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Cincinnati: Downtown: Eighth & Main Redevelopment

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Time for a new thread! But for the life of me I've no idea how to create one.

 

Downtown: Main Street Corridor.

 

Rick Greiwe has followed though on a promise from a couple years ago that his next development would be downtown.

 

A new project would two residential buildings, one 14 and one 15 stories at 8th & Main. One on the Donato's site, one on a parking lot. Parking is 1 space per unit.

 

THIS IS VERY EXCITING TO ME

 

The renderings on my phone are PNG's which this forum for some reason won't allow.

 

Here is the link. Go to page 190 to begin renderings.

 

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/buildings/historic-conservation/historic-conservation-board/march-22-2016-materials-only/

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Though I'd be sad to see the Donato's building go since it's a nice scale and could be a good contributor if the upper floors were occupied, a 14 and a 15 story building coming to Main Street may be worth it.

 

I've been hearing rumblings about these for awhile now but nothing official enough to get excited. Do you have a source?

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Well those scans are just horrible...but from what I can see this would be a great development. Two parking lots taken over, an ugly 2 story building replaced, and a lot more activity directly next to a streetcar stop. Only negative is the Donato's building being torn down.

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Go below the scans to page 190.

 

Also, John Schneider wrote a letter saying the floor heights in the donato's building are so low, putting in expenses ductwork would mean some people's heads might hit the ducts.

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It finally loaded fully and I got the better renderings/massings. Looks like a really great project. Definitely will add a ton of life to a part of town that's in need of it.

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If this doesn't show the Dennison Hotel owners that there's renewed interested in urban core living, than I don't know what will.

 

Again, sad the donato building will go, but the size of this project is easily a fair trade off.

 

Truly exciting stuff.

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!!!! It sounds from the packet that there will be no "long term" parking on-site, but instead people will park at the Olympic garage on 7th.

'

 

In my convo with Rick Greiwe on this, I got the sense they were going to separate the parking from the condo purchase. You could buy, I guess, four spaces, or you could buy zero spaces. Maybe some of the excess ends up at Olympic. I know much of their planning is based around the streetcar stop at Eighth and Main, which intersection has an almost perfect Walk Score and really is a place you can live well without a car. Did it for almost four decades, no problem.

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"Ground level is commercial space and public uses for the residential towers and parking is on levels 2 and 3 then levels 4-14/15 are residential."

 

 

Hmm according to page 178, and the drawings on the following pages, there is no built-in parking. But later in the packet it mentions the 2 levels.

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^I think John Schneider's explanation explains that well. The parking is there but isn't necessarily attached to the condos. It's a separate entity. You can choose to purchase a space or not. The remainder will just be public use.

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The southern building will be built where Donato's is, the small ugly two story building directly adjacent to Donato's, and the small lot just south of that. The northern tower will be built on the parking lot at the northwest corner of 8th and Main abutting neighboring buildings. There will still be a large parking which is not a part of this project directly west of the southern building.

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Also worth noting that the north tower (phase 1) would most likely remove from view two murals that are currently there. Hopefully they could be preserved for viewing from inside the building

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Another Senhauser building (or two) is always a good thing. I pulled some images from the 80mb PDF in case not everyone wants to download.

 

The PDF also had lots of detail on the Union Terminal rehab. The lobby area is being completely gutted .... j/k. Not a single change is being made. It's all exterior work.

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That third image definitely has something wonky going on. The scale is totally off from all the other renderings and the elevation drawing.

 

I'm fully onboard with Senhauser getting so much work around Downtown. His buildings offer something modern without just being a typical boring glass box like you find in so many cities. Glass boxes can look nice but 99% of them look like generic buildings designed with very little care towards aesthetic.

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I am curious as to what the timeline for this will be. Since it looks like it will be a condo development, I am assuming there will need to be a number of units pre-sold in order to get financing?

 

All very exciting, but could be a ways off before anything happens. And I wonder if they will look for city subsidies/grants?

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The small building was the former Antonelli College annex.  I am glad that the two small row buildings on that block will remain.  It would be great if the one on the next block was staying, since streetscapes without small buildings tend to be pretty boring. 

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Who would rather see Donato's building stay and a 30+ story north tower? Alas, the letter makes it sound like that building is not useful for anything any way. I'm cheering this project!

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Also worth noting that the north tower (phase 1) would most likely remove from view two murals that are currently there. Hopefully they could be preserved for viewing from inside the building

 

I doubt they'd go to the trouble of making those murals visible from inside the buildings, which is totally fine. Those murals are neat but should never be a deterrent to filling the gaps in downtown and OTR.

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I have heard this for a long time about the Donato's building, so it's probably not a made-up excuse to tear it down. 

 

That and John Schneider is one of our most reputable sources. If he says that the building isn't configurable to modern standards due to low ceilings and small column spacing then I believe that to be the case.

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I doubt they'd go to the trouble of making those murals visible from inside the buildings, which is totally fine. Those murals are neat but should never be a deterrent to filling the gaps in downtown and OTR.

 

I agree. Sounds like the north mural's building will come down anyways.

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Whether or not the murals were digitally rendered, each mural is pretty site-specific, so I feel it's unlikely (and undesirable) to repeat a mural on a different building.

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The floor to floor height of the existing Donatos building doesn't look much shorter than average from the street. It must have some deep floor structure or some other oddity going on. It looks like it was originally a tin manufacturer, before becoming a wholesale saddlery, it could have been structured to support certain equipment. Those buildings are always fun to poke around in.

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Which could also explain the column spacing. A beefed up structure can be challenging to work with and bring about conditions that just aren't conducive to retrofitting to residential.

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I'm sure there's a good answer, but what are the advantages for doing two smaller buildings vs doing one 29 story building?

 

For now, I'd rather have the two buildings.  It makes other parking lots more likely to be developed.

 

Possible reasons for having two buildings instead of one-

Financing issues

Branding

Unit sizes

Construction time-tables

Ease of obtaining permits 

Soil typology

 

There are others I'm sure.

 

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The money from one building can be rolled into the next and you don't flood the market.  Getting financing for a single 100-unit tower would be way, way riskier than selling out a 50-unit mid-rise and then rolling those proceeds into a second project. 

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My take on a few points:

 

1. Donato's building- It looks like it would make for a good rehab from the outside, but has all the structural issues with the low ceiling heights previously mentioned.  It looks like the highest use of this building has always been a warehouse, and the upper stories haven’t even been used for that for 29 years.  The location is definitely suited to higher uses now.  One would wonder if the people  who built the building in the 1800's boom time would be as sentimental about it being replaced as we are today. 

 

It's being replaced by badly needed residential construction, not a surface parking lot, with many more residential units than rehab of the Donato's building would have otherwise allowed.  The proposed project as a whole is also an opportunity to "scale up" two corners of the Eighth and Main intersection with two buildings of similar heights.  It cleans up some holes in our urban fabric by replacing two surface parking lots and a squat non-historic two story structure (the building south of Donato's.)  It repairs the street wall along Main St.  It seems like a good trade at the "gut level."

 

My main qualm is that several of the arguments and math presented in the packet for the demolition of the Donato's building may be used to support the demolition of others.  So even if this feels like a good trade at my gut level, I hope it doesn’t set a precedent for demolitions that wouldn't feel good at the gut level (the Dennison, the Davis, 313 W 5th Street.)

 

2. Sophia's building (811 Main St.)- It is not at all clear to me that this building will be demolished as part of this project.  It's completely not mentioned in the packet text, and if it's in the historic district it would seem they would have to address it at a later date.  The rendering (massing?) of the proposed project definitely doesn’t include it.  But it is present in the site plan on page 181 of the PDF, and page 196 mentions an "811 Hideaway Lounge."

 

3. Parking- it looks like this has "evolved" over time.  The documents in the packet dated last year seem to imply that no long term parking would be included and long term parking would be available at Olympic Garage.  However the more recent documents in the packet mention the two levels of parking included.  In any case the parking component doesn't seem to be that dominating a component for these structures as it has for other recent projects around downtown, which is a good thing.

 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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It's interesting you mention that Sophia's isn't even mentioned anywhere. I also was curious about that. Because that site is considered their phase I so it would definitely take precedent over the Donato's building in terms of order of operations of getting demolition requests if they did indeed want to demolish.

 

it's fully possible that it will be integrated in some manner but those basic massing models just hadn't gotten around to including it in any sort of detailed manner. We can hope.

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I'm sure there's a good answer, but what are the advantages for doing two smaller buildings vs doing one 29 story building?

 

Besides being out of scale compared to it's immediate surroundings, not everyone wants to walk, live or work in the shadows and canyon-like feel that very tall buildings can create.  The footprints of the two sites aren't that large either.  Of course constructing a 29-story building could likely be an option, but IMO the mid-rise height proposed for the two developments seems better for that location.  Two 29-story buildings would be even worse.

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I'm sure there's a good answer, but what are the advantages for doing two smaller buildings vs doing one 29 story building?

 

Besides being out of scale compared to it's immediate surroundings, not everyone wants to walk, live or work in the shadows and canyon-like feel that very tall buildings can create.  The footprints of the two sites aren't that large either.  Of course constructing a 29-story building could likely be an option, but IMO the mid-rise height proposed for the two developments seems better for that location.  Two 29-story buildings would be even worse.

 

I disagree that scale would be an issue on 8th street.  We're talking about a location that is only 3 blocks north and 2 blocks east of what was the tallest building in the city for 80 of the past 85 years.  If scale is an issue for you at 8th and Main, you're really entrenching yourself in an anti-height position, which is the type of attitude that left us with an antiquated handshake-agreement height limit for most of 20th century.

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^I don't want to go too far off topic and I don't want this to be interpreted as an attack, but Cincinnati should anti-height at this point in time.  Scale aside, chasing tower height is an exercise in arrogance when available land for building is abundant.  There are surface lots all over downtown that need to be filled in, and Cincinnati, while improving, is not yet booming.  Building two or more shorter structures versus one taller tower is better for street life because it fills in those vacant gaps with shops, cafes, and other things more pleasant than asphalt.  Look at the aerial view of the the 8th & Main intersection; ~50% of the space on those four blocks alone consists of surface lots, with even more on the neighboring blocks.  My hope is that several smaller projects happen gradually and tie the urban fabric back together, rather than a few towers that sate demand without improving walkability.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/8th+and+main,+cincinnati/@39.1048426,-84.5117661,682m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xad3b938f4139b8be!6m1!1e1

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