Jump to content
Guest OCtoCincy

Cincinnati: Downtown: The Blonde (Eighth & Main)

Recommended Posts

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/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!!!! 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!!!! 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"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."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to be clear...will the condo tower just eliminate the donatoes building, and not the touch the 2 massive empty lots north of the donatoes building?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree. I do agree that this development being two buildings fills in some gaps better than one tall building would in the short term, but it's the same argument I have against people claiming no new buildings in OTR should be over 3 stories since there are so many vacant lots. Once you've used up that asset it's gone. You can't build a bunch of smaller buildings to fill in the gaps and then add more height later. If you are "anti-height" you shouldn't be in the Central Business District.

 

This doesn't mean every development has to try to push height limits, but there are a lot of benefits to building taller buildings. Higher spot density which helps with street life quite a bit. This is directly next to a streetcar stop so having the most people living directly along the line is beneficial to a cause basically every Cincinnatian on UrbanOhio can get behind, making sure the streetcar is seen as an asset. And from an outside image standpoint having new buildings poking up through the skyline is a sign of prosperity. Cities that have a changing skyline and have cranes visible have the effect of feeling more exciting and entice people to check things out who maybe wouldn't before.

 

Yes, there are a TON of surface lots Downtown. It would be great to fill them all in. But the reality is that very few are for sale, and likely won't be for awhile since the cost of land is so cheap here meaning selling isn't worth it. Therefore we should utilize what open lots we do have the opportunity to see development on to their fullest by aggressively pushing for the most units possible which usually means more height.

 

We're not meeting demand as it is. We're not even close to meeting demand. Building taller won't quell demand because there's so much untapped demand at the moment. There is definitely room for larger buildings without stalling progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the city needs to be as open to any development as possible while at the same time making certain the "landings" are very pedestrian oriented and good for street life.  I think adding a layer of height limitation would be the worst thing possible because it could deter some developers.  I don't know the economics of buildings very well at all.  I know jmicha has mentioned before at some point, but something going from a 4 story to a 5 story you need to have elevators then going higher at some point there is a point where it becomes more expensive.

 

That said, if a developer manages to make a deal on a surface lot and wants to take the most advantage of it to drive the fixed cost per unit down by building 25 stories, I am all for it. 

 

As a comparison, if you go to a city like St. Louis and compare it's downtown to Cincinnati, Cincinnati is much more "filled in".  I think out of the rust belt area cities, Cincinnati does quite well in regards to less surface lots.  There are a ton of surface lots don't get me wrong, but it could be much worse.

 

I say don't try to put on another layer of zoning in regards to height and I am all for adding height to the skyline whenever a developer wants.  I am actually more pro-height in regards to the developments on Elm Street, etc.  That is why I am more or less convinced OTR will become more of a single family development area, more posh/cosmopolitan as time moves on, and downtown needs to add as much density as possible to make OTR fully built out as a restaurant / bar / tourism row on the main arteries. 

 

I am also very pro affordable tax credit in buildings in OTR as well because we need to save these buildings as best as possible and the affordable tax credits will help in this regard.  It also gives people who have lived in very bad conditions much better living conditions and more incentive to keep them up and move up on the economic ladder. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are "anti-height" you shouldn't be in a city. Period. If you have a problem with tall buildings get out of the Central Business District. That's your problem, nobody else's.

 

I love tall buildings.  I just don't want one or two massive apartment towers to suck up all of the existing demand and stall development. 

 

it's the same argument I have against people claiming no new buildings in OTR should be over 3 stories since there are so many vacant lots. Once you've used up that asset it's gone.

 

I understand what you're saying, but unless something drastically and unexpectedly changes, this won't realistically be a problem for many, many years.  Between OTR, the West End, the lots on Eggleston, and the lots around the CBD, there is enough dead space to build for decades.  And that's ignoring all of the abandoned/underutilized historic structures that will be demolished or collapse and become vacant lots in the meantime if they don't get restored. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are definitely economics in play in OTR with regards to going from 4 to 5 stories. You do need a lot more infrastructural costs built in to do so so I can understand why some developers would want to restrict themselves to 4 stories in small buildings which is fine. Whatever works financially I'm in support of as long as it's not like Towne Properties 7 townhomes on Elm since that's a huge site for very low density development.

 

In the CBD the economics don't quite yet attribute themselves to gigantic buildings and likely won't for a long time. Which is fine, but we shouldn't artificially restrict new development in the only area of the region with many highrises. If the economics only work out to 90 units in two 14/15 story buildings like they do here, perfect. That's what the market can bear which is all you can ask for. If someone figures out a way to build an 80 story tower on top of Macy's and make it work financially, go for it. I'll be the first one to cheer it on at the groundbreaking ceremony.

 

Supporting what the market dictates can work financially is the best way to ensure land use patterns are in our best interest. It's not a perfect system but it generally works out in the long-term.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think adding a layer of height limitation would be the worst thing possible because it could deter some developers...

 

I say don't try to put on another layer of zoning in regards to height and I am all for adding height to the skyline whenever a developer wants.

 

No one is asking for that.  All I'm saying is that this development being two shorter structures as opposed to one taller structure is a GOOD thing for the surrounding area.  American Luxury asked about the "advantages for doing two smaller buildings vs doing one 29 story building" and I put an answer out there.  Don't make more out of it than it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're responding to your "anti-height" comment. The only way to be programmatically anti-height is to put restrictions in play. It wasn't specifically what was asked about/stated, but it's the only method in which one can actually be anti-height when it comes to development and achieve anything more than making noise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Understood, but I was responding to greatgooglymoogly's assertion that an "anti-height position" is a problem, when in reality there are many advantages to having several smaller structures as opposed to a single taller one, which was part of the initial question.  I'm not proposing anything; I'm just addressing the original question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's not forget success will beget success here too. The more vibrant the core is, the more demand will increase from people and businesses wanting to move there.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Understood, but I was responding to greatgooglymoogly's assertion that an "anti-height position" is a problem, when in reality there are many advantages to having several smaller structures as opposed to a single taller one, which was part of the initial question.  I'm not proposing anything; I'm just addressing the original question.

 

I'm not arguing that height for the sake of height always trumps smaller developments.  My issue is your stance that a 29-story tower would be too tall for this location, which to me is indicative of the small-town parochialism that has gripped our city's development for too long. This location is well within the borders of our CBD and a pretty well-established high-rise district with nearly a dozen towers of more than 29 stories.  While debating the merits of the design and integration of a (hypothetical) 29-story tower could be constructive, decrying the scale seems small-minded.

 

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.

 

It is this sentence that really stood out to me.  While you have every right to feel this way, this sentiment does not and cannot stand on its own as an argument for preventing additions to our high-rise district.  Not everyone likes dogs either, but it would be unreasonable for those people to go to dog parks and complain about the barking.

 

Edit: Duplicate post with incorrect quote formatting - mods, feel free to delete this one as I can't seem to figure out how to myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...