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Cincinnati: Downtown: Fourth & Race (Pogue Garage) Redevelopment

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^I think they will exit the region entirely, unfortunately. When they announced they would not be going to the Kenwood Collection, I think that all but sealed their exit from the market. The only way I can see them staying is if they replace Dillard's at the Kenwood Mall, which actually could be plausible. Kenwood's tenant mix seems to be almost identical to Beechwood in Cleveland, and they have a Saks there. I hope they can stay. Tiffany's recently signed a lease extension a year or two back, I think. At that time, they said that business was good, and there was no benefit to moving. I think they could hang on downtown, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they moved up to Kenwood, too.

 

They city has been 'working' on keeping Saks and Macy's for almost 5 years at this point. I was involved in some of those meetings and discussions with Macy's execs, and most of the stuff the city was touting as reasons to stay have not panned out. No new residential tower over Macy's. 4th and Race's original proposal died, and then the drastically downsized replacement proposal seems to be stalled, if not dead, too. The Crown Plaza building sits empty and decaying. The convention center remains undersized and the parking lots around it still undeveloped. The Millennium is still a mess with no real plan for improvement. The west side of downtown is pretty crappy, and the city doesn't seem to care too much about making it better and more attractive to retailers, so I really can't fault Macy's or Saks for wanting to leave. I'm actually shocked they have both hung on for so long.

 

That second paragraph is certainly a dark indictment of the city leadership at this point. I think Cincy has a rather happening downtown but reading that and a recent trip to Indy puts the situation in perspective.

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^The problem is that the same damn core of blue blood families are in charge of Cincinnati now as were during the 90s dark days.  They think that because they formed 3CDC that that organization will do everything.  Well it has accomplished a lot but it hasn't done enough to make this place an attractive one for transplants.  People like Cranley fundamentally do not understand why people enjoy living other places more and pay huge sums for the privilege of doing so. 

 

These people are unwilling to give up control for the betterment of the city.  If it sinks, they're going to be sipping cocktails up in the cabin with one hand on the wheel and the other one taking selfies, the whole way down.   

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People like Cranley fundamentally do not understand why people enjoy living other places more and pay huge sums for the privilege of doing so.

 

I personally know about a dozen people who have, all for completely different reasons, decided to move from Cincinnati to Seattle within the past 5 years. Some of these are transit/urban nerds who appreciate what Seattle is doing in those respects, but others just visited the city and thought it was cool and ended up moving there. Those people are paying way more to live in Seattle compared to what they would pay for the same lifestyle in Cincinnati. And yet I bet the cost of living barely factored into their decision to move. But cities like Cincinnati keep bragging about our low cost of living, as if anyone's ever going to see that and say, "I'm moving there!" What we really need to be doing is striking while the iron is hot and encouraging new residential development downtown while the demand is there.

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^ I think most of those people probably have roots in Ohio, though. It's a fairly common thing for young people to move to a bigger city after graduating college and experience it for a few years, and move back home where it's cheaper. Actually, that's the perfect type of person who these developers should be targeting. Show them that they can live in Downtown Cincinnati and have 3× as much space as they had in their Brooklyn apartment for 1/3rd the cost.

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Wow! No news for months and then this. I wonder if the plans have changed any.

 

Not what I have read. I do wish it could be 4 to 5 stories taller

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There was an article in the business courier, where some business on 4th wanted to sue 3CDC and open the development up to anyone. 3CDC is quoted saying construction is scheduled to start this summer.

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Yeah, it was the Bromwell's Hearth Lounge owner. He has also started a ridiculous facebook page about it all. He was strongly in favor of demolishing the garage saying it was an eyesore and a drain on his business. Then, SUDDENLY, when demolishing it didn't fix his business's problems he was adamantly opposed to having demolished it stating they lied to the city, it was a critical aspect of the 4th street business district, etc. It's comically bad.

 

I asked him once, after seeing a post, if he had ever been involved in the complexities of multi-party large scale mixed used development which makes use of private and public money and multiple development partners and multiple lenders. To which his answer was that he developed his businesses so therefore he knew it wasn't that hard...he immediately lost credibility at that point in my eyes. He comes off as nothing other than an owner of a business which can't sustain itself and is merely looking to pass the blame off on someone else indirectly.

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Wow, that's a pretty crappy take on things. Bromwells was a lonely outpost of activity for a long time on 4th Street- long before Downtown began to turn around. They could have easily packed up and moved their business to Kenwood or NKY or any number of places, but instead they chose to remain downtown, expand and invest in the business, and even open a neighboring business (Harth Lounge).

 

Of course the owner, like nearly everyone, wanted to see the old garage torn down. It was hideous and effectively killed all pedestrian activity on that side of 4th St. That said, the garage provided a ton of parking that was no doubt crucial to the businesses on 4th. Removing the 1,100 parking spaces of the former garage, only to see the site sit vacant for months on end would be extremely frustrating for a business owner. I don't think it's shocking that a neighboring business owner would be supportive of removing the garage, and critical of the developers when its replacement doesn't come to fruition for months, while other projects that were announced later continue to move full steam ahead. It makes complete sense.

 

Requiring everyone to have personal involvement and intimate knowledge of 'the complexities of multi-party large scale mixed used development' to have an opinion on development in absurd. One does not have to be an expert to have an opinion on something. I can say I have a headache without being a brain surgeon. Rather than critique a business owner who has chosen to invest and stick it out in a pretty crappy retail environment (downtown Cincinnati), maybe we should be looking at how this debacle came about, and what could have been done to cause less strain to the surrounding businesses. Maybe the garage should not have been torn down until financing was in place for its replacement? Maybe the city could have identified a temporary parking solution while financing details are worked out for the replacement garage?

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My problem wasn't that he has an opinion, it's that he created a ridiculous facebook page that purposefully spreads misinformation, presents hearsay as fact, pretends to have some deep understanding of the inner workings of an industry he has no experience in, etc.

 

My question about development posed to him was in direct response to a post (that has since been purged along with many others) where he claimed that it, "can't be that hard" to get financing in order for something of this size. It wasn't like I walked into an empty room and started expecting people to have knowledge of industries outside of their own. It was a response to something he said.

 

There are clearly problems with this development and asking for more transparency is a good thing. Going about it the way he has achieves next to nothing other than creating a really negative perception of public/private development to developers who could actually help reactivate dead streets downtown.

 

I do appreciate that he stuck it out in a challenging environment. But doing things like suing the city is a really bad path to go down and doesn't help anyone. It certainly isn't going to get the thing built any faster.

 

 

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I'm sympathetic to him but some of his quotes have rubbed me the wrong way too. Certainly I understand that he wants this thing done fast because it will undoubtedly give his business and the other businesses in the area a big boost. But I don't think the demolition of the garage is the reason business is hurting. There are TONS of places to park in the vicinity. We need to get a way from the mindset that endless parking is necessary for downtown to succeed. We have plenty.

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Construction has a huge effect on small businesses.  Cut-and-cover subway construction doesn't just interrupt businesses during construction, it often takes 5+ years for business to come all the way back.  People establish new patterns when construction interrupts their routine and are slow to return to the places they previously patronized. 

 

 

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I am sure it is massively frustrating to watch 8th and Sycamore apartment tower go up, and now the Central and walnut tower go up while this project sits in limbo.  I can sympathize with him there.  However, Tower place mall got converted to a parking garage, it is across the street. 

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Yeah I'm sure seeing a much older proposal sit stagnant while 8th and Sycamore and now the Kroger tower move along at rapid pace is frustrating as all hell. I totally get why he's upset that he has a giant vacant lot across the street.

 

But the reality is that that side of the street was already dead. People didn't walk along that side of 4th because it was not a pleasant experience. Being forced to move through a decaying garage that smelled of piss was already an impediment to human movement. I know construction is disruptive, but 4th wasn't this lively street that is now dead as a result of the garage being torn down as he is suggesting.

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I'm sympathetic to him but some of his quotes have rubbed me the wrong way too. Certainly I understand that he wants this thing done fast because it will undoubtedly give his business and the other businesses in the area a big boost. But I don't think the demolition of the garage is the reason business is hurting. There are TONS of places to park in the vicinity. We need to get a way from the mindset that endless parking is necessary for downtown to succeed. We have plenty.

 

Some of his statements may have been a little too provocative or over-the-top, but I basically agree with his position. The Pogue's Garage was awful and, like most of us, he wanted to see it demolished. He also wants a place for his customers to park, which was supposed to be the garage at the base of 4th & Race. The city screwed up the 4th & Race project by bringing in 3CDC as a partner to F&C, and shortly thereafter, the Court & Walnut (Kroger) project became a higher priority so 4th & Race was put on the back burner. So yeah, I can see why he's frustrated that the project stalled and his business has been across the street from temporary construction fences and a closed sidewalk for over a year.

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It doesn't matter if there is parking on adjacent blocks.  People want to park immediately across the street.  That's how people are, and it's why converting a walking city into a car one doesn't work. 

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Bit of info from: https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/05/18/3cdc-shifting-its-mission-in-downtown-cincinnati.html

 

Leeper also provided an update on the $117 million Fourth and Race project. 3CDC is partnering with Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties on the mixed-use development that will include 264 apartments, 22,000 square feet of commercial space and 584 parking spaces. He said the project has had a variety of challenges on its way to becoming the longest running project in 3CDC’s history.

 

One of the challenges was financing the project. It was more difficult to finance 3CDC’s garage portion of the project because there will be no underlying tax increment financing support from a major tenant like Kroger or 84.51. Leeper said a financing structure is now in place. The project is expected to start construction in July.

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Didn't that money, which was originally earmarked for a new convention hotel, find its way to 8th and Sycamore when Cranely took office?

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Not sure if anyone's seen this or not, but 3CDC has a new rendering on its website that's far more detailed and seems to reflect the increase in height from 14 to 15 stories.

4th-Race_rendering.thumb.jpg.aee0fe587b6ba51e4ca7641c038cb872.jpg

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That rendering looks pretty good. I’m impressed with how they conceal the parking garage component so well.

 

Hopefully, but that’s the kind of thing that’s hard to tell from a rendering. At the 84.51 building you can easily tell the difference between the two halves because there is a huge difference in the quality of lighting they used for the garage (lower quality) and the inhabited space.

 

I still haven’t seen any mid-block renderings of this project just these views from the street corners.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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I know this has taken forever but this is the type of project which could hopefully spin off additional redevelopment on 4th street. There are a lot of tired buildings there that need rehabbed including some of the most beautiful buildings in the city and hopefully this can raise the value enough to get moving on some of the other projects in the pipeline.

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https://www.wcpo.com/money/real-estate-news/old-pogue-s-garage-redevelopment-isn-t-dead-officials-say

 

..they say 3cdc has the financing all locked up, but need to finalize a new (?) portion of the modified development agreement. What does that even mean??

 

It means conditions have changed and they need to update the development agreement in some way. I am not sure how this agreement is structured however it is stated in the article that they are not asking for more subsidy. I can't recall if the Port is going to own this site, like all the other tower developments. If they have not already done that, it could help with costs.

 

Honestly, it is becoming harder and harder to build tall in Cincinnati. Labor supply constraints are one thing but now that there are tariffs on steel, costs for materials is increasing so pro formas are being rearranged. Most are subbing out steel construction for reinforced concrete.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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The switch back and forth over the decades from steel to concrete back to steel, back to concrete, etc. is really interesting to me. The slew of insanely tall and skinny towers going up these days around the world is the result of super high strength concrete becoming economically viable versus the typical steel construction that you saw a decade or so ago. You can generally estimate the time frame a building was built just from its structure which I think is super cool (because I'm a giant architect nerd.)

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Yeah they just seem to keep pushing the timeline for this further and further back.  Really hope it starts at some point but I also now need to see it to believe it. 

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At this point, this is like the great white whale of downtown development.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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It's absolutely ridiculous that the developer should be promised $5 million, let alone the $12 million that was supposedly promised under Mallory. 

 

The issue is not that this project won't be profitable, it's that it won't be profitable enough for the developer.  That incentive is raw profit designed to get an out-of-town developer to prioritize a Cincinnati project over another in a more lucrative market. 

 

 

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I’m hearing that 3CDC reps meet with local 4th street businesses to inform them that development will not break ground at the end of July. Also there are additional changes needed to be approved by city council that need approval which won’t happen till after summer break....

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I’m hearing that 3CDC reps meet with local 4th street businesses to inform them that development will not break ground at the end of July. Also there are additional changes needed to be approved by city council that need approval which won’t happen till after summer break....

 

To be expected after the most recent BizJournal article stated they need Council to approve an amendment to the development agreement.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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