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Cincinnati: Downtown: Eighth & Main Redevelopment

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You should know there's no such thing as non-parallel verticals in architecture!

 

This building looks like it'll wind up being a nice addition. I'd love to see renderings of the pair.

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My favorite are renderings for 500'+ buildings that are in 2-point perspective. It tricks the brain into thinking the tower gets significantly larger towards the top.

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I am a little disappointed that this development does not reach as far west as Bowen Street. I wonder how long we will be stuck with a surface lot immediately west of the south tower.

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It is a nice looking mid-rise.


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Wow that's very nice looking. I'm guess the success of this tower, will essentially be the "test" for other developers? If this is a success, I imagine more out of town developers will jump on board as well, and start eating up the available lots.

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I am a little disappointed that this development does not reach as far west as Bowen Street. I wonder how long we will be stuck with a surface lot immediately west of the south tower.

 

Agreed. Fortunately, though... it seems like this was designed to accommodate development to the west. The west elevation of the south tower seems designed in such a way, with a large windowless section up to the 9th floor... which would make it easy to have an adjacent building built on a 4-level platform, with a "tower" up to the 9th floor, without blocking any windows or sightlines.

 

 

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I am a little disappointed that this development does not reach as far west as Bowen Street. I wonder how long we will be stuck with a surface lot immediately west of the south tower.

 

I'm actually happy about that. I'd like to see more buildings rather than big block-spanning behemoths a la dunnhumby. Much more interesting.

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I am a little disappointed that this development does not reach as far west as Bowen Street. I wonder how long we will be stuck with a surface lot immediately west of the south tower.

 

I'm actually happy about that. I'd like to see more buildings rather than big block-spanning behemoths a la dunnhumby. Much more interesting.

 

^Good point. Best case scenario would be two different buildings from different designers/developers.

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I am a little disappointed that this development does not reach as far west as Bowen Street. I wonder how long we will be stuck with a surface lot immediately west of the south tower.

 

I'm actually happy about that. I'd like to see more buildings rather than big block-spanning behemoths a la dunnhumby. Much more interesting.

 

 

I couldn't agree more.

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Being disingenuous isn't a sport Jake. The Pogue's Garage development having a massive parking isn't because it's a residential development. It's replacing a large parking garage and the city wants just as many spaces. In no world does a 208 unit building require 925 spaces. Not even in Cincinnati.

 

People really get on my nerves around here throwing that or 8th and Sycamore around as "omg Cincinnati development requires gigantic garages" examples when it's completely bogus. They're both replacing garages and adding development on top of the replacement. Pretending they have such massive garages purely for the residential on top is a flat out lie.

 

Sorry I was not clear.  Any development that takes the place of a surface lot, and certainly a public garage, will need to replace most if not all of the parking it takes, in addition to whatever parking the development requires.  The Banks is the most dramatic example of this.  The Pogue's garage is probably #2.  But even in the case of the surface lots in the northern half of downtown, there will be some need to replace public parking in garages for new developments. 

 

Getting back to the density conversation, I don't think anyone can successfully argue that a cityscape that forces all parking to be underground (i.e. Washington, DC) is more attractive and functions better than one where towers on top of 10-story garages next to surface lots next to towers next to 8-deck parking garages next to lots like everything in Texas or what Cincinnati is gradually becoming.  If force all parking to be underground, it limits the height of towers, which is fine with me. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nice looking building!

 

-811 Main St (Sophia's building) is staying!

 

It is? I mean, there's no request for demolition, but I'm not seeing it in any of the renderings in the packet - the north tower has that space in the renderings.

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Nice looking building!

 

-811 Main St (Sophia's building) is staying!

 

It is? I mean, there's no request for demolition, but I'm not seeing it in any of the renderings in the packet - the north tower has that space in the renderings.

 

It's on page 133 of 312 of the updated packet labeled "3/21/2016 staff reports and attachments"

 

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/buildings/historic-conservation/historic-conservation-board/march-21-2016-staff-reports-and-attachment-s/


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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Here's the east elevation (from page 133 of that document of attachments), showing how both towers would be adjacent to the historic 3.5 story buildings directly to the north and south. The dashed line in the rendering marked "2" has the note: "Masonry base relates to the three and four story masonry structures."

 

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Bowdeya Tweh is reporting from the Historic Conservation Board that is going on right now: https://twitter.com/BowdeyaTweh

 

Here's what the <a href="https://twitter.com/BowdeyaTweh/status/712006697620000768">city staff recommendation</a> is:

On the 2-story bldg, built in 1955, the city staff's recommendation is that it can be razed. The 6-story building, no way.

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A bit of a monkeywrench in the works, but sometimes odd problems like building around existing buildings or incorporating them into a reworked design lead to interesting solutions. On the bright side, a good sign for the Dennison Hotel perhaps?

 

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If they are denied demolition of the corner building and somehow build around/over/incorporated into it then something cool could come of that. I still question what can be done from the sounds of John Schneider's letter, but who knows, maybe it'll force Senhauser and the developers to get creative.

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When I lived in Chicago they did facad-ectomies all the time, but I don't recall any projects that have done this in Cincinnati. This seems like a case that it could make sense because of the interior layout and floor to floor heights. Is there something in our historic guidelines that is different that makes these harder to get approved or pull off, or is it more of a construction material issue where Chicago has many cast iron and terracotta facades while Cincinnati's are mostly brick?

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If they leave the "Donatos building", and simply tear down the 2-story annex, then the buildable parcel of the south tower could have a floor print of ~8,200 sq ft, which is almost identical to the size of the footprint of the north tower.

 

So... in essence, they could build two similarly-sized towers, although the south tower would be more square and the north tower would would be more rectangular.

 

 

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When I lived in Chicago they did facad-ectomies all the time...

 

My architecture master’s thesis dealt with exactly this issue. When you can’t save what’s behind the facade you have to ask if it’s worth the trouble anymore. The argument is that saving the facade alone eviscerates the integrity or the soul of the building. Maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic and over-anthropomorphizing, but it’s at least worth considering. As with any approach its success or failure depends on the execution. As a general practice though, facadectomies are pretty expressly discouraged by modern historic preservation standards, even though they were somewhat common from the 1970s through 1990s. That came about as a reaction to projects where the facade was left as a freestanding sort of objet d’art such as at Penn Mutual Tower in Philadelphia, or retained as mere dressing of a blank wall with no function and blanked out windows and doors such as at Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis.  So if the problem is floor-to-floor heights and such, then saving a facade doesn't actually help that problem, and may in fact make it worse because you're trying to fit pieces together that actually don't fit, so it makes both worse for the effort. 

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I still think you are getting more than you are giving up wth the current plan but... What if you did this? If floor to ceiling heights in the Donatos building are the issue, remove every other floor except for the support joists. Then do open floorplan office.  You'd lose square footage but that might make your renovation costs lower as well.  Looks like you could get about three floors in maybe?


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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After adjourning for 40 minutes for an "executive session", the board reconvened and approved the demolition of both 719 and 721 Main, by a vote of 5-1, conditional on a final design review of the new proposed construction (not sure when that would be, or how it would differ from what was presented today).

 

 

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Densification of typical residential areas by the addition of basement apartments and detached garage apartments or the construction of several houses on a lot formerly occupied by a single house is one thing.  The built density of a downtown is another.  In Cincinnati the economic pressures that exist in other cities don't exist here because the metro population is barely growing and there is not a land crunch...there is no physical or legal growth boundary (lake, ocean, watershed, mountain range, restricted growth of water & sewer, or formal growth boundary ala Portland, OR), and there is no rapid transit system.  People live in Cincinnati's denser neighborhoods as a hobby and buy property there as speculative investments -- not because of some real practical concern or because they have to due to a lack of affordable alternatives.

 

Nobody's going to convince me that under current conditions we should permit infill in Over-the-Rhine higher than the buildings that already exist there.  DT is different of course, but as we are seeing with the huge parking garage planned for the Pogue's parking garage site, big residential developments in the downtown will continue to require gigantic parking garages. 

 

 

You kinda had me until the second paragraph.  If the nature of the investment is to be part of the urban fabric of the neighborhoods as a hobby (or you know to live within walking distance of bars, and restaurants)... Then within that argument the limit is the existing urban fabric, it is what people want to see and it is what people want to pack into.  Thus a few 10-14 story buildings very much have a place in OTR, as the physical limit -which may be a ocean elsewhere- is the neighborhood boundary of OTR here, and people are and will be willing to densify within those limits.  This densification is made even more lucrative and marketable by its height. The views from the roofs over and within OTR are outstanding, and I believe there will be an even larger market for this going forward when people get to the 10th floor and can see the historic fabric around them running west to Music Hall and Union Terminal beyond. 

 

I have always believed that the new should not look like the old, and in fact actually highlight and draw more attention to the value and quality of their historic neighbors by their contrast.  I had actually not thought of this with specific respect to height but this too is a solid case for diversity of height (within reason) in OTR - as it sets the new apart so the old can be appreciated. 

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^in regards to taller heights in OTR you could get into a "Tragedy of the commons" situation there though, especially at 10-14 stories. That's were a shared resource (in this case, the view) is depleted by everyone trying to harvest it, acting rationally in their own self-interest (in this case by building tall buildings which will block the view of others.)

 

That being said I could see a little bit taller buildings in certain locations such as along Central Parkway (east-west and north-south portions) or at the base of the hills.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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If you follow the rule that buildings must be no more than 1 floor taller than their talllest neighboring building, I think we will be fine. That way a developer could put a pretty substantial building at the NW corner of Central Parkway and Main, as the Alms & Doekpe building next to it is already pretty tall. But you woudn't be able to build a mid-rise tower at the 12th & Vine parking lot.

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I don't know, that's a dangerous territory as well. Because there are plenty of blocks that only have 2 or 3 story buildings and building a 5 story building would absolutely make sense. Or the situations like on the lots along Central Parkway. There's no reason we shouldn't push to match the height of the American Building on the parking lot next to Salvation Army. That proposed 9 story office building where CMHA used to be along Central Parkway shouldn't be shot down because its neighbors are only 2-3 stories.

 

In a place like OTR you basically have to say, "buildings range from 1-7 stories within the boundaries of OTR (excluding lots along Central Parkway) and therefore that should be what we allow." There are already 5+ story historic buildings within the central parts of OTR yet people always seem to think a 4 story limit on new construction or 5 stories with a setback so the top level can't be seen from the sidewalk is the correct scale. New buildings shouldn't be forced to be smaller than their historic neighbors through policy. That's a pretty great way to underutilize our land and make the streetcar less useful in addition to encouraging more expensive housing.

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I may be in the minority on this one, but here are my overall thoughts.

 

OTR, from Sycamore, up to McMicken, to Central Parkway, South down Central Parkway, and east to Sycamore, is the main core of OTR.  I think in that area, we should be careful to keep buildings at levels that respect the height of buildings immediately surrounding them, in regards to new build.  That said, I would make a case that we are fine for north south facing buildings on Central Parkway (both sides), Liberty Street (both sides) and Central Parkway east to west facing.

 

Now, the reason I say this is because I believe also that we should look to maximize height in the CBD as much as possible.  This is where the bulk of residents will end up.  These bulk residents will in turn become the main customers of OTR businesses that will continue to sprout up.

 

Also, if the streetcar gets built up to Uptown (hopefully by tunnel), then even more so, the area of uptown can really look to densify even more.  I am not the biggest fan of the architecture built currently in uptown or the tearing down of historic buildings there, but there is a lot more room for dense growth in that area.  This will create a more affordable living center with easy access to downtown and OTR entertainment and nightlife connected within walking distance by the streetcar.  This will furth solidify all of OTR as a restaurant / high end residential / small office user area, with large nodes of population centers on both ends.  I think in 20 years, we all want to say that the historic nature of OTR was preserved, because that is what makes Cincinnati unique in the midwest and stand out from the rest.  If we can get the rail line connected to Uptown, I see no issues with affordability in OTR itself.  Yes, some may not be able to live directly in OTR because of how expensive it could get, but at the same time, you can live within an easy shot of OTR no issues.

 

That's a long ways off, but just my thoughts.

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I read somewhere that it is initially going to be razed and turned into a parking lot. No official plans have been given to the city at all. Basically, they are going to turn it into a parking lot and if "economically feasible", build condos at some point in the future. Has anyone else heard this?

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That is not my understanding. The demolition is only allowed pending full approval of the new condo tower. Also, I don't think Griewe is interested in being a parking lot owner. He is putting forward these plans because be wants to build a condo tower downtown.

 

Now, The Dennison, on the other hand...

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I read somewhere that it is initially going to be razed and turned into a parking lot. No official plans have been given to the city at all. Basically, they are going to turn it into a parking lot and if "economically feasible", build condos at some point in the future. Has anyone else heard this?

 

No, people online are getting this confused with the Dennison, for which there is no redevelopment plan. Renderings of the project at the Donato's site were included in the historic conservation board packet on the city's website.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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