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Cincinnati: Over-the-Rhine: Mercer Commons

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Anyone interested in an Urban Ohio tour of Gateway?  If I can pull together 10 or 15 (or more) people then we will provide lunch and get you through some buildings and units that aren't even on the market yet.  Just let me know and we can figure out a date that is good for everyone.

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I will see if I can get us into the Main Street buildings on the tour, we couldn't even do that on the blogger tour a few months ago. Drywall was delivered yesterday so there is now something to see.  Just PM me and then I will figure out a date with everyone and get it coordinated with the Q.

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Yea I think it will go North of Liberty...it's just a matter of time.  That streetcar will help that very wish come true;) but the whole area by Schwartz's Point is sweet looking and there's plenty of cool looking buildings to keep.

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^There actually were plans drawn up in the 1930's for a "Race St. Viaduct" that would have demolished most of that area.  Basically it was an effort to allow a direct connection between southbound Vine St. and Race, which was at the time being converted to one-way.  It would have diverged from Vine at Robert A's Curve Cafe, passed above Clifton, and touched down on Race right around Findlay Market. 

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Am I reading this wrong? 

 

So they are demoing essentially the whole block?

 

They'll be rehabbing those structures without a doubt.  3CDC has done nothing to show that they are interested in tearing down historic structures for "progress."  Their idea of "progress" so far has been to rehab beautiful historic structures in a high-quality fashion.  Look for this to continue down the road.

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3CDC nears deal for Mercer Commons in Over-the-Rhine

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2008/06/09/daily32.html

 

The city of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools are closing in on a deal for the city to purchase property in Over-the-Rhine known as Mercer Commons.

 

The 2.2 acre site was assembled by a development subsidiary of Western & Southern Financial Group for a housing redevelopment. Cincinnati Public Schools bought the property in 2005 with plans to build a new school on the land. But those plans were scuttled because the district determined the new school wasn't needed there.

 

Now the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., the nonprofit development agency known as 3CDC, has been urging the city to purchase the property from CPS so that 3CDC can develop the site as part of its work to revitalize Over-the-Rhine. The site stretches from 13th Street to 14th Street and from Vine Street to Walnut Street.

 

 

 

Click the above link for the rest of the article.

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Sounds like CPS is done standing in the way of progress in OTR. I hope they stick with their new attitude.

 

3CDC has really done a bang-up job down there, here's to them continuing their good work. ...

 

 

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Does 3CDC own "Wielerts" on Vine St. ?  plans?  great big space on main floor - perfect for restaurant/bar/club I'd think.    and put me down for Q (or any other letter) tour. 

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Sounds like CPS is done standing in the way of progress in OTR. I hope they stick with their new attitude.

 

3CDC has really done a bang-up job down there, here's to them continuing their good work. ...

 

Here is what we almost lost due to 3cdc and Cps back in 05.

My opinion of 3cdc has changed but it was scary that we almost lost so many buildings.. 22 to be exact..

 

1329 Walnut

1333 Walnut

1335 Walnut

1339 Walnut

1341 Walnut (2 blgs)

1349-55 Walnut (3blg?)

17 Mercer

19 Mercer

23-25 Mercer

27 Mercer

18, 20, 24 Mercer

26 Mercer

25 E. 14th St.

11 E. 14th (not owned by schools)

1317 Walnut (front and rear blgs)

1313 Walnut

 

CPS Waste Of Money

 

Reported and Web Produced by:

Laure Quinlivan

Photographed by: Phil Drechsler

Updated: 11/06/05 22:20:46

 

(Carol)

 

CINCINNATI SCHOOL SCHOOLS MAY BE WASTING MILLIONS OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS. THE CHANNEL 9 I-TEAM INVESTIGATES A RECENT PURCHASE BY CPS THAT'S PART OF ITS BILLION DOLLAR SCHOOL-BUILDING PROGRAM.

 

(Clyde)

 

CRITICS ASKED THE I-TEAM TO INVESTIGATE THE CPS PLAN THEY CLAIM IS BAD FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD, BAD FOR KIDS, AND BAD FOR TAXPAYERS.

 

(Laure on set)

 

WE FOUND CPS STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS DIDN'T DO THEIR HOMEWORK BEFORE APPROVING THIS DEAL. IT'S THE BRAINCHILD OF THE NONPROFIT GROUP RE-DOING FOUNTAIN SQUARE…CINCINNATI CENTER CITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, BETTER KNOWN AS 3CDC.

 

BONG  I love that bong sound..

 

(nat)

 

ELEMENTARY STUDENTS AT WASHINGTON PARK SCHOOL WILL GET A NEW BUILDING SOON, (nat) BUT NOT ON THE SOUTH END OF THE PARK WHERE CONSTRUCTION WAS PLANNED. SUPPORTERS OF THE SCHOOL FOR CREATIVE AND PERFORMING ARTS WANTED THIS PRIME LOCATION CLOSE TO MUSIC HALL, AND GOT 3CDC TO HELP THEM GET IT.

 

(Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) "A number of corporate and private funders that are putting…there is over $30 million dollars of private money going into the school for performing arts."

 

3CDC PROMISED THEY'D FIND A NEW LOCATION FOR WASHINGTON PARK SCHOOL, SOUTH OF LIBERTY STREET AS CPS REQUESTED. HERE IT IS…THIS BLOCK OF EMPTY BUILDINGS ON WALNUT & MERCER, KNOWN AS MERCER COMMONS.

 

(Ty Provosty, OTR Resident) "This has all been done behind back doors, without public communication. Why would anyone want to stay in this city if this is the way things are?"

 

ARCHITECT TY PROVOSTY HAS LIVED IN OVER THE RHINE 21 YEARS, IN THIS HISTORIC HOME HE RENOVATED HIMSELF. HIS CHILDREN WENT TO CPS SCHOOLS. HE SAYS MERCER COMMONS IS NOT SAFE FOR SCHOOLKIDS.

 

(Ty Provosty, OTR Resident)"What they're thinking of doing with the children is unbelievable."

 

(Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) "What do you mean the safety of that location?

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "It's the worst crime area in all the city."

 

(Steve Leeper) "I would not say that that's the fact."

 

POLICE RECORDS SHOW IT IS THE FACT.

 

IN A RECENT 6 MONTH PERIOD, THE POLICE REPORTING AREA THAT INCLUDES MERCER COMMONS HAD 224 PART ONE CRIMES --SERIOUS VIOLENT CRIMES. IT'S MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE WASHINGTON PARK AREA….AND FIVE TIMES AS DANGEROUS AS THE ROTHENBERG LOCATION WHERE RESIDENTS WANT TO PUT THE NEW SCHOOL.

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "So this really is safer? (Ty Provosty, OTR Resident) It's much safer."

 

PROVOSTY SAYS ROTHENBERG IS SITTING EMPTY. BUILT OF SOLID STONE IN 1913, HE CALLS IT AN HISTORIC TREASURE THAT SHOULD BE RENOVATED.

 

(Ty Provosty) "The amazing frieze with hand-carved gargoyles." (Laure) Wow."

 

HE SAYS ROTHENBERG CAN HOLD 650 STUDENTS AND HAS ROOM TO ADD PARKING AND GREEN SPACE. IT'S IN A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD, CLOSE TO MULBERRY HILL, ACROSS THE STREET FROM A CITY-OWNED BASKETBALL COURT AND PLAYGROUND. THERE'S EVEN A VIEW.

 

(Ty Provosty) "It's a nice view of downtown."

 

PRESERVATIONISTS SAY RENOVATING ROTHENBERG PREVENTS THIS.

 

(nat sound demolition  ) DESTROYING THE NEIGHBORHOOD,.

 

(Ken Jones, Architect & OTR Resident) "Mercer Commons basically are all these historic buildings. There's 22 historic buildings, represents a whole block face, in this case which, if this plan goes through, will be torn down."

 

SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT FRANCES NEWELL. 

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "Do you have any concern about that?"

 

(Frances Newell, CPS Board President) "I have to honestly say I don't have any concern about historic buildings, I know that's not the politically correct response, my concern is about providing buildings for our children today"

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "You live in a beautiful historic home. Are you concerned that this Mercer Commons site is going to entail tearing down 22 buildings most of them historic buildings?"

 

(Melanie Bates, CPS Board Member) "It's retrospective and we've made our decision and I stand behind the board decision, but that is not something that came up at the time."

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter)

 

ANOTHER THING THAT DIDN'T COME UP AT THE TIME THEY VOTED, WAS SOMETHING PRETTY BASIC-- THE TOTAL COST OF BUILDING HERE. BOARD MEMBERS APPROVED BUYING THE BUILDINGS, WITHOUT COST ESTIMATES FOR DEMOLITION, FOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS AND FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING THAT HAS TO BE DONE HERE.

 

 

RENOVATING HERE WOULD COST A LOT LESS.

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "If they changed their mind and did what you want, renovate Rothenberg, How much money would that save taxpayers?"

 

(Ty Provosty, OTR Resident) "According to our estimates they would save between 8 and 10 million dollars."

THAT'S WORTH DISCUSSING. BUT CPS STALLED OUR REQUEST TO INTERVIEW SUPERINTENDENT ROSA BLACKWELL FOR MORE THAN A MONTH…WE FINALLY JUST SHOWED UP.

 

(security guard) "You cannot come down here, you are going to have to go there." (Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "I'd just like to ask a question of the superintendent before the board meeting starts.

 

WE TRIED THE OTHER SIDE, BUT SECURITY BLOCKED US AGAIN.

 

(Laure Quinlivan) "What do I have to do to talk to the superintendent?"

 

WE WANT TO KNOW WHY CPS PAID 3.9 MILLION FOR THE MERCER COMMONS BUILDINGS, WHEN PUBLISHED REPORTS SAY THE SAME BUILDINGS SOLD A COUPLE YEARS AGO FOR 2.2 MILLION.

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "You paid almost double what the buildings went for just a couple years before. Why did you do that? (Frances Newell, CPS Board President) Well two things. One, I think it's hard to determine how much a building is worth."

 

NOT REALLY.

 

(Graphic )

 

THAT'S WHY YOU GET APPRAISALS. ALL THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS WE TALKED TO GET APPRAISALS BEFORE BUYING PROPERTY…BATAVIA SAID 'ABSOLUTELY'. WAYNE SAYS IT'S 'THE PRUDENT THING TO DO…" AND WILLIAMSBURG SAID "APPRAISALS ENSURE UTILIZING TAXPAYER MONEY RESPONSIBLY."

 

THE I-TEAM LEARNED CPS USUALLY GETS APPRAISALS, BUT FOR THESE 22 MERCER COMMONS BUILDINGS…CPS DID NOT.

 

(Ty Provosty, OTR Resident) "I think it's irresponsible."

 

CPS BOUGHT THE BUILDINGS FROM JOHN BARRETT, CHAIRMAN OF WESTERN & SOUTHERN, AN EXECUTIVE WHO'S ALSO A 3CDC BOARD MEMBER.

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "You recommend this site. This was your number one recommendation, right? (Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) Yes. (Laure Quinlivan) Then it just so happens to be owned by a 3cdc board members, doesn't that put you in a sort of conflict of interest kind of perception, anyway? (Steve Leeper) Probably everything we do, you could make that argument about Fountain Square. You know we're doing Fountain Square and it happens to be in a 3cdc board members front door. I would say that is not the most ideal situation, on the other hand, they didn't want to sell the site."

 

LEEPER SAYS HE TALKED JOHN BARRETT INTO SELLING TO CPS --AT COST.

 

(Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) "He agreed to sell it at cost he incurred on the property."

 

(Ken Jones, Architect & OTR Resident) "They sold it to the school board for $4 million claiming that's the amount of money they had in it. Well that may be what they had in it, but it didn't add anything to the value of these buildings, so in my estimation the school board paid more than it's worth."

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "Do you think you overpaid for the buildings today?" (Frances Newell, CPS Board President) "Um, in dollars and cents, the answer would be yes."

 

(Nat)

 

 

OVER THE RHINE RESIDENT WALTER REINHAUS GIVES ODD JOBS TO NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS…HE WANTS CPS TO DO WHAT'S BEST FOR KIDS.

 

(Walter Reinhaus, OTR Comm. Council) "To do this right CPS has got to involve more voices that just 3cdc and they haven't been, especially since they decided to not pursue fixing up Rothenberg."

 

RESIDENTS HAVE MADE THEIR CASE TO CPS…

 

(Ty Provosty at CPS meeting) "We're talking about taking 22 buildings most of which are housing and demolishing them."

 

BUT CLAIM THEY GET NO RESPONSE.

 

(Laure Quinlivan, I-Team Reporter) "We've heard from a CPS Board member that it's a done deal. Is it too late to change?" (Ty Provosty, OTR Resident) "It's absolutely not too late."

 

EVEN 3CDC AGREES WITH THAT.

 

(Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) "Blame us for a bad recommendation and blame CPS for making a bad choice…I think this all goes away if the school board decides that they don't, and it's only the school board decision, if they don't want to use the property, let's get it developed for residential purposes."

 

BONG

 

(Laure on set)

 

LEEPER SAYS 3CDC WILL HELP FIND A DEVELOPER TO BUY THE BUILDINGS AND CREATE HOUSING, IF CPS WANTS TO RENOVATE ROTHENBERG. RESIDENTS WOULD BE THRILLED. THEY SAY HOMEOWNERSHIP IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE SAFETY.

 

(Clyde)

 

MAYBE WESTERN & SOUTHERN WOULD BUY THEM BACK?

 

(Laure)

 

 

I TALKED WITH JOHN BARRETT ON THE PHONE ABOUT THAT. HE SAYS HE'D TALK WITH COLLEAGUES AND CONSIDER IT, BUT CPS HAS NOT APPROACHED HIM ABOUT IT.

 

(Carol) ANY WORD FROM CPS ON THIS?

 

(LAURE)

 

NO, BUT THERE'S A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING TOMORROW NIGHT AND RESIDENTS MAY ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS. MAYBE NOW THEY'LL GET A RESPONSE. AND REMEMBER, TUESDAY IS ELECTION DAY-- SOME BOARD MEMBERS MAY BE OUT OF A JOB BY THEN.

 

 

 

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^ So they had originally planned to demolish those structures? Seems strange to me....

 

Did 3CDC change their operating plan in the last couple of years, or did they just think those buildings were too far gone?

 

Not disputing you, but it's hard to believe that they went from a Modernist city planning philosophy (get rid of blight, open spaces, blah blah blah) to a more urbanist philosophy in such a short span of time.

 

Any organization that had planned to raize 22 buildings in a neighborhood listed in the national register of historic places should be put on the US terrorist watch list....

 

Good thing they didn't act on such a lapse in judgement..

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^ 3CDC was not the organization that was going to tear down the properties.  Cincinnati Public Schools wanted to tear them down to build a new school.  That plan changed (build a new school there) and now 3CDC wants to step in and develop them.

 

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Does 3CDC own "Wielerts" on Vine St. ? plans? great big space on main floor - perfect for restaurant/bar/club I'd think. and put me down for Q (or any other letter) tour.  

 

yes....they acquired it in the early part of this year.

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3CDC was not the organization that was going to tear down the properties.

 

They did reccommend the site for CPS.

 

3CDC PROMISED THEY'D FIND A NEW LOCATION FOR WASHINGTON PARK SCHOOL, SOUTH OF LIBERTY STREET AS CPS REQUESTED. HERE IT IS…THIS BLOCK OF EMPTY BUILDINGS ON WALNUT & MERCER, KNOWN AS MERCER COMMONS.

 

 

(Steve Leeper, 3CDC CEO) "Blame us for a bad recommendation and blame CPS for making a bad choice

 

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^it will be a parking garage.  That space is also owned by Model.

 

uuhhh, is it atleast going to be fronted with retail.  Or can we assume this to be true?

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and even a parking lot is better than a big red chicken barn

True.  :)

 

Dont know if I agree.  ha.  But come on, where are your people's standards.  We want the best for our communities.  Let the suburbs have the 'this is better than a cornfield' mentality.  we can do better.  YES WE CAN!  Gobama :) 

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