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

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I'm not sure I buy the argument that garages make surface lots less desirable, because there's no way a garage (which costs a fortune to build) could ever compete with a surface lot on price.  Yes adding garages does increase supply and overall brings parking costs down (which isn't necessarily a good thing either), but surface lots will always be able to undercut a garage.  If they're all owned by the same entity with specific plans and goals in mind then that changes the dynamic, but all this parking is just perpetuating bad habits. 

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I guess I'm not doing a straight up pricing comparison.  Suppose that no one builds garages and that each garage holds 2-4 times the number of vehicles as a surface lot (guessing).  As an area becomes more popular and attracts more visitors, vacant structures start to look awfully inconvenient if parking is a problem.  If developers add garage space willingly, there is a greater possibility that existing structures will get repurposed instead of demolished to make way for surface lots.  Downtown and OTR are really starting to take off.  My preference would be to have a better transit system, but in the short term adding parking as we go prevents the prices from getting out of hand and encouraging demolition.  I agree with you on cheap parking not being necessarily good, by the way.  But I think keeping it reasonable until Cincinnati becomes less car dependent is a decent goal (hopefully traffic, brent spence tolls, MetroPlus, and the streetcar take care of that eventually).

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That and the garages being built by the city/3CDC are so reasonably priced they really aren't much more than most lots. And I know a lot of people who would much rather spend slightly more but park in a well lit-properly maintained, but still reasonably priced garage than some random surface lot with a ticketing machine that's either confusing, doesn't work, or looks like it's about to fall off its stand which is typical of basically every lot in the basin. Structured parking, when integrated into a tower, is a really good way of meeting demand without harming the small buildings around town which would be really easy to simply demolish.

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It does seem possible Kroger would feel like their hand is being forced, since there is so much talk of a new grocery store, and even the confirmed threat of one with the 4th & Race project. If they really were exerting influence behind the scenes to make this store not happen, it likely would have involved promising that they are planning a downtown store within X time.

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Since we were just recently discussing 3CDC and their plans for parking (for 4th&Race and in general), I found the the following quote in the Business Courier interesting:

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2014/08/22/exclusive-want-to-develop-property-in-otr-3cdc-is.html?page=3

 

Since 3CDC started working in Over-the-Rhine in 2006, the nonprofit and its partners have restored 112 buildings, built 176 apartments and 333 condominiums, created more than 240,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,163 parking spaces and eight acres of actively planned civic space.

 

I don't want to send us off topic, but I've never actually seen those numbers laid out before.  With 509 dwellings and 1163 parking spaces, that's close to 1 per dwelling and 1 corresponding public space, which seems reasonable.  I have no idea how the real dwelling to public space ratio works out, but I would have guessed much higher on the actual number of spaces 3CDC has added.

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The proportion of rentals to condos is also really nice. 2/3 of the units they've done being people committed to owning and living in the neighborhood speaks to the desirability of OTR and Downtown.

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Now that the Mabley Place parking garage is open, any predictions on when we'll hear some news about the 4th and Race tower?

 

 

I was hoping that maybe the "Big Surprise" was an announcement on the 4th and Race, but it was for a Dominos..... crickets.jpeg......... 

 

I have thought about this though, and I am not sure when it will get any new mention.  3CDC seems to keep things well under wrap.  I wonder if they were hoping for some NMTC to kick in, or if they can "buy" some of these credits at a premium from another entity (I believe that is how they do it?). 

 

Maybe when 3CDC updates their website again we will see a rendering for month of October?

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I really really want something to happen here. Flaherty and Collins still has the tower listed on their website as a current project.

 

Right now that intersection is two parking garages, a (very cool looking-hopefully reused soon) boarded up building, and a bank branch. And the one parking garage has no sidewalk and is hideous.

 

I still dont understand how the 4th and Race tower was "too rich" when compared to other projects Cranley was fine with. Namely the garage being built at the Holiday Inn and Mabley Place (which the new developers were essentially gifted $8.5MM). When Mabley place adds 0 residents and 4th and race adds 300 units plus city would retain ownership of parking garage.

 

Hopefully Mabley Place actually fills up with tenants and we hear that something is happening with this. But with the current administrations love affair with parking garages i have a generally uneasy feeling.

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Here's how the Fourth and Race project could move forward this week

Dec 15, 2014, 7:05am EST

Randy Simes Owner and managing editor of UrbanCincy.com- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

 

More than a year after an initial deal was proposed to redevelop the aging Pogue's Garage site into a sleek residential tower, a new deal may be in the works that will allow for construction to finally move forward.

 

In November 2013, the city of Cincinnati entered into a Development Agreement with Flaherty & Collins to build a 15,000-square-foot grocery store, 950-space parking garage and a soaring 30-story residential tower with 300 units costing $94 million. As part of this deal, the city had committed to providing a $12 million forgivable loan to the project. This came after an initial deal to fund the project through the proceeds generated by the then-proposed Parking Modernization & Lease program.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/morning_call/2014/12/heres-how-the-fourth-and-race-project-could-move.html

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Ugh. I'm happy something is moving forward but....come on.

 

Based on the leaked memo it sounds like the garage will remain about the same size, so around 8 or 9 floors, and the residential will be built on top of it at another 8 floors. So a 16 or so story building. Or am I completely misreading that?

 

If that's correct it's still not bad. 16 stories for an entire block would actually be quite substantial. But it stinks when getting excited for a 30 story tower that would have broken out of the skyline and filled in a gap.

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Yeah, disappointing it is not the height everyone was hoping for, that is for sure.  But it will cover up an ugly parking ramp and increase density in that area.  At the same time, I am hoping it will be something architecturally significant. 

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^I'm going to imagine that it will be the full width of the block now, and not just the one side. Which I'm actually more fond of. I think that'll have a really huge effect on the urban fabric of 4th street.

 

I keep thinking of 250 High Street as an example of a long, mid-rise building that is quite nice architecturally and would feel really good in that spot. It's programming is similar in that it has street level activity, multiple levels of parking, then office (which would obviously be the residential in our case) above. And each section is denoted differently but cohesively as a whole.

 

Hopefully we'll see something about this soon.

 

If I'm wrong and it's JUST 8 stories...well I don't even know how that would actually fit so I'm not overly concerned with it but still, I'm pretty sure I'd just give up having hope for any announced project in the future until it's under construction.

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Yes the height is disappointing, but 200 residential units taking the place of a terrible parking garage and ground floor retail is a major upgrade on this block... will also be nice that have a sidewalk on both sides of 4th now instead of the silly way it is set up now.

 

The main question i have left is what is the deal with Paragon Salon? I am assuming they negotiated a deal to move out into a different space.

 

WVXU Tweeted there is supposed to be a press conference sometime today so hopefully more details are discussed then as far as timing.

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If I had to guess, it will probably be up on 3CDC's website when they do the "December Update".  And if they have a presser today, I bet they will have some renderings.

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^I think he's referring to the fact that starting January 1 the abatement will be 7.5% less than if they get it in before year's end.

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^Oh thank god.

 

16 or 17 stories is still a pretty huge building for an entire block. 160'-180' tall. Not too shabby. I've come to terms with the fact that we're not getting a 30 story tower (that dream died awhile back when the project was delayed) and a 16-17 story building of this scale is a good development.

 

Now here's hoping the next bit of information we receive is that it'll be of a nice design that is not only modern but compliments the opposite streetwall since 4th Street has so much character.

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Does anyone else have the feeling Cranley neutered this one for his local developer donors so they could move their own projects along?

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In comparison to the garage that is there now?

 

Is this directed to me?

 

1) I said several more.

2) Yes, a garage with hundreds of residential units and more retail than currently exists will generate more trips on downtown streets than the current parking garage does.

 

By itself, I don't see it creating gridlock. Add several more -- i.e. add thousands of residents and hundreds of destinations and subsidize the use of automobiles to get there -- and we'll see how crowded the streets get.

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^I think he's referring to the fact that starting January 1 the abatement will be 7.5% less than if they get it in before year's end.

 

And the effect of that is ______________________.

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Cincinnati, developer reach agreement on downsized 4th and Race project

Dec 15, 2014, 12:52pm EST

Tom Demeropolis Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

 

The city of Cincinnati and Flaherty & Collins Development Inc. plan to enter a new development agreement that will bring a downsized version of the originally proposed Fourth and Race apartment tower.

 

Under the new agreement, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. would build and operate a 925-space parking garage, 225 of which will be dedicated to apartment residents, and 25,000 square feet of retail/commercial space at street level. A grocery is not planned for the project. Flaherty & Collins would build an eight-story, 208-unit luxury apartment tower on top of the garage at the northwest corner of Fourth and Race streets. The total project investment is estimated to be $77.3 million.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2014/12/15/cincinnati-developer-reach-agreement-on-downsized.html?page=all

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I was just thinking about comparably scaled buildings and realized this will be of a similar scale to the 580 Building in terms of height and width if you chop off the top two stories of it. So from the street we can get an idea of how this will feel since you can't see the top two floors when standing on the sidewalk.

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Let's see if he can turn it into more projects, maybe the residential tower on, is it Broadway and 7th?  And then possibly, some more rehabs or, the tower above Macy's?

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Downsized projects from a downsized mayor.  Cue Marvin Lewis. 

 

Yep.  City saves a little bit of money and a great project is replaced by an underwhelming project.  This hurts the City in the long term.  Cranley is such a disaster. 

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I'm still not sure I'd get dramatic and call this project "underwhelming." It's replacing an awful garage, offering 25,000 (!) square feet of new retail on a great street, and bringing 200+ units to a 16 or 17 story building, taller than the stuff across the street. It's going to be a sizeable building that will activate a street that is currently quite dead. It's definitely not as exciting as it once was, but if this was announced first without anyone ever knowing the original plan people wouldn't be stating it's "underwhelming." Because it is still an exciting development.

 

I get that Cranley is more than likely just doing this in order to help give grants to those developers who donated to him, but if that's the case, so be it. If losing a little bit of height in this project means we get the 8th and Sycamore tower and the tower above Macy's I think this city will still be heading in the right direction. And like IAGuy stated, I think that's what's going to be happening sometime soon. I have a sneaking suspicion we'll be hearing more about those projects soon.

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Spending half the money on less than half the end product is not a savings. And if you count the $4m in loans, it's almost the full amount. It's not clear if those loans are forgivable or not (probably not, but Cranley and Black could exploit the ambiguity).

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^It's not less than half the end product though. The garage is the same size, there is 10,000 square feet more street retail since there would have been street level parking for the grocery store in the original plan, and there are 200+ units, not 300, in a building that's 16 or 17 stories versus 30.

 

In order to fit 200 units into 8 stories on top of the garage this building is going to need to be full height for the entire block. That's a pretty significant change. I wasn't fond of the original idea of having the western half being just 8 or 9 stories of parking. There wasn't going to be any street retail on the western half of the block and there would have been that awful double curb cut for the turnaround for the grocery store.

 

Some aspects have been downscaled slightly, but some aspects of the new plan are better than before.

 

I dislike Cranley as much as the next guy, but it's going to be a monumental change from what is there now.

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^ Guess I didn't have all the facts straight. I was just looking at 8 stories of residential versus 22 and the other details I skimmed or somehow didn't register. Thanks.

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The details weren't ever made that clear in any one location which is kind of unfortunate. Hopefully it won't be long before we see something in terms of plans, renderings, etc. to get a better feeling for exactly how this project will come together.

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I was thinking they could add 3 stories to the roof making it 20 stories. The first rendering had a decent size roof

 

They could add some sort of structure to the roof similar to 100 East Pratt in Baltimore. As much as I hate gimmicky stuff like that, it could balance nicely against Great American Tower.

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Ok so call me crazy but I like this plan more then the last. It's still a good number of units. The city is out less money. There is more retail frontage. I don't care about building height, I still think it's still going to be a large building. Cincinnati still needs the parking and this is a good way to pay for it.

 

Maybe an insider has more info on this, but the deal definitely seemed rushed back when Mallory did it. It seemed like they just wanted to announce something shiny, throw some city funds at it and then hope the excitement/momentum carried it to completion. In some respects Cranley may have been right with this one.

 

 

 

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There are definitely some aspects that are way better about this plan. Full first floor retail frontage instead of just half the building having retail frontage. And the likely characteristic of having full height building across the whole site opposed to just 40% of the site is nice as well. It'll help activate not only 4th and Race, but also 4th and Elm which the old plan made impossible since it was entirely parking infrastructure on that side of the site.

 

The loss of the grocery store is huge though. That would've been a major asset.

 

Height is also important as new buildings in the skyline signify to the outside world that a city is expanding and doing well. It's silly, but it makes a world of difference when you look at a skyline and see multiple cranes building new things.

 

It's not a bad plan at all. I do wish it was still 300 units since that makes more sense, but 200+ units is still a lot for that site. So it'll be good for Downtown.

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I'm still holding out for the grocery at Walnut and Central Parkway to replace the loss here.  That way the OTR Kroger could go away and be replaced with something better.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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^I think that a lot of people are hoping for that. The OTR Kroger has served the neighborhood well, but a larger store that can be centralized on the streetcar that serves all of OTR and Downtown would be much better (as long as it's integrated properly into a development) and that spot on Vine where Kroger is now could be put to much better use. 3CDC is going to build that new office building across the street, the old spot where Smitty's was is being turned into 13 condos, some of the building just north of that are slated for condo redevelopment, and I can only imagine it's a matter of time before we see the Weilert's (sp?) building redeveloped. OTR Kroger has such an awful site plan that can't be fixed without removing the parking in front and the loading bay which isn't happening.

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On 12/18/2014 at 9:28 AM, crisdux said:

Maybe an insider has more info on this, but the deal definitely seemed rushed back when Mallory did it. It seemed like they just wanted to announce something shiny, throw some city funds at it and then hope the excitement/momentum carried it to completion. In some respects Cranley may have been right with this one.

 

I would say the opposite is true. Under the Malory administration, the city came out with a complete parking plan and laid out all of the details: Here's how much meters are going to increase, here's our plan for garages, here's how much money we expect to make, and here's what we're spending it on. The 4th & Race tower is one of the projects we are going to fund. The fact that all of the details were made public made the plan politically vulnerable.

 

Cranley obviously ran on killing the parking plan as one of his promises. But since he killed it, this administration has slowly put bit and pieces of the old plan into place. If there is an overarching plan, no one has bothered to inform the public what it consists of. Instead, everything has been kept a secret until the last minute and revealed in small chunks. We learned the details of 4th & Race the same week it was passed by council. The Fountain Square parking garage was leased to a third party and no one noticed. We are upgrading meters in a few neighborhoods to variable-price meters that accept credit cards...but what about other NBDs? And what happened to the residential parking plans that were once proposed as a solution to funding the streetcar? Cranley knows it's politically advantageous to reveal it piece-by-piece and never show all of his cards.

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I'm guessing we'll be hearing more about this project very soon. A mid-2105 groundbreaking seems like a stretch but is possible if the garage starts demolition like, this month.

 

So much has been happening surrounding this project. Has the salon issue been resolved? Has a timeline for demo been finalized?

 

17 stories and 208 units almost certainly means 17 stories clear across the entire site which is honestly a better option for street life than all the residential in a tower justified to Race Street. This brings life to the Elm Street side that would never have been there and 17 stories is nothing to squawk at. This will be a large building.

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Yeah, I was walking past there a few weeks back and was trying to envision a 17 story building across the whole block.  I am guessing the parking ramp will be blocked off with windows, etc. and ground floor retail?  It turns a dead and desolate block back to life and will probably spark new development around there.  There is also a huge lot, around the same area as the current site, just west of there but running longer north south than East-West, NE corner of Plum and Fourth.  I know there is a lot of vacant parking lots around here, but it seems a logical area as it is close to DH Headquarters and the 4th and Race project.

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^The city was trying for a two-tower convention center hotel at that site. Unfortunately that fell through. It would have been great for the convention center and for the west side of Downtown, as well as widening our skyline. That site is definitely prime for at least two towers.

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