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Cincinnati: Clifton Heights: U Square @ the Loop

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Hmm...crazy-valuable land, sitting for the time being as a vacant mud hole...you know what, I think the best way to solve this problem is for the city and the county to get involved!

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What jumps out at me is that the story seems to be sourced mainly by Dan Deering. He was ousted from the executive director position at CHCURC over a conflict of interest. I thought he was off the board completely, but he's definitely not in charge. Just something to keep in mind. I'm not saying the story is therefore illegitimate, but I bet something else is up...

 

Maybe Deering is just blowing the whistle on it, maybe he wants to get attention focused so folks are pressured into agreeing to the loan terms he mentions...

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Hmm...crazy-valuable land, sitting for the time being as a vacant mud hole...you know what, I think the best way to solve this problem is for the city and the county to get involved!

 

BANKS  LOL

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turn it into a park, and buy the fryers club to turn into mixed use retail/condo conversion. then build new condos along McMillan on the south side of the street starting at pomidores(sp?) all the way to the fryers club. That would be sweet.

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I wrote an email to UC’s president Nancy Zimpher regarding the situation for McMillan Park. I have emailed her before and she has always helped me to find the answers to my questions. She apparently sent my email to the University Architect for an answer to my questions. Basically no new information  but I know that some people thought that it was important to show another correspondence on the issue

 

The response (nothing really new):

 

Brad,

President Zimpher has asked me to respond to you on her behalf regarding your e-mail of 6/30/06.

I’m sure many people on the north side of Calhoun and those driving on Calhoun or McMillan wonder what is going on.  I’m glad you asked.  The project has gone through several design adjustments and value engineering processes designed to have income from retail, parking and housing equal cost to produce.

Many individuals, the community development board, and consulting firms have and are working very hard to produce an acceptable project pro forma.  Needless to say, as of yet, we haven’t accomplished the task of properly financing the project.

I know that several parties are committed to finalizing an acceptable financial solution and that might mean further modifications to project scope, but I believe it’s in everyone’s best interest to see the “Phoenix” rise out of the ashes.

Thank you, again, for taking time to ask the question and giving me the opportunity to respond with the most current perspective on this project.

 

Ronald Kull

Assoc. V.P. and University Architect

University of Cincinnati

(513) 556-1933 phone

(513) 556-2216  fax

ron.kull@uc.edu

 

I replied by asking him to keep me informed with any new information, as it comes available. so hopefully we hear something good SOON!

 

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Why don't all of us on UrbanOhio flood Nancy's/UC Architects office with emails about our concern for the project/university.  This would hopefully send a message....but who knows....hey Brad, whats that email address :roll:

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<i>This isn't a good sign either.</i>

 

<b>UC eliminates community development coordinator position</b>

Cincinnati Business Courier - 2:39 PM EDT Thursday

 

The University of Cincinnati is scaling back its involvement in redevelopment around its Corryville campus, and eliminating a key liaison with local construction projects.

 

According to an e-mail obtained by the Courier, Scott Enns, community development coordinator for UC, was laid off Monday and his position eliminated, because of the university's impending budget crisis. UC will continue as a lender for construction projects, but will not have any other involvement, the e-mail said.

 

The university had been active in development projects for Uptown, the area that includes Clifton, Clifton Heights, Corryville, Avondale and Mount Auburn. It has lent more than $127 million from its endowment funds for various projects, and has participated in the Uptown Consortium, a development group that has several projects under way.

 

But one large project, McMillan Park, could be threatened by UC's diminishing role. The Courier reported July 7 that UC froze a bridge loan for the $100 million condominium development in the Calhoun Avenue corridor, and it and the Uptown Consortium are evaluating the project (see cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/07/10/story1.html).

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/07/17/daily51.html?jst=b_ln_hl

 

<b>ATTN:</b> Anyone subscribe to the Business Courier? Starting next week, articles online will only be available to subscribers.

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^This is a bunch of crap!!!!!  I know this guy and he's just an awesome person...and great for the Uptown Consortium!  I know some people high up in the university's ranks and I'll get the inside scoop on all of this shit that is going down!

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Budget cuts suck!! but,  i would rather have them fire this person rather than firing 3 professors, or not give out 20 scholarships...they made a calculated ( yes,anti-development) but calculated move none the less. We must remember that while UC is taking large steps to develop the surrounding neighborhood, in a time of budget crisis the cash drawer closes...it'll still get built (i am actually optimistic about this project)..

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This was UC's main relationship point with the Uptown Consortium....UC goes as far as its surrounding neighborhoods go.  If potential students dont feel comfortable/safe then they will not choose to come to UC.  This was the point behind the redevelopment surrounding UC and why they were such a major player for so long.  This cut is minimal I couldnt imagine this guy making any more than $80,000 a year.  That is not much money in the whole scheme of things....the university could have saved this money in a number of other ways, but I guess their priorities have changed from promoting the university and making it a better place (both academically and its environment) to priorities simply focused on a year to year basis.

 

These kind of actions, should they continue, do not bode well for the university in the long run!  Nancy has long had my support, but she is walking a fine line with this one, and is about to receive some of my thoughts!!!!!!

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

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I agree, UC needs to at the least stay involved in the rehab of the neighborhoods around campus, and at the most should be heavily involved and be the proactive leader.  University of Dayton did this and it really stabilized the campus environs.

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This cut is minimal I couldnt imagine this guy making any more than $80,000 a year. 

 

Remember that any salary figure does not include benefits.  This would push the cost of his employement easily above $100,000 at a slary of $80,000. 

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^This is a bunch of crap!!!!! 

 

I agree with UncleR 100%!! What sense does it make to cut a position save $80-$100K (which I doubt) and leave a multi-million dollar project in limbo??  It needs to be seen thru to completion.  I hope the Uptown COnsortium or someone else can finish this project.

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<b>ATTN:</b> Anyone subscribe to the Business Courier? Starting next week, articles online will only be available to subscribers.

 

I took that to mean only the articles in the Print Edition (the ones that appear on Monday morning) will be blocked from non-subscribers.  I think the daily updates will still be available.

 

At least I hope!

 

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^This is a bunch of crap!!!!! 

 

I agree with UncleR 100%!! What sense does it make to cut a position save $80-$100K (which I doubt) and leave a multi-million dollar project in limbo??  It needs to be seen thru to completion.  I hope the Uptown COnsortium or someone else can finish this project.

 

To play the devil's advocate:

 

Should a university fund a position that is non-essential to its core mission in a time of budget strife?  How would this look to a government asking for univerisity's  justification as to why they need more funding?

 

Why do many of you expect a university to move forward with funding a project when they have publicly stated they don't have the funds?  Would you expect the same from a private company?  In my eyes, development shoud only move forward if is is financially feasible and make good sense.  The financial feasibility of any project can change from the time of implementation to completion--which is why many projects get started and are not completed and not just here in Cincinnati.  You don't truly believe that every project proposed for New York or Chicago gets completed?  A project should not move forward just for the sake of taking up space---that goes against all business principals.   

 

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^This is a bunch of crap!!!!! 

 

I agree with UncleR 100%!! What sense does it make to cut a position save $80-$100K (which I doubt) and leave a multi-million dollar project in limbo??  It needs to be seen thru to completion.  I hope the Uptown COnsortium or someone else can finish this project.

 

To play the devil's advocate:

 

Should a university fund a position that is non-essential to its core mission in a time of bugdet strife?  How would this look to a government asking for univerisity's  justification as to why they need more funding?

 

Why do many of you expect a university to move forward with funding a project when they have publicly stated they don't have the funds?  Would you expect the same from a private company?  In my eyes, development shoud only move forward if is is financially feasible and make good sense.  The financial feasibility of any project can change from the time of implementation to completion--which is why many projects get started and are not completed and not just here in Cincinnati.  You don't truly believe that every project proposed for New York or Chicago gets completed?  A project should not move forward just for the sake of taking up space---that goes against all business principals.   

 

 

:clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

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I took that to mean only the articles in the Print Edition (the ones that appear on Monday morning) will be blocked from non-subscribers.  I think the daily updates will still be available.

 

At least I hope!

 

 

But aren't the juicy cover story articles in the print edition only? I hope I'm wrong. I like getting the scoop on these things.

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Things are starting to get a little sketchy at UC.  I don't know what is going on, but just recently I had heard of the 'University' putting a lock on all projects and that Kull had gone too far in some respects...now he is leaving his position.  This comes not so long after the 'University' fired/eliminated Scott Enns position with the Uptown Consortium...to save money in the budget (I'm sure 1 position being eliminated is going to do the trick).  The announcement about Enns was made shortly after money had been pulled out from under CHCURC for McMillan Park.

 

Something stinks around here......and I'm going to get to the bottom of all of this!

 

McGirr, Kull to retire from UC

Cincinnati Business Courier - 1:46 PM EDT Thursday

Dan Monk

 

Two executives who oversaw more than $1 billion in new investments at the University of Cincinnati and its surrounding neighborhoods have announced their retirement from the school, effective this fall.

 

Dale McGirr, senior vice president/emeritus at UC, said he plans to pursue a new career in community development, although he has no specific job in mind. He plans to leave by Sept. 30.

 

Ron Kull, associate vice president and university architect, is also planning to pursue a private-sector career after leaving UC this fall.

 

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/07/31/daily46.html?t=printable

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I think the message over the last year is that UC wants to focus on streamlining administration to cut costs and to focus on its core academic mission.  This has been transparent to the public through the UC|21 goals and in articles in the Enquirer and other publications.  All unclassified employees have been offered early retirement if they qualify--they do not have to take it.  Employees were also told in June through an all university e-mail that some cuts could be made through layoffs.  Given these facts, I see nothing unusual with what is occuring.  The University has a responsibilty to the people and government of Ohio to spend monies wisely and when times are lean to cut back on programs that do not support its core academic mission.     

 

 

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^I understand this and I agree with much of what UC|21 has to say....here is an excerpt:

 

GOAL 5: Establish a Sense of “Place”

Develop an environment where members of the campus community and the community at large want to spend time – learning, living, playing and staying; provide long-term support to build a better Uptown.

 

*We’re All UC – develop a “UC Community” to unify and create a sense of belonging for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

*East-West Connections – build programmatic bridges, people-to-people access and incentives for collaborations and joint programs that promote a unified campus.

 

Here is the link to UC|21 at a glance:

http://www.uc.edu/uc21/ataglance.html

 

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thanks randy, this is getting interesting, that is for sure...i sent an email to Ron Kull thanking him for creating one of the best urban campuses in the U.S. and wishing him luck.. no doubt he did do an amazing job with UC and the uptown area.

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Surprise, Surprise....

 

 

Uptown calls for city to put more money into initiative

Cincinnati Business Courier - August 18, 2006

by Lucy May and Dan Monk

Senior Staff Reporters

 

The redevelopment boom that has changed the face of neighborhoods near the University of Cincinnati needs a massive dose of city funding to stay on track.

 

Tony Brown, CEO of the Uptown Consortium, said a city investment of $50 million would jump-start $300 million in new development in Avondale, Corryville and Clifton Heights. Brown wants the city to issue bonds and spend federal grant money on roadwork, sewer improvements and financing gaps on a trio of major development initiatives along Burnet Avenue, Calhoun Avenue and at the University Plaza shopping center at the corner of McMillan and Vine streets.

 

http://cincinnati.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/stories/2006/08/21/story2.html?b=1156132800^1332951

 

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I did a writeup of Old Saint Georges for my article at Abandoned --

http://www.abandonedonline.com/index.php?catid=335

(Complete with citations and photos.)

 

"Bordered by Calhoun Street and Vine Street, Old Saint George was once a vibrant church, located however in a declining neighborhood. Clifton Heights, immediately to the east of the University of Cincinnati campus, was becoming a blight, an eyesore filled with suburban fast-food restaurants and dilapidated historical structures. Add to this a mix of 1970 and 1980 era structures that are out-of-place and were a haven for grafatti artists and rampant disarray, along with Cincinnati's general population decline, Old Saint George simply could not keep its doors open. Built as a Roman Catholic church in 1873 for just $80,000, a parish school was attached in 1914, and a parsonage and monastery was constructed in 1928. The church began to see its decline as the crime rate nearby skyrocketed and home ownership edged towards 20 percent by the 1970s and 1980s. The church, which once held 1,200, was barely filling a fourth of the seats. It was purchased from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1994 by a volunteer team that was led by Larry Bourgeois who turned it into a community and arts center.

 

But even that failed. It became a place to hold meetings and social functions, but the revenue generated could not pay the rent. Foreclosure was in late 2004 and the 132-year-old church's fate was sealed. The structure was designed by Samuel Hannaford in the style of Romanesque Revival on one of the highest points in Cincinnati. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but big-business came 'a knocking. Walgreens had requested the church be demolished to make way for a suburban-style drug-store.

 

The doors looked like they would be closing to the wrecking ball. The collection of run-down structures across the street, bordered by Vine, McMillan, and Calhoun, were coming down for the new Calhoun Street Project. A mix of retail, student housing, and upscale condos were being constructed just one block over, replacing vacant or decrepit complexes. Just down the street, the powers of eminent domain were being excerised by the city to give control of an Arby's and a few other suburban developments. Those owners had refused to sell or even conduct basic maintenance on their properties.

 

Gone for good?

 

So was Old Saint Georges history?

 

Thankfully not. The church merged the congregation with Saint Monica's, now named Saint Monica/Saint George. The Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. purchased the church property for $1.6 million and did minimal repairs to the roof.

 

In December 2005, renovations began. The painting of the front entrance foyer was the first project to begin. Total renovations, including major work on the plumbing and electrical systems, along with repairs to the roof, are expected to take at least two years."

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nothing ground breaking that we already didn't know.  but nonetheless.

 

McMillan Park project delayed again

 

The scheduled ground breaking for the McMillan Park condominiums has again been pushed back from November to an undetermined date in the spring.

 

"We don't have a set ground breaking for that [McMillan Park]," said Matt Bourgeois, director of the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. "We are still working through some financing issues, but we are hoping for sometime in the spring, that's our target."

 

http://www.newsrecord.org/media/storage/paper693/news/2006/10/26/News/Mcmillan.Park.Project.Delayed.Again-2402009.shtml?norewrite200610261104&sourcedomain=www.newsrecord.org

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It's still unclear to me as to why they insisted on buying all the land first, unless they feared rising property values after the first or second building were complete.  This all could take over ten years to be developed if we dip into another recession in 2-3 years, and of course Inn The Wood and Acropolis Chili, to say nothing of the fast food chains, could still have been operating that entire time.     

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It's still unclear to me as to why they insisted on buying all the land first, unless they feared rising property values after the first or second building were complete.  This all could take over ten years to be developed if we dip into another recession in 2-3 years, and of course Inn The Wood and Acropolis Chili, to say nothing of the fast food chains, could still have been operating that entire time.

 

Well I'm sure that they would have loved to have this project underway already.  That was probably the reasoning behind aquiring those properties so early.  Since then some crap has gone down politically around the Uptown area that they did not originally account for.  Hence the delay; all I know is that the area looks terrible right now the way it is...and to see some construction equipment moving around would be signs of progress/reinvestment for a neighborhood that is in a balancing act right now.

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and to see some construction equipment moving around would be signs of progress/reinvestment for a neighborhood that is in a balancing act right now.

Word

 

 

:|

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This situation pisses me off - I have been thinking the exact same thing - why buy, raze, or let places sit empty when you are not ready to build?  It has already been debated about UC's financial responsibility on this, but I think the project was counting on much more money from the school to get this started.  When they changed their approach when McGirr and Kull "retired" that was probably the kiss of death.  For all the preaching that Nancy has done about developing the immediate neighborhoods around campus, this missing piece of the puzzle detracts from a lot of the new development in other areas.  It is right across the street from UC and does not look that inviting, and I think it hurts the school's chances of landing prospective students.  It actually is the one area that has gotten worse than it was 3 years ago.  I guess I am surprised the school would pull back on the one of the most high-profile areas.

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I wouldn't say that the area has gotten worse since the buildings were cleared.  Does it look worse?  Yes.  But most of what was removed was crap to begin with, suburban style fast food and plenty of run down older shit (yes I know some of this was architecturally pleasing and had viable businesses in them).  No one really knows for sure what happened at CHCURC and UC, the whole Ron Kull/McGirr thing is still shrouded in mystery and no doubt dealt a blow to the timeliness of the project.  However, hopefully soon this area will look a million times better than it did and help solidify the entire Clifton Heights area.  I do think however that there target housing market is reaching way too high, and they should go for smaller, more affordable units.

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