedIn pages aren't some sacred personal thing.

 

Actually- I don't think the Schiel project is all that horrible. Some of the stuff on Euclid is pretty bad, but Schiel might be ok, and I have no complaints over Vine St Flats especially considering what it replaced

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Total fail.  I no longer care if a project brings street life or density or anything to these streets.  I'll take the empty buildings that we lost instead.  It's all just so damn ugly.  Seriously, this rubbish looks like 1960's era East European apartment blocks.  I don't think people realize how little historic stock is left, and the old school could have provided a foundation and point of reference for what remains.  As more of this CRAP gets built, it only makes these CRAPPY developers more brazen and willing to eliminate what's left of our collective history.

 

I am just so ashamed of our society that we build this junk.  I'm getting to the point that the announcement of a new project in certain hoods actually makes me scared of what junk will befall us, instead of being excited about the prospect of new development.

 

The city needs to make a stand.  IF YOU WANT TO DESTROY AN OLDER STRUCTURE, WHAT REPLACES IT MUST BE OF HIGHER QUALITY.

 

Seriously? A lot of what you (and others here) are complaining about being demolished is of little architectural significance and would have been called 'junk' by your definitions when it was constructed. Yeah the Schiel School was designed by a prominent architect but what exactly was so great about it other than it was old and designed by a famous guy? It was functionally obsolete for its use and would have never been economically practical to convert to any other uses such as condos or apartments.

 

If it wasn't demolished it would have likely have sat empty just like all of Cincinnati's other vacant school buildings. 

 

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