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Cincinnati: Downtown: 84.51°

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Two downtown towers in works

Eagle Realty details plans for Fifth, Race

 

The latest plans for the long-dormant Fifth and Race development site downtown include more parking, less retail, the retention of a nationally known leasing agent and a pair of future towers for offices or housing.

 

"Our intention is to build the structure to support additional towers above the retail and parking. We'd like to have a tower at Fifth and Race and a tower at Sixth and Race," said Mario San Marco, president of Eagle Realty Group, a real estate subsidiary of the downtown-based Western & Southern Financial Group.

 

Eagle has been pursuing a retail project at Fifth and Race for more than a decade. But this is the first time the company has publicly discussed plans for twin towers at the roughly 2-acre site one block west of Fountain Square. San Marco would not provide additional details on the twin towers, saying their timing and size would depend on market conditions.

 

Read full article here:

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2007/03/05/tidbits1.html

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..Well, what about it?

 

To me, one of the things that makes downtown Cincinnati special is the amazing denisity. So, I;m curious about the story on the parking lot along 5th Street, west of Race, across from Saks and the Hyatt.

 

I recall this was the site of a low-rise modernist building that was connected to the skywalk, and the skywalk level had a bunch of smaller restraunts and fast food places, so the place must've been pretty active during weekday lunchtime. Ground floor I dont recall much of, but it seemed to be pretty much rented out, too.

 

So, why was this building torn down, and not replaced? One would think this would be a good site for a new building.

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Guest Cincinnatus

It is a long story. The 14-story 5th and Race Tower was demolished after a lot of wrangling and opposition from businesses that didn't want to be displaced to make way for a department store. It was going to be a Nordstrom at one point, but they backed out despite the fact that the city offered them a $50 million subsidy. At another point Mercantile Stores which was headquartered in Cincinnati and owned McAlpin's was going to build a store there, but they were bought out by Dillard's which closed the McAlpin's and built nothing downtown. Now it is controlled by Eagle Realty, a division of Western-Southern Life Insurance, which was supposed to build some sort of pathetic 2-story commercial structure, but apparently they can't get enough tenants (I'm guessing).

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Thanks Cincinnatus,

 

Actually the concept sounds sort of neat...you could stroll the skywalk from Lazarus to Nordstroms to Saks then to that little shopping mall in the Carew Tower complex, and back to Lazarus (or more likely start at the shopping mall as thats where the parking is)...sort of a shopping loop.

 

In retrospect, yes, I do agree with richNcincy that they should have kept the original building, but the orginal concept sounded like a fun shopping experience.

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It was replaced because the City had contracted with Nordstrom to build a new department store. After 9/11 Nordstrom reigned in its expansion and cancelled both the downtown location and the Deerfield location (NE suburbs). Now there is a giant empty hole. Western/Southern, the same group that is building Queen City Square applied for a building permit to start construction on a new lifestyle center for downtown. They shopped it around at the ICSC convention in Las Vegas. The project generated little interest but Western/Southern blames the 3CDC for holding up the project. Face it, there are no tenants. Also, Western/Southern is supposed to be building pads into the project to support office towers in the future.

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Western/Southern' date=' the same group that is building Queen City Square applied for a building permit to start construction on a new lifestyle center for downtown.[/quote']

 

Isn't downtown already a large, true lifestyle center? Its bad enough that all these fake "downtowns" are popping up all over in the burbs, but now they want to build one in a true urban setting?

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Western/Southern' date=' the same group that is building Queen City Square applied for a building permit to start construction on a new lifestyle center for downtown.[/quote']

 

Isn't downtown already a large, true lifestyle center? Its bad enough that all these fake "downtowns" are popping up all over in the burbs, but now they want to build one in a true urban setting?

 

:clap: amen, my friend!

 

the day i see a "lifestyle center" either built as one or advertised as one in a central city, i shall become irate beyond words.

 

thank you.

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I couldn't agree more about the lifestyle center discussion. It is good to be here at UrbanOhio. I didn't know there were so many other people that like the same things I do... I look forward to much spirited discussion in the future.

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...what exactley is a lifestyle center? I understand this to be a shopping center, but what makes it different from a normal shopping center and why would it be bad or inappopriate for a downtown?

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Lifestyle Center: Most often located near affluent residential neighborhoods, this center type caters to the retail needs and “lifestyle” pursuits of consumers in its trading area. It has an open-air configuration and typically includes at least 50,000 sf of space occupied by upscale national chain specialty stores. Other elements help make the lifestyle center serve as a multi-purpose leisure-time destination, including: restaurants and entertainment; design ambience and amenities such as fountains and street furniture that are conducive to casual browsing; and often one or more conventional or fashion specialty department stores as anchors.

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..thanks...sounds like that would be great for a downtown, especially if they are one-of-a-kind specialty stores..the only ones in the area. I think there is a bit of that going on in the Lazarus building, with Tiffanys and Brooks Brothers on the ground floor.

...I guess Cincy already has something like this, tho, in that Rookwood shopping center by the Joseph-Beth bookstore.

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There was an article in today's Enquirer business section about Eagle Realty Group (i.e. Western Southern's development arm) looking to unload the Sixth and Race Apts./Walgreens. Apparently they want to cut loose small projects/properties and focus on bigger ones. They say that it's just too difficult for a concern as large as theirs to manage so small of a project.

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some people on this site may have noticed my opposition to norwood on this site (some may not have) but jeffs comment is exactly what I've been trying to show. if norwood gets all the good businesses than they already have a store in the area and won't move to the downtown. this is why having a city in a city is killing our downtown. if it's about city pride than it's time they realize the only thing stopping them from being true cincinnatians is that they won't annex and they could be proud of cincy downtown then once it starts to develop but as long as places like norwood intercept all of our passes the downtown's going to suck a*% and norwood will continue to tear down homes so they can slowly become rookwoodville. everybody could be winning here but I guess we'd all rather stand divided and conquered.

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You know, we're not the only city on Earth that has another city that it completely surrounds with dozens of other smaller cities scattered on the fringe--some that have been here nearly as long as Cincinnati and have their own unique identities.

 

Other cities have this as well. Other cities succeed despite of it. Still others don't.

 

The days of downtown being the place where everything goes is long over.

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I believe some of the facts stated up there are slightly off. Here's what I know from memory:

 

McAlpin's closed in 1996, with plans to build a new store at 5th & Race (similarly, Lazarus closed around 1992 and reopened at 5th & Vine in 1997. That deal actually worked out more or less as planned, sans the earlier tower proposal for that site.). McAlpin's was bought out soon after by Dillard's and Dillard's had no interest in building a new downtown store. Shortly thereafter what was called the Renfro-Frasier plan was formulated and a Maisson-Blanche department store signed an agreement to build at 5th & Race. The R-F plan also included a Nordstrom's at 3rd and Race, as well as a Newport-on-the-Lamey-type development south of Ft. Washington Way. Then-mayor Roxanne Qualls decried it as "malling the riverfront", and that part of the plan was scrapped, but the city nevertheless moved to demolish the 5th & Race Tower. It was torn down in 1999; in the meantime the M-Blanche store deal fell through. Then Nordstrom, who they had already been courting for 3rd & Race, was then offered 5th & Race. They signed an agreement in the summer of 2000, then the deal (along with a deal for a downtown store in Pittsburgh) fell through the day before Thanksgiving of that year. The terrorist attacks (still a year away), the overall economic climate, and the actions of Cincinnati city council had nothing to do with it. Nordstrom was given somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million in tax incentives (highly controversial) to build in downtown Cincinnati. I don't know how much more you can do than that. Obviously they had stretched themselves too thin with expansion. Meanwhile, there was a planned suburban Nordstrom's in Deerfield which was not cancelled until a few months later -- just another chance for downtown-haters to hate downtown.

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Guest Cincinnatus

No, that is not correct. Lazarus didn't close the 7th street store until they moved into the Fountain Place store. That part of jmecklenborg's post is incorrect, but the rest sounds right. It was a complicated mess.

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I don't understand putting an aquarium where you could walk(across the purple people bridge) to another aquarium. they should start putting things that compliment existing destinations whether in cincy or covington/newport then people would spend more in the whole area instead of picking which to spend on in a quarter mile distance of each other. I personally think we need a better "destination" to draw people downtown anyway. maybe a kings island south. like a mini PKI adjacent to downtown...and enclosed so it could stay open all year! or six flags should buy concey...that would be cool and all we'd have to do is widen Rt. 50 to handle east west traffic to make up for the increase. but I guess such things would never happen ( that comment has nothing to do with 5th and vine sorry) but places like 5th and race/5th and vine are right in the downtown. I totally think they should be reserved for more urban structures so more business is in one area and that would motivate business aimed stores like kinkos software stores and lunch places to move in thus increasing the entire area. why do our cityplanners not try such things.....we should really take a lesson from newport.

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>No, that is not correct. Lazarus didn't close the 7th street store until they moved into the Fountain Place store. That part of jmecklenborg's post is incorrect, but the rest sounds right. It was a complicated mess.

 

I thought I read once that it closed for several years but I will take your word for it. I want to also clarify the last comment I made, about the Deerfield Township Nordstrom's. That store was announced, or perhaps it was announced that a proposed Deerfield mall developer was merely persuing Nordstrom's, in the midst of the controversy over Cincinnati's downtown Nordstrom's tax incentive package. This automatically made Cincinnati city council's development efforts, as usual, look silly in the minds of suburbanites, when in fact the suburban store was probably less likely to happen, and that a huge tax incentive package was no doubt in the works up north. Either way, I remember being turned off to the whole thing mostly because I had never been to a Norstrom's store until this past spring, the one in Atlanta. I was definitely impressed and if I could afford it could see myself shopping there regularly. It was only after visiting one that I realized what a huge asset it would have been.

 

Personally I wish that City Council and whatever developer that is in charge would continue to court a high-end department store like Nordstrom. That downtown would be helped overnight by the presence of more high-end retail I believe is an understatement. To use that perfect site for condos or office space, while by no means a tragedy, would leave that area of downtown without an obvious spot for a department store. And since there is more or less no other area with a retail concentration downtown, any new dept store would be isolated. Perhaps one of the two lots at 7th & Vine could become a department store, but otherwise there are no obvious spots near Fountain Sqaure.

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>No, that is not correct. Lazarus didn't close the 7th street store until they moved into the Fountain Place store. That part of jmecklenborg's post is incorrect, but the rest sounds right. It was a complicated mess.

 

I thought I read once that it closed for several years but I will take your word for it. I want to also clarify the last comment I made, about the Deerfield Township Nordstrom's. That store was announced, or perhaps it was announced that a proposed Deerfield mall developer was merely persuing Nordstrom's, in the midst of the controversy over Cincinnati's downtown Nordstrom's tax incentive package. This automatically made Cincinnati city council's development efforts, as usual, look silly in the minds of suburbanites, when in fact the suburban store was probably less likely to happen, and that a huge tax incentive package was no doubt in the works up north. Either way, I remember being turned off to the whole thing mostly because I had never been to a Norstrom's store until this past spring, the one in Atlanta. I was definitely impressed and if I could afford it could see myself shopping there regularly. It was only after visiting one that I realized what a huge asset it would have been.

 

Personally I wish that City Council and whatever developer that is in charge would continue to court a high-end department store like Nordstrom. That downtown would be helped overnight by the presence of more high-end retail I believe is an understatement. To use that perfect site for condos or office space, while by no means a tragedy, would leave that area of downtown without an obvious spot for a department store. And since there is more or less no other area with a retail concentration downtown, any new dept store would be isolated. Perhaps one of the two lots at 7th & Vine could become a department store, but otherwise there are no obvious spots near Fountain Sqaure.

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Monte' date=' are you serious? Another aquarium?[/quote']

 

Come on guys, I said 5th and Vine. I meant old renderings. Before the Newport Aquarium, it was offered to Cincinnati as part of a megacomplex on 5th and Vine where Lazarus currently stands.

 

No they are not proposing a new one.

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Guest Cincinnatus

I don't think I ever saw a rendering of the aquarium idea. There were some ideas of what a wintergarden in Fountain Place would look like. It was vaguely like the glass atrium at the Schuster Center in Dayton or the Westin Atrium (but with trees and flowers). Several corporations pledged contributions towards it, but they didn't get as much as they needed and abandoned the idea.

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