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ryanlammi

Cincinnati: Terrace Plaza Hotel - December 2017

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Last weekend I went on a tour of the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Downtown Cincinnati. The hotel was built in 1948 and is one of the first modernist skyscrapers in the country. When it was constructed, it housed two department stores. One store eventually closed and was subdivided into many spaces with an interior hall constructed. The hotel portion from floors 8-19 closed its doors in 2008. The building has had no tenants aside from some ground-floor retail since then. The building was famous for it's modern interiors including famous artwork, interior design, and a famed restaurant on the 20th floor called the Gourmet Room. The architects selected for the project had never built a hotel before, which was important for the developer who had experience building hotels, and wanted to bring a fresh perspective to the development. The owner also constructed the Carew Tower (1930) and the Cincinnatian Hotel (1882) that bookended this development on either side along Vine Street. The chief architect on the project was a woman by the name of Natalie de Blois. Though she was not officially recognized as the architect on the project, one person said of her working relationship with a partner at the firm that "he took all the credit and she did all the work." She wasn't allowed to go to many of the client meetings as they were held at male-only clubs.

 

The hotel featured state-of-the-art technology that had never been utilized before. Certain floors featured walls that could be rolled up to expand a single room into a suite. Beds were motorized and could transform between a bed and a couch with the push of a button (kids infamously pushed those buttons constantly and wore out the motors). A door leading from the main dining room into the kitchen were automatically opened with a motion detector. This was also the first hotel in the country to feature a lobby above the first floor (located on the 8th).

 

Photos of the exterior:

 

You'll notice that the exterior bricks are laid out in a linear pattern, rather than the typical pattern of placing the center of bricks over the joint of two bricks below.

 

38180990304_ff55fbf843_k.jpgDSC_7937 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38180987534_2cc55a82d1_k.jpgDSC_7933 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38009905445_5f3ef58a55_k.jpgDSC_7939 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38180995344_86d98dc417_k.jpgDSC_7942 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Walking around to the back of the building:

 

38181000254_4cbea2a70c_k.jpgDSC_7946 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896523991_36ab59ff41_k.jpgDSC_7950 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896526471_5012236b54_k.jpgDSC_7956 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Inside the first floor space that was broken up to create multiple storefronts on the interior and the new "lobby" on the first floor:

 

24031743017_e8be6a2cc4_k.jpgDSC_7964 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181020214_b40ba428a9_k.jpgDSC_7972 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031709987_0f2068d0cd_c.jpgDSC_7914 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896513621_d33ed6306e_c.jpgDSC_7922 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38009897165_270479357f_c.jpgDSC_7930 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

The original logo for the Terrace Plaza was designed at the same time as the building, and is featured on all of the elevators (it's a stylized T and P for those who can't tell)

38866121912_51c2938d86_c.jpgDSC_7927 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Up the extremely fast elevator to the 8th floor lobby with terrace courtyard:

 

27120322129_cd8105a84e_k.jpgDSC_7974 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120220439_70828d1405_c.jpgDSC_7975 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

25024982448_f0ea122cb9_c.jpgDSC_7977 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

The top of the Cincinnatian Hotel across 6th Street

25024987798_5445331830_c.jpgDSC_7982 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

25024989268_e3a33c7a84_c.jpgDSC_7983 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Original handrail and granite wall

38896539051_2d0bca7c61_c.jpgDSC_7985 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Not an original floor

25024994618_10c5afc681_c.jpgDSC_7987 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031760287_d5eaf4bf56_c.jpgDSC_7993 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031762857_921048d193_c.jpgDSC_7995 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38009966125_d0b7d48846_c.jpgDSC_7997 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120251789_54251a101a_c.jpgDSC_8004 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181047884_8dcdb9c6fe_c.jpgDSC_8006 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181049704_f5b22336b2_c.jpgDSC_8008 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181053254_ec3aa84d4d_c.jpgDSC_8013 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Motion sensored door that still works

38181057614_ef273c3802_c.jpgDSC_8016 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Main Kitchen:

38181061284_e7e6321248_c.jpgDSC_8019 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181064244_82e7df89de_c.jpgDSC_8022 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896557441_9dc14de01f_c.jpgDSC_8027 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

8th Floor Terrace:

 

38010006455_3c97e5d20c_c.jpgDSC_8040 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38866226102_4bea2d8a61_c.jpgDSC_8042 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181095384_02e6562219_c.jpgDSC_8046 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

On the 8th Floor and above there are windows, unlike the levels below that the department stores occupied

38866234272_77795a8ef9_c.jpgDSC_8047 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120288719_455689b870_c.jpgDSC_8048 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120290149_e638a78be6_c.jpgDSC_8051 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120297529_4c47126d00_c.jpgDSC_8056 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

I didn't get a lot of photos of the hotel portion of the building. It smelled terrible and every room was pretty much identical.

 

38866216052_3631e1295e_c.jpgDSC_8034 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38866206322_da9eab5ef9_c.jpgDSC_8029 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38866217372_72c454ee84_c.jpgDSC_8036 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

The Gourmet Room and the rooftop were the final spots we went to on the tour. The Gourmet Room had branding that matched the Terrace Plaza branding on the elevator. They also had the logo branded on plates, forks, glass, etc. It was much smaller than I imagined, which gives you an idea of how exclusive it must have felt to be dining up there.

 

24031814517_5e94ba90aa_c.jpgDSC_8060 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

25024918618_fcfea44b3f_c.jpgDSC_8144 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120303039_0976075946_c.jpgDSC_8064 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031836787_a7aa4b945a_c.jpgDSC_8088 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120326189_d834c5fa68_c.jpgDSC_8089 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Look closely and you can see the logo on the silverware as well

27120323559_751d9ae03a_c.jpgDSC_8087 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181118174_da3df92122_c.jpgDSC_8070 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38866261942_c894f2a24e_c.jpgDSC_8075 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38866264452_52a5c360cf_c.jpgDSC_8078 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

25025098948_6756094b60_c.jpgDSC_8097 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896500091_34a95d7b79_c.jpgDSC_8141 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

Finally, the rooftop

 

I was told this was an old water cooler/tank on the roof

27120333799_7c20554a9b_c.jpgDSC_8105 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120333249_2f4c6854e8_c.jpgDSC_8104 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896500551_9c93287aa2_c.jpgDSC_8139 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120337369_c347e9eb5e_c.jpgDSC_8108 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031856177_841a1880f8_c.jpgDSC_8111 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031856747_a9417218dd_c.jpgDSC_8112 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031857607_cdf3087847_c.jpgDSC_8114 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031858757_6ab440376b_c.jpgDSC_8117 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38181155824_d1f2d98661_c.jpgDSC_8121 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

27120347789_1a0d31fc13_c.jpgDSC_8123 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896617801_cc70ec17d6_c.jpgDSC_8127 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

This structure on the roof was apparently used as the head chef's office back in the day, but more recently as storage

25024925058_fef1ce8eef_c.jpgDSC_8134 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

24031865807_d316632573_c.jpgDSC_8131 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896502721_dd239e2d5c_c.jpgDSC_8135 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

38896501961_dfd0d5d9a0_c.jpgDSC_8136 by Ryan Lammi, on Flickr

 

 

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38181047884

 

Image 8006 is straight out of the Shining...

 

Great pictures, and its a really cool building. Hope something comes of this newest attempt to renovate.

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^I got a little confused with the explanation, but it sounded like a lot of previous efforts were complicated by the fact that the property had been divided into multiple parcels with multiple owners, and one owner from New York was being very uncooperative/negligent, which was making it really hard to get anything done. It sounds like all of the parcels are controlled by a single owner now, which should hopefully be a good omen. It was also mentioned that SOM is very interested in whatever ends up happening with the building and have allowed access to their archives for research purposes.

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Garbage

Garbage is the refuse which comes from the bathroom and kitchen. It is basically organic waste, clothing, food waste, food containers, paper products etc. It is picked up by different organizations like City sanitation Department or the Waste Control Department. All the household garbage and the paper products after getting picked are sent to the Waste-to-Energy Facility.

 

Trash

Trash is the waste which comes from anywhere but the bathroom and kitchen. It could be old furniture, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, junk and other products which might come under the category of hazardous household waste. The trash is picked up by different authorities of the city like the city itself and sometimes contractors are hired by County’s Commissioner’s office.

 

 

 

Read more: Difference Between Garbage and Trash | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-garbage-and-trash/#ixzz50e8RNs4B

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Garbage

Garbage is the refuse which comes from the bathroom and kitchen. It is basically organic waste, clothing, food waste, food containers, paper products etc. It is picked up by different organizations like City sanitation Department or the Waste Control Department. All the household garbage and the paper products after getting picked are sent to the Waste-to-Energy Facility.

 

Trash

Trash is the waste which comes from anywhere but the bathroom and kitchen. It could be old furniture, leaves, twigs, grass clippings, junk and other products which might come under the category of hazardous household waste. The trash is picked up by different authorities of the city like the city itself and sometimes contractors are hired by County’s Commissioner’s office.

 

 

 

Read more: Difference Between Garbage and Trash | Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/language/words-language/difference-between-garbage-and-trash/#ixzz50e8RNs4B

 

Interesting.  I figured there was some sort of distinction like this.  Has changed so much in 50 years that this sign would have been obvious to most people at that time, but confusing to most now?

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Awesome photos thanks for sharing Ryan.

 

I really hope this can get a great new re-use.  Would be a very cool building and not only that, will significantly liven up that area of downtown.  It seems best they would keep it as a hotel in the upper floors with what everyone is saying, and then convert the brick wall into apartments or condos.

 

Is Anderson Birkla the developer still on this?  I was a bit confused on that as I knew they had a contract to purchase?  Where is everything at with the development?

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^I'm not sure who the developer is at the moment. They said on the tour that all models indicated that the upper levels would be best suited for apartments or condos instead of another hotel. Still no date for construction or anything. They are in the early stages of development right now and don't have firm plans right now.

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I have a feeling they'll probably combine rooms to create apartments/condos. One room becomes kitchen/living and the other becomes bedroom and bathroom for a one-bedroom unit. Combine three hotel rooms to create a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit with the far bedroom being suited as the master bedroom.

 

Do you (or anyone) have rough estimate of the dimensions of the rooms?

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They were pretty small. I'm really bad at estimating sizes, but if I had to guess, I would say maybe 12'x12' total with a bathroom in the corner of that space. But I could be off by several feet and that would make such a big difference because of the small size of the rooms.

 

Here's a photo of one of the rooms on the Business Courier's site: https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/04/27/get-a-look-inside-the-former-terrace-plaza-hotel.html#g/362822/2

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They definitely were smaller than my garage, which is about 16x20. The low ceilings definitely make things feel a bit claustrophobic too, and I'm only 5'7" tall.

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^I know they had all recessed lighting in the ceiling of rooms, and apparently didn't have any lamps or anything plugged in or sitting on tables/floors. Maybe they were trying to highlight that feature of the building?

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^^ Is Abe Simpson said. "Twas the style at the time". Actually Cincinnati was on the cutting edge of the style with this build, but the trendy low ceilings sure were an unchangeable bit of style. Pretty much ANYTHING else can be changed in a remodel except the ceilings in a low ceiling highrise tower. It is the main reason i like the current owners ideas to bring it back as a period piece and play up the style and look it once had.

 

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Many of the spaces that Frank Lloyd Wright designed had very low ceilings, too. I got a chance to tour Taliesin West in AZ, and much of it seems cramped and small by modern standards. Low ceiling heights in a high rise building like the Terrace Plaza definitely present serious challenges. I don't know if there are enough die hard enthusiasts of MCM that would be willing to put up with 7 foot ceilings in a residential building.

 

Did anyone on the tour discuss potential uses for the bricked in portion of this building? I would truly love to see it saved, but it seems like there are just so many challenges, and the building really isn't inherently beautiful, at least not at street level. That block of 6th also feels pretty cavernous, with the huge blank red wall fronting the whole block. I never cheer for demolition of historic structures, but this one seems like a real challenge, and it has created a dead space in the heart of downtown for far too long.

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Many of the spaces that Frank Lloyd Wright designed had very low ceilings, too. I got a chance to tour Taliesin West in AZ, and much of it seems cramped and small by modern standards. Low ceiling heights in a high rise building like the Terrace Plaza definitely present serious challenges. I don't know if there are enough die hard enthusiasts of MCM that would be willing to put up with 7 foot ceilings in a residential building.

 

Did anyone on the tour discuss potential uses for the bricked in portion of this building? I would truly love to see it saved, but it seems like there are just so many challenges, and the building really isn't inherently beautiful, at least not at street level. That block of 6th also feels pretty cavernous, with the huge blank red wall fronting the whole block. I never cheer for demolition of historic structures, but this one seems like a real challenge, and it has created a dead space in the heart of downtown for far too long.

 

I'm a bit confused on all this because I thought Anderson Birkla were the ones who own it now but it doesn't sound like it?  Or at least they had a contract for the purchase and they did a long interview with the Business Courier and even posted a rendering but maybe that is all moot now?  I can't find the picture on an article but it is posted on the forum for Terrace Plaza on the second to last page from August of this year.  It shows them taking out the brick wall and it was explained that it was only cosmetic and could be removed.

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Many of the spaces that Frank Lloyd Wright designed had very low ceilings, too. I got a chance to tour Taliesin West in AZ, and much of it seems cramped and small by modern standards. Low ceiling heights in a high rise building like the Terrace Plaza definitely present serious challenges. I don't know if there are enough die hard enthusiasts of MCM that would be willing to put up with 7 foot ceilings in a residential building.

 

Where does this idea of 7' ceilings come from again? The bizcourier picture (https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/04/27/get-a-look-inside-the-former-terrace-plaza-hotel.html#g/362822/2) indicates that the ceilings are at least 8' (if not more), based on the assumption the doorways are standard 6'8".

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Many of the spaces that Frank Lloyd Wright designed had very low ceilings, too. I got a chance to tour Taliesin West in AZ, and much of it seems cramped and small by modern standards. Low ceiling heights in a high rise building like the Terrace Plaza definitely present serious challenges. I don't know if there are enough die hard enthusiasts of MCM that would be willing to put up with 7 foot ceilings in a residential building.

 

Did anyone on the tour discuss potential uses for the bricked in portion of this building? I would truly love to see it saved, but it seems like there are just so many challenges, and the building really isn't inherently beautiful, at least not at street level. That block of 6th also feels pretty cavernous, with the huge blank red wall fronting the whole block. I never cheer for demolition of historic structures, but this one seems like a real challenge, and it has created a dead space in the heart of downtown for far too long.

 

I'm a bit confused on all this because I thought Anderson Birkla were the ones who own it now but it doesn't sound like it?  Or at least they had a contract for the purchase and they did a long interview with the Business Courier and even posted a rendering but maybe that is all moot now?  I can't find the picture on an article but it is posted on the forum for Terrace Plaza on the second to last page from August of this year.  It shows them taking out the brick wall and it was explained that it was only cosmetic and could be removed.

 

From what i heard at the intro that is one of the directions they may pursue but it was just a concept proposal. THey were showing the building to other architects and preservationists after our tour and had also had someone there from I believe BDHP who is involved in the early steps of preserving the building. They also had numerous other design proposal renderings on display in the 8th floor bar that were more in keeping to the original look. Nothing seems solid yet in terms of the best way to move forward. Any else there hear this?

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Where does this idea of 7' ceilings come from again? The bizcourier picture (https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/04/27/get-a-look-inside-the-former-terrace-plaza-hotel.html#g/362822/2) indicates that the ceilings are at least 8' (if not more), based on the assumption the doorways are standard 6'8".

From the project thread for the Terrace Plaza:

 

JJakucyk: "I talked with a contractor who walked through recently, and the real problem with the 8' ceilings is that's only available where there's no utilities, basically concrete to concrete.  Over the room entrances, bathrooms, and hallways where you have pipes and ductwork (more of which will be required for all new mechanicals, since what's there is shot) that means you're pushing down to the 7' level which starts to get quite oppressive."

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Inside the rooms, I don't see why they would need to drop the ceiling below 8'. The only place they might need to do that would be around the door/entrance if they need to run some mechanicals that can't be run through the walls. Worst case scenario: they add a soffit along one wall. Certainly no reason to drop the entire ceiling down to 7'.

 

 

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Beautiful structure, thanks for sharing those pictures! It'd be awesome to see it restored to its former glory.... 7' ceilings and all lol

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