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Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop

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I'm glad investment is occuring in the neighborhood, but I'd like to see it happen more organically, if that makes any sense.

 

It makes total sense.  But it is difficult for planners accomplish.  In theory, they know that supporting theses unique businesses is the best way to grow an urban neighborhood, but in reality it is easier to tear it all down and build new.

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This story kind of got lost, but it's great news!  Old St. George will not be torn down!  From the 12/3/05 Enquirer:

 

 

PHOTO: The historic Old St. George church building has been bought.  The Enquirer/Meggan Booker

 

Historic church saved from demolition

Redevelopment group buys Old St. George

By Allen Howard

Enquirer staff writer

 

CLIFTON HEIGHTS - A 132-year-old church in Clifton Heights has been saved from the wrecking ball by a nonprofit development group.

 

Faced with the prospect of the landmark Old St. George being razed and replaced by a Walgreens, the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. is buying the church for $1.6 million.

 

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051203/NEWS01/512030394/1056

 

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i just cant image what would drive anyone to think that a building such as that should be torn down....now matter what the circumstances.  this is good news indeed.  lets just hope they can find a good use for it. 

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Calhoun st should have only had the fast food chain and gas stations demolished. Everything else "inn the wood, acropolis chili etc should have remained and development should have been built next to them. It seems so sterile and suburban up there now. I have lost interst in walking this part of cincinnati and it's a shame. I have alot of good memories up there though as do many others Im sure.

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Come on, sterile & suburban?  How is it more suburban than surface lots and drive through chain fast food?  I understand that some people are unhappy by the demolition of two staples in the area but the area is far more urban than it was before.  It is just less gritty.  Grit doesn't equate to urban.

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Yes it is less gritty .. and less diverse.  It is uniform in ownership, setback, store type, window size and brick color = boring.  Planners and architects have a fundemental misunderstanding of what makes a city fun.  No matter how hard they try, they will not be able to recreate a place like In-the-Wood.  First rule: do no harm.

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^ so what in your mind (refering to the "suburban" discussion) is the difference between the Calhoun street project and the Macy's or Saks dowtown...or any major dowtown retailer for that matter?  If you hate them both then i understand...but i see little difference between them.  Also, i dont really understand how you can call a place "suburban" based on the retailers target demographic.  Urban is Urban is Urban. Sure it looks like crap but i think thats taking it a little far.

 

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>Also, i dont really understand how you can call a place "suburban" based on the retailers target demographic.  Urban is Urban is Urban. Sure it looks like crap but i think thats taking it a little far.

 

Well a big part of suburbanizing urban areas is the use of caricatures of older styles and bright colors to create a sense of safety and fun.  Theme parks and suburban shopping plazas do this all the time.  The purpose of atria and arcades (such as the Hyatt and Westin atriums, but not the Carew Tower's arcade) is to create a utopian space -- safe, festive, climate controlled, even tropical.  As much of that sense as possible is translated to building exteriors and streetscapes, although the climate obviously can't be controlled.  Even if a person hasn't been to the McMillan/Calhoun area, the purpose of these large-scale developments is for them to be familiar.  That's the whole problem with urban redevelopment in the US today, especially anything that involves entertainment -- they present uniqueness in familiar ways and people lap it up because they have been programmed to think that way. 

     

Cincinnati faces the perpetual problem that it has no physical image in pop culture's consciousness.  So people visit and they don't know how to react to it because there's no established way to react.  UC and its surrounding area is an intense area which no doubt intimidates many people on college visits to UC.  It's hilly, it's got intimidating architecture, streets are relatively narrow, and it's got black people.  I think the area disorients and intimidates many visitors because they are from rural areas, southern cities, or new suburbs.  When I lived in Tennessee, driving into Cincinnati was solidly different from anything that exists down there.  Repeatedly, people from down there reported how intimidating or "surreal" Cincinnati was.  This is all because downtown, the UC area, Walnut Hills, Price Hill, etc. are pockets of what barely exists anymore in the US percentage-wise.  It used to be the dominant urban type but it is no longer. 

 

 

 

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wait, Inn the Wood is gone?  where the heck am I going to get my potato, cheese and veggie log?!
It's a huge pile of rubble now, kinda reminds me of the scene in the 1st terminator movie after the nuclear war with the robots smashing the bones. I would assume most UC alumni are going to be peed when they see it gone.

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Good points I didn't realize it before but pop culture does influence my thoughts of an area and of what to expect.  Pop culture helps create a sureality and Cincinnati doesn't have a pop culture identity, good stuff.

^^The way retailers are currently being treated a sense of identity will be hard to create.

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From the 12/31/05 Enquirer:

 

 

PHOTO: Alan Fischli walks through part of the Old St. George church where he, as caretaker, and most of the furnishing will be staying while the new owners decide what to do with the building.  The Enquirer/Tony Jones

 

PHOTO: Old St. George on Calhoun Street is changing hands Sunday. A community development corporation bought the building and saved it from being razed to make way for a Walgreens.  The Enquirer/Tony Jones

 

New era for Old St. George

New owners lay claim to historic building

By Allen Howard

Enquirer staff writer

 

CLIFTON HEIGHTS - As the last piece of furniture leaves Old St. George church today, workers will begin painting the front entrance foyer - the beginning of a massive restoration program for the 132-year-old building which could take two years.

 

The renovation meant the church and community gathering spot had to be emptied, and that has caused sadness and some concern among the many organizations that used the building in recent years.

 

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051231/NEWS01/512310349/1056/rss02

 

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It was stated a little earlier in the topic that developments in today's US cities are large, bright, and 'familiar'.  This is true you can look at the rebirth of Times Square (or even NYC as a whole), Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Columbus, Cleveland, Chicago....the list goes on.  It is very true that many of these projects (especially if not thought out) have a negative impact on the area it is located.  But there are many glorious examples of how US cities have redefined themselves and areas within them from the Mob-controlled, crime ridden, dirty, congested places that the populous fled in the first place.  It is progress in the American urban form it will be decided down the road whether it is for the good or bad.  I feel that so far so good.......we have lost some gems of the past, but there are many more gems just like that......Our society is defining who we are today.....be it homogenized yuppies, clean freaks, safety conscience, or penny pinchers this is what are society is.

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  It is progress in the American urban form it will be decided down the road whether it is for the good or bad.  I feel that so far so good.......we have lost some gems of the past, but there are many more gems just like that......

 

The Nati,

Character can NOT be Designed...character cannot be built...character cannot be planned...character must be lived in, character is a feeling, character shows everyone that a place is different from another place. For you to say that some gems have been lost, and that is ok?...i am confused the quote in your profile...a slightly hippocritical statement....The NATI...This beautiful building should not be torn down so that a cookie-cutter wallgreens can be put up, or for that matter, it shouldn't be torn down so that a beautiful new school, or apartment complex, or police station could be put up.....most historical buildings are historical for a reason...i think you know, THE NATI, how i feel about the McMillan project...so losing any more historical buildings for what i think is a lost cause, seems wrong to me....There are NO gems like this one left in cincy....

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I appreciate your input UCPlanner.  However, my quote is not hypocritical....I say history should be celebrated.  The bldgs. torn down (vast majority fast food restaurants & and 1 or 2 row houses) did not hold historical significance.  Old St. George Church and Corryville Catholic Elementary School do.  If they were to present a plan that wanted these structures torn down then I would be very much opposed.  Those row houses that were torn down can be found not only all over Cincy (OTR, West End, Northside, Avondale, Walnut Hills, East End, Price Hill, Lower Price Hill, etc.) but much of the country (East Coast, Midwest, & some Western cities).

 

These new bldgs. may not be the best options, but we rarely get any ideal situation that we yearn for in life.  These bldgs. will have their own character someday....that comes with time, not historical significance.  How many people do you know who freqeunt OTR, Downtown, Clifton, or wherever say they love that they spend time and money there because of the historically significant bldgs.  They go there because of the destinations and the people.

 

History should be celebrated......Never replicated!!!

Change is good (do not live in the past)

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I think we can agree that a wallgreens will NEVER have the character that old St. George has...That is what i am trying to say. The new development on calhoun st. will someday have character. But the semi-suburban, homoginized, retail and apartments already built would not have the character that 15 seperately developed buildings would have. The building is enormous and doesn't have a human scale. . . you walk down that street and feel like you are standing in the middle of moscow...expecially with all of the vacancies. . . i think someone has already stated a lot of this, so i will no go on any further. I look at the stetson square project on MLK...another project that UC had sponsored, and you see, dynamic architecture. . . beautiful buildings. . . .why was the detail not paid at University Park???.....it seems like a much more important development....doesn't it??

 

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"But the semi-suburban, homoginized, retail and apartments already built would not have the character that 15 seperately developed buildings would have"

 

Very good point.  This is really the only issue I have with this project.  The building is just way to big.  If was just half the size it is right now, with the same architectural detailing, im not sure it would be bothering any of us as much.  Even still, half the current size is too big. 

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Has anyone else noticed how great chicago gyros new windows look. Or Baba budans new new place (the old bearcat cafe) The area has allot of promise, to bad no new stores have started to go into the building on Calhoun, that UC built maybee once they start getting some rent from stores their they can actually start the rest of the condos that need to be built. Also has everyone noticed that people are actually buying the condos on Jefferson i think they are going for upwards of 300k.

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Building outside the box

The University of Cincinnati joins with community and business associations to revitalize the off campus area

Michael Rovito

Posted: 3/9/06

The piles of rubble lying between Calhoun Street and McMillan Avenue may be eyesores to passersby right now, but sacrificing old buildings, some that were once staples of college life in Cincinnati, are part of a greater plan.

 

Students at the University of Cincinnati have witnessed the beginnings of major redevelopment in the area in the past five years. But what they and many neighborhood residents may not understand is the university's involvement with the revitalization of the region.

"I think it will be great once it's done," she said.

 

Just down the street, Travis Brinkman, the owner of the 31-year-old Chicago Gyros restaurant, agreed that the redevelopment is bettering the neighborhood but said increased security is lacking.

 

"The problem is it's bringing more people up and they're not bringing more police or security," Brinkman said.

 

He also said that along with a surge of people to the area, crime rates go up, and panhandlers become a problem.

 

Brinkman said there are 10 to 12 panhandlers who hang around on his stretch of McMillan Avenue and said the police know about them, but do nothing.

 

But overall, as a business owner, Brinkman sees what UC and their business and community partners, do as a step forward in Clifton Heights. All that is left besides increased police presence, he said, is more parking for the influx of pedestrians going to area businesses.

 

"You can't try to increase business and get more people up here if there is no place to park," Brinkman said.

 

The Future

 

Work on the McMillan Park across from campus is scheduled to begin in December. The development will be built where an eminent domain battle raged for many months, pitting local restaurants Inn the Wood and Acropolis Chili and another property owner Clif Cor Co., against the city. The restaurants lost that case, and the way was paved for UC and its partners to plan out and put into motion the next phase of redevelopment.

 

But the university's influence does go beyond the immediate campus area. A project that Dale McGirr, the vice president of Off Campus Planning and Community Development, has nicknamed "The River to the Zoo," has the university extending its tentacles in all directions in an effort to, as McGirr said in a Feb. 22 News Record article, "have a broad interest in this whole urban center."

 

That interest is so broad that projects in the Findlay Market district of Over-the-Rhine and even the troubled Banks project between the stadiums on the Ohio River are being discussed and planned by faculty from UC and business and community associations in the city.

 

Also, Short Vine, the site of a weekend shooting death and long thought to be a problematic area near campus, will be overhauled to integrate existing music venues with buildings redeveloped for living space and new businesses.

 

And though Enns said he knows the entire process will take a long time to complete, he is optimistic as to the final results.

 

"It isn't without its growing pains," Enns said. But, after research and development he said the Uptown neighborhood could become "the passport to the world without leaving home."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

© Copyright 2006 The News Record

 

Link:

http://www.newsrecord.org/media/paper693/news/2006/03/09/Spotlight/Building.Outside.The.Box-1660622.shtml?norewrite&sourcedomain=www.newsrecord.org&mkey=1878431

 

 

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When are they going to knock down the remaining suburban fast food joints with graffiti all over them?

 

You mean the bldgs. across the street, and those are part of a different phase of this large redevelopment effort.  In the latest press release (seen earlier in the thread) it states that construction will begin on McMillan Park this December.  This would mean that those one or two structures left will be gone in the near future in order to prep the site for construction.

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^ I understand but one would think they would demolish the blighted fast food joints ASAP.

 

I am on Calhoun St. quite frequently, and to my knowledge there is only one of those fast food bldgs. remaining and that is due to the eminent domain battle that has just recently been resolved.  The site is a pile of rubble that is very unattractive and needs to be taken care of.

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There are actually TWO buildings that are still standing :-D...a boarded up Hardees and a boarded up Arby's...

 

I agree this needs to be taken care of a s soon as possible

 

 

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McMillan Park (across the street) should be starting construction in the near future.  Here are some renderings that I found on UC's website.  I dont believe that these have been posted before so here goes:

 

view.asp?infoID=3638&photo=image3

 

 

view.asp?infoID=3638&photo=image4

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WOW...thats awesome!!!  I love the design of the bldg.  Hopefully this design will stick.  It appears that the bldg. is going to be 12 or so stories.  That will be easily viewed from downtown and the river....I LOVE IT!!!  I'm most happy with the design, it really looks great! :-D

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This design does look impressive. It will surely position uptown as a premier place to live and play. I hope that construction starts as soon as possible.... :-D

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Another store for this developing area:

 

They carry U.S.-made clothing

BY JOHN ECKBERG | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

 

CLIFTON HEIGHTS - Clothing made by Americans in a factory in Los Angeles - and not in China or South America - will be sold at an American Apparel store coming this spring to 243 W. McMillan St.

 

The clothing chain, which opened its first retail store in 2003 in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles and now has more than 200 stores nationwide, will employ about 15 full- and part-time workers when it opens sometime before June.

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^ awesome news! 

 

i'm a big fan of american apparel and they only opened here in DC within the past 5 months or so.  didn't expect to see it in Cincinnati for a while.

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I don't quite get it....do they just sell plain colored shirts....like t-shirts...are they cool looking or are they just colored hanes t-shirts.....i guess i just don't get it :wtf:  GO USA

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@ UCPlanner -- Check out americanapparel.net

 

American Apparel is sort of like a hipster GAP.  They are very high quality and have a Europeanish slimmer (or retro American) cut, not like modern tees which are made for ballooning Baby Boomers. I've used their shirts as stock for some shirts I printed.

 

<Shameless self plug>

Speaking of those shirts, they were in the Best of Cincinnati issue of CityBeat! Best Hometown Pride Clothing: CincinnaTees. Setting aside the fact that that sort of made-up "Best" is what has diluted the Best of issue, it's still pretty neat to get recognition for something I made.

 

bestofcincinnati.com/goods.html

 

Scroll down for the CincinnaTees.

 

If anyone here is interested, I've still got some available. PM me if interested. Grasscat or other admins, maybe we could work out a deal for UrbanOhio members where part of the proceeds go to hosting fees. And if it's not cool to self-promote in this way, feel free to delete this post.

 

</Shameless self plug>

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Seems like a very cool store.  I didnt realize how cool the store really will be until checking out the site.  It also seems to be a very selective store, in terms of location.  They are only located in urban areas and only have stores in select cities....around the world.

 

Its good to note the Columbus has one and Cleveland and Cincy will be opening stores this spring!!!

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I don't like the little strip of trees they added in the center of Clifton avenue. It just doesn't look right. I think it's because the island that the trees are planted on is so thin but it just looks way out of context. I can't wait to see the end result of Calhoun and McMillan though.

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Well, let's hope this is just positioning in the newspaper.  There is no way UC is going to let this not happen.  It is a huge eyesore and looks like crap to any visiting high school students.  UC needs to have it completed and soon!

 

Huge UC project might be dead

'The rug was pulled out from under us'

Cincinnati Business Courier - July 7, 2006by Dan MonkSenior Staff Reporter

 

Rising costs and skeptical lenders might deal a death blow to McMillan Park, a $100 million condominium development planned for the Calhoun Avenue corridor, south of the University of Cincinnati.

 

The nonprofit development group that has been planning the project for more than five years claims its lending partners -- which include the University of Cincinnati and the Uptown Consortium -- are changing elements of the project's financing plan, a move that could force them to scuttle the project altogether.

 

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/07/10/story1.html

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"My guess is there's enough commitment there to make a deal happen," she said. "There's been too much invested to just say forget it."

 

You're damn right......ITS A HOLE IN THE GROUND!!!!!!  How is the Calhoun St Marketplace and University Park Apts supposed to succeed with this piece of crap across the street.  I think/hope that this will get started in the near future!

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