Jump to content
Guest grasscat

Cincinnati: State of Downtown

Recommended Posts

In order to keep stores, people need to be raising entire families in urban areas, not just having that first kid there then bolting for the 'burbs when the kid turns 5. Kids and teens force people to spend money on possessions rather than spending it all on nights out.

 

Not necessarily the big cities still have quite a few people who fit into this mold and still have way more retail than Cincy does.

 

I actually feel Cincy has more families than Chicago IMO.  I'm not sure if its suburbanites coming into town, but it always shocks me on weekdays when I'm down in Washington Park just how many young kids are there.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several hundreds of apartments being built within 2 blocks of where I live in the CBD.  Some are already up and running (Seventh and Broadway), some under construction (Sycamore and Eighth, the 580 Building) and condos are planned for Eighth and Main.  After living downtown for decades I can say it's been my experience that services beyond restaurants/bars and parks have been very slow to develop.  In fact, in some ways it's much worse than when I first moved to the CBD but then again changes in certain types of retail as well as shopping habits are world-wide phenomena.

 

Grocery shopping's not as good as it used to be (no more Court Street Market, Tony Sparto's fruits and veggies; no more Cape Cod fish market).  BUT we still have Avril's Meats.  There are some quirkier small businesses cropping up here and there that I hope can hang on until there are more neighbors around.  Once these hundreds of residential units are completed and filled around me, I'm sure things will change for the better as far as truly useful types of small businesses go.  Even as it is, it's still a LOT more convenient living where I do than living in the suburbs -- or even in OTR.  I can easily walk to the bank, drugstore, library, post office, hardware store, riverfront parks, Macy's and Saks, hair salon, a new wine shop on Main Street (Corkopolis), the Taft and Aronoff theaters, CAC, and of course I can easily walk to countless bars and restaurants.  I hardly ever use the car and once the streetcar's operational I'll use it even less. 

 

It would be great if there were businesses like furniture stores again downtown.  I miss places like Bankhart's luggage store and M. Hopple stationery and cards.  Thankfully Bromwell's is still here but Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Streets were lined with many useful small businesses of that sort decades ago so I hope there will be a rebirth before too long -- I'm old so I'm anxious to see it happen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just confirming...

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/07/13/longtime-mens-clothier-closes-downtown-cincinnati.html

 

"Huntington Bank, which leases about 50,000 square feet of office space in the building, is moving its second-level bank branch to the former Jos. A. Bank space. Huntington is expected to be in the street level space by the beginning of October."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you that the easiest way to get more retail (and hopefully a future grocery store) downtown is with more residents.  Pretty much every existing apartment complex downtown is 90-95+% full and every new complex that comes open is filling up immediately.  Like mentioned there are several hundred units in the process of being built right now but they honestly need to build more now while the demand is there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That comes back to the entire families thing though. Grocers want to sell the big sizes rather than the small ones that you have to pay workers to stock and display. And they want to sell money-dense things like meats for grilling out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ But aren't both grocery stores going to both extremes? And in general, isn't all retail getting "squeezed in the middle"? You either go super-huge/low-cost or you go super-specialized. Kroger could run their big box, low-cost supercenters in the suburbs, and put small, premium Fresh Fare stores in urban neighborhoods. We will never have an Old Navy downtown, but OTR is overflowing with boutique clothing shops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Urban areas do get the boutiques. But it seems like people aren't thinking of them when they complain about the lack of shopping. I live (for the nest week or so) half a block from the Grandview Strip where there are nearly 80 businesses. They are so boutiqued that I only patronize 2 restaurants/bars out of the 80 businesses. And I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't been over a year since I've been to them. I used to go to the hobby shop a lot but then I quit R/C. Granted, I probably would spend more time on the strip if I was home more than 2 daytime hours a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Urban areas do get the boutiques. But it seems like people aren't thinking of them when they complain about the lack of shopping. I live (for the nest week or so) half a block from the Grandview Strip where there are nearly 80 businesses. They are so boutiqued that I only patronize 2 restaurants/bars out of the 80 businesses. And I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't been over a year since I've been to them. I used to go to the hobby shop a lot but then I quit R/C. Granted, I probably would spend more time on the strip if I was home more than 2 daytime hours a week.

 

Had to look up "Grandview Strip"... looks like an interesting retail destination, GCrites80s[/member]!

HQ0z90ZezDE8w4mqc0u6NclIVRR9Ivx-wcq1_pP5RtWFzpMxtM0fdfpmS3IV0yfu9C-dF_EHCXswYw=w755-h458-no

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say that Columbus has more of those types of live/work/play spaces in its CBD, but Columbus' CBD is over twice the size of Cincinnati's and we don't have an OTR to pull people away from the CBD. The Arena District is NOT fully separate from the CBD, rather a part of it.

 

Yeah, Columbus's CBD is weird.  What I really consider "downtown" (e.g., Broad and High) doesn't seem like it has a lot going on in the evenings, but the Arena District is hopping.  It seems far away when you think of how compact the CBD is down here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are several hundreds of apartments being built within 2 blocks of where I live in the CBD.  Some are already up and running (Seventh and Broadway), some under construction (Sycamore and Eighth, the 580 Building) and condos are planned for Eighth and Main.  After living downtown for decades I can say it's been my experience that services beyond restaurants/bars and parks have been very slow to develop.  In fact, in some ways it's much worse than when I first moved to the CBD but then again changes in certain types of retail as well as shopping habits are world-wide phenomena.

 

Grocery shopping's not as good as it used to be (no more Court Street Market, Tony Sparto's fruits and veggies; no more Cape Cod fish market).  BUT we still have Avril's Meats.  There are some quirkier small businesses cropping up here and there that I hope can hang on until there are more neighbors around.  Once these hundreds of residential units are completed and filled around me, I'm sure things will change for the better as far as truly useful types of small businesses go.  Even as it is, it's still a LOT more convenient living where I do than living in the suburbs -- or even in OTR.  I can easily walk to the bank, drugstore, library, post office, hardware store, riverfront parks, Macy's and Saks, hair salon, a new wine shop on Main Street (Corkopolis), the Taft and Aronoff theaters, CAC, and of course I can easily walk to countless bars and restaurants.  I hardly ever use the car and once the streetcar's operational I'll use it even less. 

 

It would be great if there were businesses like furniture stores again downtown.  I miss places like Bankhart's luggage store and M. Hopple stationery and cards.  Thankfully Bromwell's is still here but Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Streets were lined with many useful small businesses of that sort decades ago so I hope there will be a rebirth before too long -- I'm old so I'm anxious to see it happen!

 

We bought our new dining room chairs and bar stools at Algin.  Love that store. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Yeah, Algin's a fine store.  However, there used to be HUGE furniture sections in downtown department stores like Shillito's, Pogue's and McAlpin's.  The best upscale furniture store in the region was down here too -- Closson's, which also featured an art gallery headed by the late Phyllis Weston.  There were art galleries on W. 4th Street owned by Carl Solway, Toni Birckhead, and others.  And there was an Algin-like store on W. 4th Street called Contemporary Galleries that had several floors full of furnishings.  There even used to be an appliance/electronics store on Walnut where Nicholson's is now, called Steinberg's.  There were a couple of other fabric/window treatment/upholstery stores besides The Mill End, which is the only one remaining (and which wants to sell its building).  And of course there were all sorts of places to buy apparel.  There were several movie theaters down here too, which was really great.  Baby Boomers moving to the suburbs as their children reached school age changed everything and resulted in the proliferation of suburban malls, which really hurt downtown.  Now, shopping habits are undergoing another generational change because of Millennials.  And this is good for downtowns, at least for now.  I wonder if they'll also head for the suburbs when they have school-age children?  I suspect some won't since the environment is much more kid friendly than it was 30 years ago. 

 

I moved downtown just when it approached the cusp of changing from a bustling business district and began its slow but steady decline, not unlike in many other cities' CBDs.  The Aronoff Center For The Performing Arts ushered in the turnaround that's finally picking up steam today.  It really is an exciting time.  But I do miss the old days in some ways.  Downtown's an entertainment hub now -- back then it was a hub for much more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say that Columbus has more of those types of live/work/play spaces in its CBD, but Columbus' CBD is over twice the size of Cincinnati's and we don't have an OTR to pull people away from the CBD. The Arena District is NOT fully separate from the CBD, rather a part of it.

 

Yeah, Columbus's CBD is weird.  What I really consider "downtown" (e.g., Broad and High) doesn't seem like it has a lot going on in the evenings, but the Arena District is hopping.  It seems far away when you think of how compact the CBD is down here. 

 

Think of the Arena District as the original "The Banks" (a district built around sports facilities).  It's on the edge of downtown Columbus, much like The Banks is for downtown Cincinnati.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Construction of a GreatClips is underway at 128 E 4th Street (Merchantile Center).


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plum St, south of McFarland has had its sidewalk repaired over the past few days. They replaced the tile with brick that hopefully will last longer and hold up better than the old tile.

 

The grout/mortar between the tiles was looking pretty worn before, so I'm glad to see the sidewalk repairs... but (sorry if I'm becoming a broken record on this point) I'd really like to see sidewalk repairs/maintenance coordinated so that any scarce funds can be directed towards strategic streetscape upgrades that improve the usability of our streets. If the money needed to be spent on Plum, this stretch of street is way wider than necessary: 50' wide street with onstreet parking leaves ~34' for just 2 lanes of traffic, giving each lane ~17' of width. So it'd be a good candidate to return some of the ROW to widen the sidewalks and/or add bumpouts at intersections. I know that moving curbs would be *much* more expensive than simply replacing the tiles with brick, but it just feels like a waste to put money towards improving the sidewalk on a street that doesn't have the right dimensions/design. I would rather the City leave the old tile in place, and pool money towards projects that can actually improve the usability of the streetscape.

 

New treatment:

JG1U9ro3ooP3aITmVVn7p40nDLCoMrpTsx_FyFPMTu6vf2NP2ekN2bDh2YkveXl6KQ_dqfs_0XZoHQ=w813-h1084-no

 

Under construction:

oFslLLl_syuuXBVyRyaxAfrnkPd6PeRcURv_EvvgFUk10W42KURKCP0rftcbL_5pTeWoIPQCr98cGA=w813-h1084-no

 

Old tiles (still in place north of McFarland):

_HBeX_16rg3AoVL0d0QZoQT9_HjRWz4T6WpL4ErVeTc0gAnqUJtw3p0mp2M7KNvuAuHCBmxWTGqDgw=w813-h1084-no

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ But aren't both grocery stores going to both extremes? And in general, isn't all retail getting "squeezed in the middle"? You either go super-huge/low-cost or you go super-specialized. Kroger could run their big box, low-cost supercenters in the suburbs, and put small, premium Fresh Fare stores in urban neighborhoods. We will never have an Old Navy downtown, but OTR is overflowing with boutique clothing shops.

Sort of like Heinen's for Downtown Cleveland. They typically built grocery stores in suburban areas and took a chance to build an urban full service grocery store inside of an old bank building (beautiful btw). Anyway I saw someone use the chicken or the egg situation and seeing Heinen's take a chance in Downtown Cleveland means to me that you have to find a grocer that believes in the potential of your downtown and see the longterm vision. Downtown Cleveland has about 14,000 residents and growing, not the ideal 20-25K you see thrown around and the grocery store is a hit with residents. Now having around 90-100K workers downtown helps but the point stands, Cincinnati needs to find a grocer that see's the bigger picture. Good luck!

 

Edit: Just realized I'm talking in an urban forum so you know all of this DUH! lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the reason we are seeing a few one-off streetscape projects happening downtown right now is that next year is downtown & OTR's street repaving year. They are doing a lot of gas line replacement work on Main between 12th and Liberty in anticipation of the entire streetscape being redone & street being repaved next year. They may be doing streetscapes now on blocks in the CBD where they know the street's going to be repaved next spring/summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ But aren't both grocery stores going to both extremes? And in general, isn't all retail getting "squeezed in the middle"? You either go super-huge/low-cost or you go super-specialized. Kroger could run their big box, low-cost supercenters in the suburbs, and put small, premium Fresh Fare stores in urban neighborhoods. We will never have an Old Navy downtown, but OTR is overflowing with boutique clothing shops.

Sort of like Heinen's for Downtown Cleveland. They typically built grocery stores in suburban areas and took a chance to build an urban full service grocery store inside of an old bank building (beautiful btw). Anyway I saw someone use the chicken or the egg situation and seeing Heinen's take a chance in Downtown Cleveland means to me that you have to find a grocer that believes in the potential of your downtown and see the longterm vision. Downtown Cleveland has about 14,000 residents and growing, not the ideal 20-25K you see thrown around and the grocery store is a hit with residents. Now having around 90-100K workers downtown helps but the point stands, Cincinnati needs to find a grocer that see's the bigger picture. Good luck!

 

Edit: Just realized I'm talking in an urban forum so you know all of this DUH! lol

 

The problem with saying "Cincinnati needs to find a grocer that sees the bigger picture" is that we're the HQ of Kroger. If Trader Joe's or Whole Foods wanted to open a downtown store, I bet Kroger would pull some strings and the city would find a way to delay their permits, etc. However, I would be absolutely delighted if a City Target or urban format Walmarts with a full grocery section opened in the shadow of Kroger's corporate headquarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is more than just good news. It is great news. It is also something that I have long wanted to see happen in cincinnati. Hopefully some of those employees will decide to live downtown or over the rhine, or even other close-in neighborhoods like Walnut Hills. Our corporate community seems to talk a lot about how great downtown and over the rhine are / have become, and I know they use that as a selling factor for prospective employees, but it seems like none have moved their offices into the basin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe it's a net wash when it comes to the City of Cincinnati because I believe they're shuffling people from the northern part of the city, but I'm also excited about the influx of workers downtown.  I just hope something happens at their old location.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lived in Cincy for 8 years;  moved from the Northeast.  While I continue to be an advocate of the city and am certainly pleased by some of the positive momentum of the urban core, when I visit other comparable cities, it hits me sometimes how slow Cincy really is. I certainly am not going to compare Cincy to northeastern cities or larger cities like Chicago.  but in visiting C-bus this past weekend, I was absoultely amazed how deveoped their downtown is and how there is a crane on almost every surface lot with new condos/rentals popping up everywhere.  Ifeel like it takes Cinc forever to move on things and we spin our wheels like crazy.  Cincy has such natural/ingerrant gifts and therefore I like the potential and the turnaround in OTR is remarkable but I still cant help the thought thaturban core renewals are happening everywhere and ours actually doesnt feel as special as it could be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I have been travelling to downtown Columbus multiple times per month for over ten years, and I don't really agree with your observation that it is developing faster.  The Columbus downtown is pretty dead compared to Cincy and seems to be improving at a slower pace than downtown Cincy.  Just my observation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe it's a net wash when it comes to the City of Cincinnati because I believe they're shuffling people from the northern part of the city, but I'm also excited about the influx of workers downtown.  I just hope something happens at their old location.

the net gain occurs if the two buildings get sold and another company occupies them.  Also, we really need the city to incentive transit options and not just parking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree with Bengal.  I think Columbus' downtown never feels like it has a lot of synergy. There are literally parking lots everywhere and doesn't seem to have the big city feel to it.  I've always thought it's almost felt suburban at times compared to Cincy.  When I'm in downtown Cincy, it feels like it is a much larger, populated city to me.  But that's just my perception and I may be a bit biased...  I like both cities for their own unique qualities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe it's a net wash when it comes to the City of Cincinnati because I believe they're shuffling people from the northern part of the city, but I'm also excited about the influx of workers downtown.  I just hope something happens at their old location.

 

a net wash in terms of workers inside the city, but hopefully a net gain in the number of people going out to eat, or choosing to live close to work in the basin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though this is completely off-topic, I'd just like to remind folks that "Downtown Columbus" is massive and has sections that are vibrant and sections that are not. 

 

*Arena District is certainly vibrant, day or night

*North Market District is certainly vibrant, especially at night

*Discovery District is exploding in growth (condo units; yuppie boxes; grocery store; etc)

*Capitol Square is dead past 5pm but that's typical of downtown office building centers (see anywhere in downtown Cincinnati east of Walnut after 5pm)

*RiverSouth is the emerging "new baby" (much like Cincinnati's The Banks) with exploding growth as well

*Franklin East is a lovely residential district (like, say, Cincinnati's Garfield Place/Piatt Park)

*East Broad is a hot mess/parking lot central

 

So yeah, it depends of what part of downtown Columbus you are discussing.  As a whole, there are several mini-downtowns within downtown Columbus and depending on which one you're in, you'll either be disappointed or you'll be elated. 


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And don't forget not all of downtown Cincy is vibrant either.

The Banks is most active during game days.

Fountain Square and east downtown during the day and weekends.

Downtown west of Race is the biggest dead spot next to the parking lots off Eggleston.

 

Also regarding tower cranes and parking lots, most of the development in Cincy's CBD & OTR is historic rehab. Projects like 4th and Walnut, 4th and Plum and 309 Vine are big projects and we'll never see a tower crane for those.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the grand scheme of things, Cincinnati's downtown is quite solid in that there's not much in the way of surface parking lots compared to what you see elsewhere.  Sure it's not 100% building, but it's better than a lot of similar sized cities.  So Columbus may need all that construction, tower cranes, etc., just to catch up, while Cincinnati rests on its laurels.  Of course, that's dangerous as Columbus (similar to Nashville and many sunbelt cities) builds momentum and can easily rocket ahead of Cincinnati.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nashville has a very different "downtown" than Cincinnati's.  It is much more entertainment focused and has far fewer office jobs, perhaps half as many.  So it has more for visitors, but is not a serious center of business activity. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's add Coca Cola to the list of companies moving downtown. :-)  It looks like about 60 people or so.

 

"Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest beverage company, is moving at least some of its local operations to downtown Cincinnati from Blue Ash.

 

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) signed a long-term lease for nearly 14,000 square feet of space in the Center of 600 Vine. The company will occupy a large portion of the third floor in the downtown office tower. The space has been vacant for several years."

 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/08/16/exclusive-coca-cola-moving-local-operations-to.html?ana=fbk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the grand scheme of things, Cincinnati's downtown is quite solid in that there's not much in the way of surface parking lots compared to what you see elsewhere.  Sure it's not 100% building, but it's better than a lot of similar sized cities.  So Columbus may need all that construction, tower cranes, etc., just to catch up, while Cincinnati rests on its laurels.  Of course, that's dangerous as Columbus (similar to Nashville and many sunbelt cities) builds momentum and can easily rocket ahead of Cincinnati.

 

Cincy is sooo compact. Makes for actual street canyons in a midwest city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the grand scheme of things, Cincinnati's downtown is quite solid in that there's not much in the way of surface parking lots compared to what you see elsewhere.  Sure it's not 100% building, but it's better than a lot of similar sized cities.  So Columbus may need all that construction, tower cranes, etc., just to catch up, while Cincinnati rests on its laurels.  Of course, that's dangerous as Columbus (similar to Nashville and many sunbelt cities) builds momentum and can easily rocket ahead of Cincinnati.

Hmmm, Cincinnati's downtown... What this should encompass has long been a contentious point of disagreement between the 3-Cs. As it stands, both Cleveland and Columbus can justifiably brag about how much larger in area their downtowns are than that of Cincinnati. Yet whenever Cincinnati advocates include OTR and Pendleton, etc, in any residential headcount, the other two cities almost always object.  So, keeping this in mind, two revealing sets of stats contrasting two downtowns:

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/04/22/how-much-has-the-population-grown-in-cincinnati-s.html

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2016/07/26/state-of-downtown-columbus-population-nearing-8k.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't know what world you're seeing but in reality, the other 2C's do not "object" to OTR/Pendleton as part of downtown Cincinnati; Cincinnatians object to it as they are quite absolute about neighborhood boundaries (see OTR vs. Pendleton).  I don't think anyone outside of I-275 cares what Cincinnati calls "downtown." 


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I don't know what world you're seeing but in reality, the other 2C's do not "object" to OTR/Pendleton as part of downtown Cincinnati; Cincinnatians object to it as they are quite absolute about neighborhood boundaries (see OTR vs. Pendleton).  I don't think anyone outside of I-275 cares what Cincinnati calls "downtown." 

Let's just say that on a competing urban centered web site, I've learned the hard way to tip toe lightly when comparing downtown population stats - and, especially so concerning Cincinnati vs. Cleveland.  They talk about 14,000, we talk about 16,000 - but in a downtown maybe half their size.  Somebody always get mad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...