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Cincinnati: Over-the-Rhine: Mercer Commons

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This could be way good.....

 

Condos, shops entertained for Over-the-Rhine

 

 

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By Ken Alltucker

The Cincinnati Enquirer

 

 

A week after the city of Cincinnati approved a deal to build 25 Vine Street condos next to the Kroger garage, two major companies unveiled a $25 million project Tuesday that could add another 100 condos and several shops to Over-the-Rhine.

 

Western & Southern Financial Group and PNC Bank say a combination of new and renovated housing and commercial space along Vine, Walnut and Mercer streets could spur even more development in the neighborhood north of downtown.

 

The new owner-occupied homes in Over-the-Rhine also could be an important step for a neighborhood saddled with decades of poverty and crime.

 

Although Western-Southern has spent more than $2 million to acquire 29 parcels spread over two blocks, both companies cautioned that tough economic and marketing details must be worked out before construction of Mercer Commons starts.

 

 

Read more here:

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/03/24/biz_westernsouthern24.html

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Hopefully this comes to fruition. Soon, there's going to be a lot of housing between Central Pkwy and 12th there in OTR.

 

I'm also glad to hear the city approved the condos attached to the Kroger garage.

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Guest Cincinnatus

OTR: Trying again

 

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By Barry M. Horstman

Post staff reporter

 

Today, the blocks at the heart of Over-the-Rhine epitomize the inner-city neighborhood's bleak realities and daunting challenges: abandoned buildings, weedy vacant lots, corners where drug dealers and hookers maneuver for prime spots, gaudily painted storefronts that have long been havens for various forms of illegal trade.

But to a handful of urban pioneer dreamers, the gritty 2½-acre tract could become the sparkling symbol of what Over-the-Rhine once was and hopes again to be: a vibrant, desirable neighborhood that is home to residents as diverse economically as they are demographically, a proud place people seek out -- not do their best to avoid.

 

The source of those dreams is Mercer Place, a proposed $25 million residential development that Over-the-Rhine leaders hope could become a catalyst that helps to dramatically expand the isolated pockets of progress seen in the troubled community over the past decade.

 

"It's a wonderful project with great potential to  spark other wonderful things,'' said Marge Hammelrath, director of the Over-the-Rhine Foundation and long one of the community's most visible activists.

 

"I never thought we'd get past the Findlay Market area in my lifetime, but we have. This would be another giant step forward. Many of us have been waiting for something like this for a long time.''

 

 

 

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i really like the sound of this project. i got an email last week regarding the urbanists meeting, but was unable to attend although i wanted to.

i wonder if there are any renderings floating around...

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You know, Western & Southern (for all the flak they get for being a corporate entity) has been one of the best corporate friends Cincy ever had. They've kept up buildings in the Lytle Park area, they are at the forefront of the QCS development, and they're paying the city back by helping with residential developments in an area where most moneyed entities wouldn't even bother to give a toss.

 

I know the idea of this came out weeks ago, but it's very good to hear it again. It means that it isn't fading into the great abyss like a lot of projects, and that there are still people who give a damn about this city (hello, Cincinnati Bell).

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Guest Cincinnatus

Western-Southern and PNC will both deserve credit if they do finance this proposal, but it might not happen. It sounds hopeful, but who knows what may transpire?

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I haven't heard anything about this in a long time.  I can't find any current information anywhere.

 

All I know that's new is that CPS voted to purchase a parcel of the property for the new Washington Park School.  So what's the deal here?

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Development IS happening -- it's creeping in around the Sycamore/Main/Clay area...I think Mr. Coffee is right, certain areas are too deep in the hood at the moment to be viable development opportunities....but barring any disasters, I think it WILL happen eventually.  For me the major questions are whether we'll do a good job preserving the endangered buildings, whether infill will be designed in character with the neighborhood, and whether we'll control gentrification enough that low income and lower middle class people will still have a place there.  Those are my biggest concerns.  Unfortunately the city doesn't seem to care too much about preservation, and they seem to think that ANY development is good development (i.e. the Gateway condos)

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OTR is so large there is plenty of room for all income levels...it will never be hyde park so the thought of gentrification of OTR is an oxymoron. The new gateway project, Art institute and various condo conversions going on now is the start of the rebirth of the area I believe. I am diehard preservationist as you can see from my previous posts. I believe that every contributing building still standing needs to be saved. There are a few non contributing buildings in OTR that I hope would disappear from the landscape..The Medcenter on liberty, KFC, Shell station, free store foodbank and the newest eyesore the cell tower north of liberty at Walnut.. How the Hell did that get put there???!! The church steeples used to be the highest point in the sky and now there is an ugly cell tower ruining the historical skyline. I am thinking that maybe calling or  emailing  people like Moll from urban sites in other cities and tell them about the urban stock we are waiting for them to bring back to life might be something we all can do.

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Although I'm not sure I agree with your perspective on gentrification, I am TOTALLY with you on the preservation side of things.  It's good to know that someone else out there sees the value in preserving EVERY contributing building.

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Oh, and the Medcenter is absolutely freaking hideous.  It makes me sick every time I think about what they probably tore down to put that thing up.  Haven't seen the cell tower yet, and I'm not sure I want to.

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It seems to me that a lot of time preservation requires gentrification. Do you think someone will put millions into a building to restore and preserve it and then continue charging rock-bottom rents?

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More on eyesores... I drive or walk past the freestore foodbank everyday and that mess they make on the ground is so nasty that I have called keep cincinnati beautiful to make them aware of that problem and people who trash the Nati. I don't care whose property it is they need to keep it clean looks like the aftermath of a tsunami on an almost  daily basis. 

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Whoever the planners were that advocated demolition and "urban renewal" back in the day should be...I don't know, the opposite of martyrs or something.

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Bad comparison.  Lamamer Square was never as bad as Over-The-Rhine.  Now, Fells Point in Baltimore WAS as bad (if not worse) and that came back and came back strong.  Hopefully, we use Fells Point as an example.


"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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The wharf aspect adds a lot to Fells Point. Also, the buildings are considerably smaller, making it is easier for one person to convert one into a single-family home.  And the metro population is much greater with housing prices that compel people to rehab downtrodden areas.

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Larimer Square in Denver is only about two blocks long and one wide. Very cool retail spot, but size-wise is nothing compared to OTR.

 

Fair enough, here is a pic I took over the summer:

 

original.jpg

 

 

Great pic, OTR is coming along well.

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Main Street in OTR is pretty much just as cool looking as the strip in that pic.  And if Larimer Square is only a couple blocks long, OTR totally has it beat.

 

Have you guys seen this quote?

 

"In all of America, there is no more promising an urban area for revitalization than your own Over-the-Rhine. When I look at that remarkably untouched, expansive section of architecturally uniform structures, unmarred by clashing modern structures, I see in my mind the possibility for a revived district that literally could rival similar prosperous and heavily visited areas."

 

-Arthur Frommer, renowned travel writer

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When my brother stays with me (Downtown) I have to drive him to school around 9 (UC) and my primary route is naturally Vine St. Today I made this particular trip and was solicited drugs in my car 3 times LOL. I HAAAATE stopping at red lights there, it is probably the most active area of streetlife in the city though on the plus side lol.  When I read this in the beginning I had thought wow, why would anyone be so daring as to make a project there. I mean it would be FANTASTIC as its a grand gateway to the city with beautiful architecture, but making it inhabitable is going to be a long complicated project. Everytime I make the drive through there I pee my pants at how cool the buildings are.

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Yes taking Vine is an exciting experience, I got the courage up to WALK alll the way up vine st from central parkway to mulberry st right where it climbs the hill,  It is a totally different experience walking than driving...you see little things that architectually blows your mind!!  my favorite area and of course the most dangerous, so I have never walked it is REpublic street. I probably say the same thing over and over, lol but  it takes you back in time, then you hear a thumping caprice...

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3CDC buying OTR block

BY LISA BERNARD-KUHN | LBERNARD@ENQUIRER.COM

OVER-THE-RHINE – A plan that could deliver new commercial space and rehabbed apartments to Mercer Commons – a site long targeted for redevelopment – is inching forward.

 

Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), the city of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools are working out the details of a purchase agreement for the property – which is bound by 13th, 14th, Vine and Walnut streets, said Steve Leeper, 3CDC executive director.

 

The site, which is now owned by CPS, was the 2003 target for a $25 million housing redevelopment planned by Western & Southern Financial Group.

 

That plan was sidelined after the school district asked Western & Southern to sell it the property in 2005 as a potential site to replace Washington Park School. However, a declining population of school children in the neighborhood led CPS to cancel that plan.

 

Leeper wouldn’t give a sale price, although officials at the non-profit development group said in the spring they had offered $4.2 million for the property.

 

The new proposal calls for the city of Cincinnati to purchase the property, then sell the site to 3CDC. “The city has the ability to implement development strategies, which makes them much more flexible,” versus buying directly from the schools, Leeper said.

 

...

 

Preliminary plans for the site would include market rate and affordable rental units, along with some commercial space, Leeper said.

 

“Ideally, we would like to begin in the early part of the next calendar year,” he said.

Meanwhile, 3CDC and other developers in Cincinnati recently learned that a tool for financing historic rehab projects has been placed back on the books in Ohio.

 

Read more here:

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080610/BIZ01/306100062

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Am I reading this wrong? 

 

So they are demoing essentially the whole block?  Some of those look good enough for 3CDC's scope like the 1st phase of Gateway.  Especially the 8 on Walnut.  That will be a shame to loose most of these.

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This is good news

No, this is great news.  Look at the development, all the way up Vine and now 3 buildings on Main and this connects the two.  This now puts 3CDC on Race, Vine, Walnut and Main (and pleasant, republic and the cross streets).  Now if we can just go north of Liberty.

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