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Cincinnati: State of Downtown

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The Chiquita Center Columbia Tower renovates lobby:

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/02/13/columbia-plaza-shows-off-multimillion-dollar.html#g/429133/1

 

 

This building originally had an abstract fiberglass sculpture in the fountain.  It was exiled to Pyramid Hill about ten years ago.  I predict an eventual Metrobot-type comeback. 

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I don’t know if this is the right place to talk about this...

 

But what will it take for Cincinnati to become more diverse? I feel when I’m in the cbd on a week day, it’s probably 3/4th African American.

 

I’ve been in a lot of cities like Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, etc. bigger cities I guess.

 

In cincy I feel like it’s rare for any diversity and if there is diversity it’s mainly restricted to a small section of otr nowadays.

 

Gay, black, white, Asian, Latino, etc. would just love to see more color in the city.

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The sections that you see the most diversity are the ones that are already re developed. I think once you see more development and more people living downtown it will be more diversified. Even 5-6 years ago there wasn’t that much diversification downtown that there is today.

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I don’t know if this is the right place to talk about this...

 

But what will it take for Cincinnati to become more diverse? I feel when I’m in the cbd on a week day, it’s probably 3/4th African American.

 

I’ve been in a lot of cities like Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, etc. bigger cities I guess.

 

In cincy I feel like it’s rare for any diversity and if there is diversity it’s mainly restricted to a small section of otr nowadays.

 

Gay, black, white, Asian, Latino, etc. would just love to see more color in the city.

 

Actually, you know what is pretty diverse by Cincinnati standards? The crowds at Kenwood mall. I guess there's something to say there about how downtown isn't really an economic crossroads like it was last century, but Kenwood has filled that role with the ongoing collapse/consolidation of brick and mortar retail.

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Attracting immigrants is the most realistic way to substantially boost diversity. Perhaps the only realistic way. UC bringing in more foreign students, and becoming a more global university generally, would help a little. Any Ohio city is at a disadvantage, given the state's geographical position. But Columbus and Dayton seem to be doing better at attracting immigrants than Cincinnati, so maybe there are some lessons those cities can teach. Still, no Ohio city is very diverse.

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Attracting immigrants is the most realistic way to substantially boost diversity. Perhaps the only realistic way. UC bringing in more foreign students, and becoming a more global university generally, would help a little. Any Ohio city is at a disadvantage, given the state's geographical position. But Columbus and Dayton seem to be doing better at attracting immigrants than Cincinnati, so maybe there are some lessons those cities can teach. Still, no Ohio city is very diverse.

 

although Ohio isn't that diverse overall, it's incorrect to say "no city is very diverse." As a matter of fact, a Cincinnati suburb, Springdale, is ranked no. 1 in diversity, and Painesville is close behind in 2nd place, by a fraction of a point, proof that diversity is not necessarily found only in large cities. That said, there are states with dozens of cities and towns with scores in the 80's (some even in the 90's). If anyone wants to check the listings for 200 Ohio cities (or to compare other states; for example, NYC's score is 84.8 ), go to Hometownlocator.com and click the "Diversity Index" selection  https://ohio.hometownlocator.com/census/sorted-demographics.cfm

 

39763633375_03d56ed06a_c.jpg

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^ "diversity is not necessarily found only in large cities"

 

In fact, it's easier to obtain in smaller cities, as your list indicates. I know 'city' has a specific definition, which includes Springdale and Painesville, but I wasn't intending to include anything in the state that isn't the primary municipality in its own MSA.

 

Regardless, the 200th most-diverse city in CA and the 59th most-diverse city in NJ score higher than the 1st most-diverse city in OH, which I think illustrates my point. If we rule out non-MSA-center cities, it looks worse. I wouldn't call the 60s (or even 70s) on that index "very high."

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^well, I remember reading that the diversity score for the US overall is about 60--and I imagine for Ohio it's a lot lower--so for a city to receive a 75 is certainly good. But I'm not sure what you mean by the point that diversity is "easier to obtain in smaller cities," since the scores are based on census data (unless you think census results are somehow rigged or faulty--ha ha. Confession: I worked on the 2010 census, so they probably are. lol). And yes, I made the point that other states have cities & towns with much higher diversity, as you pointed out. However, maybe it is unfair to compare small towns to big cities. Below is a link to the Esri diversity map (upon which I believe the Hometownlocator results are based) from 2010, and if you zoom into specific neighborhoods of various cities, you'll find far higher scores than is reflected in the overall city score. Even for Painesville, my old 'hood is 79. And I can see that the west side of Cleveland has much higher scores than the east side (probably because of greater Latino population--I think).

 

http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?layers=2bf88a04f82d499a8a635040ab5e423e

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The reason I say it's easier for a smaller city is because a smaller number of people constitutes a larger percentage. A diverse population of a small city can easily be assembled from the existing population within a metro area (if a sizable chunk of a metro's Latinos, for example, groups into one municipality in a region (which is fairly normal), even in a region with primarily black & white residents, then that municipality gets a moderately high diversity rating). Whereas to boost the rating for a large city, you have to draw people from outside the metro to shift the percentages significantly.

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The reason I say it's easier for a smaller city is because a smaller number of people constitutes a larger percentage. A diverse population of a small city can easily be assembled from the existing population within a metro area (if a sizable chunk of a metro's Latinos, for example, groups into one municipality in a region (which is fairly normal), even in a region with primarily black & white residents, then that municipality gets a moderately high diversity rating). Whereas to boost the rating for a large city, you have to draw people from outside the metro to shift the percentages significantly.

 

what?  You make it sound like diversity exists in a small town as the result of a social experiment in which some demographer persuaded a bunch of people of different races to see what it would be like to live together. Why don't the same factors that increase diversity in a large city apply to a small one? Diversity occurs from a variety of reasons, not by some calculated scheme to "draw people from the outside."

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I think all Robuu is trying to say is that looking at a small, arbitrarily defined area (let's face it, city boundaries in the US are pretty arbitrary) can cause some issues with interpreting data. Everyone complains about how sprawly Columbus is, but if you were to arbitrarily only look at the High Street corridor, you'd see a much different picture with respect to density. The same thing can happen with small towns. If you look at a small town, having one or two nonwhite families can make that one town look very diverse, and percentage wise it is, but if you look across the entire metro, that one nonwhite family may not make as significant of a difference.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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I think all Robuu is trying to say is that looking at a small, arbitrarily defined area (let's face it, city boundaries in the US are pretty arbitrary) can cause some issues with interpreting data. Everyone complains about how sprawly Columbus is, but if you were to arbitrarily only look at the High Street corridor, you'd see a much different picture with respect to density. The same thing can happen with small towns. If you look at a small town, having one or two nonwhite families can make that one town look very diverse, and percentage wise it is, but if you look across the entire metro, that one nonwhite family may not make as significant of a difference.

 

Okay, we're not talking about "one or two nonwhite families" in either Springdale or Painesville. Both towns have thousands of people (believe it or not!), but the same metrics (if that's the correct term) apply when determining diversity, regardless of the population. I don't know what you mean by "arbitrarily defined area," as if a city can change its boundaries at whim--wtf? There are no "issues" with interpreting data. The same formula is being used to calculate the diversity score for a city of any size. It just seems that you and Robuu don't want to admit that there is more diversity in two small towns (plus in mrnyc's Lorain ;)) than there is in the largest cities of Ohio. I predict (mark my words) that when the next update comes out, Painesville will be #1 on the list. Take that, 3-C's. lol

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But again, a significant concentration of people in a small geographic area doesn't make as huge of an effect across the entire metro area. That's not to diminish the effect of these cities in attracting diversity, but as a part of their respective metro regions, their localized diversity doesn't make much of a difference. The diversity in Painesville, as great as it is, doesn't help balance out the lack of diversity in North Ridgeville or Middleburg Heights. I think that's all that is being said here.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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The context of this discussion is the urban core of Cincinnati, so when I said "No Ohio city is very diverse," I was implicitly talking about cities that have at least loosely comparably sized urban cores to Cincinnati. And, yes, to increase the percentage of "gays, Asians, Latinos" (diversity as defined by troeros's post, which I was replying to), you need to "draw people in."

 

The rest of the discussion boils down to opinions of 1) what the threshold is for "very diverse" and 2) whether diversity of one small municipality in a non-diverse metro is significant in the present context. YMMV on those so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Where are the 1,554 condo units under construction mentioned in this article?  Number seems flat out wrong to me. Doesn’t seem to be that many total units including apartments under construction either. Maybe that many total units in planning stages (ie, including projects that may or may not get built?)

 

Downtown population ebbs, but may be set to surge with condo influx

 

https://cin.ci/2r2aDXz


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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I think they just mean residential units. No way there are 1500 condos.


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

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U.S. Bank plans to add 400 jobs in downtown Cincinnati

By Erin Caproni  – Digital Producer, Cincinnati Business Courier

 

 

 

U.S. Bank could add 400 jobs to its downtown Cincinnati operations.

 

The Minneapolis-based bank received approval for a 2.1 percent, 10-year tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority to create those jobs, which would create $19.2 million in annual payroll while retaining $160,683,000 in existing payroll.

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/04/30/u-s-bank-plans-to-add-400-jobs-in-downtown.html

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Expand its existing building?  Like add floors?  Or expand into more of that building?

I seriously doubt they would add floors to the existing US Bank tower downtown. That just seems like it'd be incredibly expensive and hard to justify. I think they're either expanding their lease to use more of the existing floors and/or renovating their current space to allow for more employees per floor.

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They also own other real estate in town. I believe they own the Power Building on 4th and Race so they could go there. They used to own the INgalls building and used that as space in the past too. There is nothing that says they cant lease space in another building either. Sounds like most of these jobs are operational and would likely go to class B space. I can imagine them putting them in the old First National Tower or maybe even Mercantile or the Huntington Bank building depending on the type of positions there are.

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Study: Cincinnati CBD has less vacant land than NYC

 

central-riverfront*1024xx734-413-0-52.jpg

 

Less than 3 percent of Cincinnati's Central Business District is undeveloped land, according to a recent study.

 

Conducted by real estate blog Commercial Cafe, the study used data from Yardi Matrix and PropertyShark, real estate data websites owned by parent company Yardi Systems, to analyze vacant land in the central business districts of the 25 largest cities in the nation. The report found 584 acres of vacant land across all 25 business districts. Undeveloped land in Cincinnati accounted for 2 percent of its total.

 

The Queen City was ranked the 12th most dense business district of all observed cities with more than 14.2 acres — roughly 620,000 square feet — of vacant development space. That's nearly twice the size of Washington Park.

 

Dallas reported the most development potential with more than 86 acres of vacant land, while Tampa, Fla. had the most dense central business district with just more than 6 acres of undeveloped space.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/05/25/study-cincinnati-cbd-has-less-vacant-land-than-nyc.html


"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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That study is bonkers. When Tampa and "most dense" are in a sentence together something must be hinky. What is the CBD in New York, do you pick downtown or midtown? Is it all of lower Manhattan or just the financial district? There is a 1000 foot plus tower going up on a 50' wide lot in the financial district, https://ny.curbed.com/2017/4/26/15436392/45-broad-supertall-cetraruddy-madison I think they have less developable land than us.

 

All that said, Cincinnati is more dense than most other midwestern and western US cities.

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The area considered to be "Midtown" (the area they used in the survey) is between 3 to 5.4 times greater (depending on what you count as the southern border of Midtown) than the area bound by Central Parkway, I-75, Eggleston, and the Ohio River. In absolute terms, even if we forget counting parking as "development" Midtown has WAY less undeveloped land per square mile.

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The Herschede building at 4 W Fourth St has sat vacant for the last decade, ever since it was bought by a NY-based investor around 2008, according to this article: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2018/07/12/history-sale-two-iconic-downtown-buildings-listed-sale/776388002/

 

Is there anything the City can do to penalize property owners for holding property vacant? It's a double drain on downtown life, because it a) robs the street of activity and b) indirectly raises rent on other building by reducing supply. Have other cities done anything innovative to combat landlords who just want to hold their properties vacant?

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The Herschede building at 4 W Fourth St has sat vacant for the last decade, ever since it was bought by a NY-based investor around 2008, according to this article: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/money/2018/07/12/history-sale-two-iconic-downtown-buildings-listed-sale/776388002/

 

Is there anything the City can do to penalize property owners for holding property vacant? It's a double drain on downtown life, because it a) robs the street of activity and b) indirectly raises rent on other building by reducing supply. Have other cities done anything innovative to combat landlords who just want to hold their properties vacant?

 

Philadelphia instituted a property tax overhaul that they call the Actual Value Initiative. Among other things, it transferred much of the taxable value of a property from the improvements to the underlying land. Not a true land value tax, but working toward that. It was supposed to make sitting on vacant and underutilized properties less appealing, especially downtown and in other high demand neighborhoods. It's only been a few years so I'm not sure there's a lot of data to show whether or not it has had an effect.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_tax

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That study is bonkers. When Tampa and "most dense" are in a sentence together something must be hinky. What is the CBD in New York, do you pick downtown or midtown? Is it all of lower Manhattan or just the financial district? There is a 1000 foot plus tower going up on a 50' wide lot in the financial district, https://ny.curbed.com/2017/4/26/15436392/45-broad-supertall-cetraruddy-madison I think they have less developable land than us.

 

All that said, Cincinnati is more dense than most other midwestern and western US cities.

 

Is that building density or population?

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If we wanna go into building who have been vacant and left basically abandon, look at 312 Race Street. Its the old Pogue warehouse building, prime real estate in the front of the city. Drury hotel group bought the building in 2003!. There is a 30 year tax abatement on the building, not sure how or why. 15 years have gone by since they purchased the building and nothing has been done. Its a shame because the building either needs to come down, or reworked.

 

Also attached I found an old proposal for the site that carries the Drury name.

street-view-002-red.thumb.jpg.eb0180aa6d3ee67846014fb43d5e893b.jpg

083-0001-0050-00.jpg.4ad8a84a618970a86200f4a16892188a.jpg

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The Nashville Convention Center just bought a piece of vacant land on an adjacent lot to park semi trailers for $190/sq foot.  That's well over double what land goes for in DT Cincinnati and OTR. 

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^^ That rendering confused the crap out of me because of the way they oriented the Carew Tower.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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^^ That rendering confused the crap out of me because of the way they oriented the Carew Tower.

 

My guess is that they only put the immediate buildings and that is the Omni Netherland (Hilton) hotel part and the person who drew that didnt realize that the Carew tower is an integral part. Or perhaps they did and from that specific view it is hidden? Still weird though

 

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So I’ve always been curious about this....I recently visited Nashville and Austin this past week with a few friends for a mini vacation.

 

These 2 cities are seemingly similar to the size of Cincy, but are experiencing way more construction and cranes everywhere.

 

Cincy seems like a much more stronger financial hub. We have (I believe) 9 Fortune 500 companies, which is less compare to what Nashville and Austin have.

 

Corporate giants like P&G/Kroger/Western and Southern/Fifth Third have a really strong corporate presence not just regionally but across America and beyond.

 

My question is, why isn’t Cincy experiencing this same massive boon, that these cities with less of a corporate presence are experiencing? There downtown is full of residences, and the streets are full of life and energy even on weekdays.

 

I feel like are urban core (aside from parts of otr) literally resemble a ghost town during certain hours of the week day.

 

I’m just curious why isn’t there the same level of interest from developers that other cities are experiencing? What is it about Cincy that make out of state developers pass on? I don’t get it...we are located between 2 other states, so we are sort of centrally located, and we have a strong corporate impact. Yet, development always seems about the same year in and year out.

 

I love this city, and think that there are so many things that make Cincy unique and incredible. At the same time, I feel like it’s equivelant to pulling teeth when it comes to actually getting sizeable new residential towers built.

 

While Nashville and Austin seemingly have towers sprouting left and right...I don’t get what Cincy is missing to not attract this level of development in our city?

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Because our Mayor sucks, and is completely unable or unwilling to articulate why investment in a strong urban core benefits the region and the neighborhoods.

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So Ive always been curious about this....I recently visited Nashville and Austin this past week with a few friends for a mini vacation.

 

These 2 cities are seemingly similar to the size of Cincy, but are experiencing way more construction and cranes everywhere.

 

Cincy seems like a much more stronger financial hub. We have (I believe) 9 Fortune 500 companies, which is less compare to what Nashville and Austin have.

 

Corporate giants like P&G/Kroger/Western and Southern/Fifth Third have a really strong corporate presence not just regionally but across America and beyond.

 

My question is, why isnt Cincy experiencing this same massive boon, that these cities with less of a corporate presence are experiencing? There downtown is full of residences, and the streets are full of life and energy even on weekdays.

 

I feel like are urban core (aside from parts of otr) literally resemble a ghost town during certain hours of the week day.

 

Im just curious why isnt there the same level of interest from developers that other cities are experiencing? What is it about Cincy that make out of state developers pass on? I dont get it...we are located between 2 other states, so we are sort of centrally located, and we have a strong corporate impact. Yet, development always seems about the same year in and year out.

 

I love this city, and think that there are so many things that make Cincy unique and incredible. At the same time, I feel like its equivelant to pulling teeth when it comes to actually getting sizeable new residential towers built.

 

While Nashville and Austin seemingly have towers sprouting left and right...I dont get what Cincy is missing to not attract this level of development in our city?

 

It is not as bad as you think. Yes both Nashville and Austin have more activity and Nashville always has over the last 30 years but there are certain things to consider.

 

1) Nashville Construction & Austin is all new whereas there is a ton of renovations of former vacant property in OTR and other areas to convert to living space. This does not get the same attention that a 30 story crane does.

2) Remember the areas outside of the tourist district of Nashville are dead too on the weekends. Walk up by the statehouse and in that area of downtown and there really is no activity.

3) Nashville has a better city/county government to help pool resoruces and dedicate them toward massive projects. Cincy was behind the curve on this and is finally starting to catch up.

4) Both Nashville and Austin while smaller are growing faster and thus getting more attention. Perception is 80% of the reason.

 

 

Certainly there should be and could be much more in Cincy than is happening but I don't think that any one party is to blame for this, a lot of it stems from things and decisions made 50 years ago or longer that predicate this. THings are happening though, some of it is under the radar

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I mean mayor Megan Barry was a pretty horrendous mayor who was forced out, but Nashville still experienced a construction boon regardless.

 

Developers are itching to be in those markets, but why?

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Developers are itching to be in those markets, but why?

Because they're popular places where young people are moving/want to move and they both have huge amounts of tourism. 

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Cincinnati is definitely more of a corporate town than Nashville or Austin. I'd much rather live in Cincinnati but it's easy to see them and say "How are they doing it?". Well, the popularity of country music is the big one of course which they built the tourism around.

 

Cincinnati will probably have a different type of tourism because there is only so much country music to go around and Austin and Nashville have a huge chunk of that. Cincinnati could probably do better on a lot of things and have PromoWest I think would have helped the music scene but would it have caused spin-off? I doubt that.

 

If the people behind the current music scene can keep growing it then we will get more of that but it won't be Austin or Nashville. The best thing that could happen for Cincinnati is to bring in as much jobs downtown as possible while at the same time pushing for smart growth and TOD growth, build out BRT lines and re-do metro. But currently our mayor doesn't want any of that and all he cares about is pleasing his people and its a massive hindrance to growth whether people want to believe it or not.

 

And I don't think the Mayor of Nashville was anti-everything city like Cranley. She actually proposed the massive mass transit proposal in Nashville.

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