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Norwood: Development and News

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11 minutes ago, taestell said:

Combine that with improvements to Metro Plus providing a frequent, fast connection to Downtown Cincinnati, and you've got a great TOD node.

 

This would be awesome. Right now it takes about 50 minutes to reach Surrey Square via bus from Downtown (compared to 15 minutes with driving, 20-25 minutes if you don't drive on the highway). Having used Metro+ to Norwood (and Kenwood) a handful of times, it's... rough... unless you've got time.  

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2 hours ago, taestell said:

But I don't look at Norwood and think, man they're really killing it there!

 

Unless, of course, the "it" you are talking about is good urban form, pedestrian-friendly, and urban. That is definitely dead!

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“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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23 minutes ago, JYP said:

 

Unless, of course, the "it" you are talking about is good urban form, pedestrian-friendly, and urban. That is definitely dead!

 

And it's a shame. They have great density of housing. With good leadership they could revamp the business district to bring the buildings back up to the road and add mixed use, multi-family type development.

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3 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

And it's a shame. They have great density of housing. With good leadership they could revamp the business district to bring the buildings back up to the road and add mixed use, multi-family type development.

 

I don't think their business district is that bad. Definitely not suburban..could be more urban but they do have that historic stock of buildings in their main business district that also has resturaunts and shops. 

 

The Kroger lot is bad, but that strip mall would not fly in the suburbs. Way to little parking. 

 

Also you have alot of pedestrian traffic from what I've noticed. Lot of kids, families walking on the side walks. It's really not that bad. Could use tweaks and reform but really think Oakley is worse in more ways than Norwood. 

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1 hour ago, troeros said:

Could use tweaks and reform but really think Oakley is worse in more ways than Norwood. 

 

In what way? Are you referring to the Oakley Station Development? It's not great, but it's still better than Surrey Square simply from offering more mixed uses than just fast food and a grocery store. If you're talking about Oakley as a whole including Okaley Square, I fail to see how Norwood "business district" is better.

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2 hours ago, DEPACincy said:

 

And it's a shame. They have great density of housing. With good leadership they could revamp the business district to bring the buildings back up to the road and add mixed use, multi-family type development.

 

Norwood was so beaten down after GM moved out in the late 1980s that they turned to desperate measures like the gigantic Rookwood eminent domain fiasco.  That obviously had nothing to do with improving the Mongtgomery Rd. corridor but rather an attempt to land a few premier taxpaying tenants with I-71 visibility.   

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On 10/23/2019 at 5:22 PM, DEPACincy said:

 

And it's a shame. They have great density of housing. With good leadership they could revamp the business district to bring the buildings back up to the road and add mixed use, multi-family type development.

 

We're about to elect a new mayor, the first time in 17 years or so. Hopefully there will be a shift in the approach to development issues. There is a mindset among some of the multi-generational natives that Norwood is fine just as it is. So the new mayor may have to do battle that segment of the population.

Edited by msred513
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I sure hope so. It seems like Norwood has been on the brink of bankruptcy several times since losing GM and has been willing to take whatever development they can get. If the big shopping plazas including Surry Square and the Rookwoods can be redeveloped in an a walkable urban way, it would be a huge improvement. I would love to see Norwood and Cincinnati get in a battle to see who could do a better job at walkable urban infill projects. It wouldn't be too hard for Norwood to win at the moment.

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Smaller towns sometimes have a big advantage as far as that goes because they don't have certain parts of town designated for this or that. I don't mean zoning either. In the larger city it's more along the lines of "this part of town has a lot of bars" "here's where the car dealerships are" "over here is pretty much all residential" whereas in a smaller town it's all in the same place. When you're in a part of your life where you only need 1-2 bars around rather than 14 and don't wince when you see a Ponderosa you can actually wind up with better urbanism.

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I think Norwood's white trash stigma is watering down.  There is too much money looking for an in-town house for the hillbillies to hold out.  

 

St. Bernard has a much better traditional business district but ironically has worse highway access, despite I-75 crossing Vine St.  The lack of an interchange at Vine has always been a perplexing bit of local road trivia.  

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In the 1980 Census there were fewer than 100 residents of Norwood (population of 26,126) 0.3% of the population. Cincinnati, the city that completely surrounds Norwood, was 33.8% black at the time. 

 

https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1980/1980censusofpopu80137un_bw.pdf

http://sundown.tougaloo.edu/sundowntownsshow.php?id=168

 

 

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2 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

St. Bernard has a much better traditional business district but ironically has worse highway access, despite I-75 crossing Vine St.  The lack of an interchange at Vine has always been a perplexing bit of local road trivia.  

 

But St. Bernard is so tiny that all the residential areas are just 2-3 minutes from the Mitchell exit. 

 

Both St. Bernard and Norwood pride themselves so much on being "not Cincinnati" that they can be really off-putting to those who might otherwise be interested in moving there.  For Norwood especially, you still get crap schools, awful street maintenance, high taxes, and the city is still insolvent.  It's like they're happy to be independent even though they seem much the worse off for it.  "Take THAT, East St. Louis" indeed.

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On 10/25/2019 at 5:09 PM, jjakucyk said:

 

But St. Bernard is so tiny that all the residential areas are just 2-3 minutes from the Mitchell exit. 

 

Both St. Bernard and Norwood pride themselves so much on being "not Cincinnati" that they can be really off-putting to those who might otherwise be interested in moving there.  For Norwood especially, you still get crap schools, awful street maintenance, high taxes, and the city is still insolvent.  It's like they're happy to be independent even though they seem much the worse off for it.  "Take THAT, East St. Louis" indeed.

 

What's the history behind this? They are a very close neighborhood to downtown cincy, so what exactly causes the despise? A part of me wonder if at one point it was fueled by racism and segregation?

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Norwood is an interesting case... like an urban version of Moraine up in Dayton since both are former GM towns, largely built around (and for) the GM plants.

 

When GM left Moraine, there was talk of the town going bankrupt and having to dissolve for quite a while... I don't think that talk died down until Fuyao came in tbh.

 

From an outsider perspective, it seems like with all of the development that has happened in Norwood recently it should be doing great. 

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11 hours ago, troeros said:

 

What's the history behind this? They are a very close neighborhood to downtown cincy, so what exactly causes the despise? A part of me wonder if at one point it was fueled by racism and segregation?

 

Evanston and Avondale were red lined but Norwood was not.  That's how the racial divide came to exist at Victory Parkway to the east and Dana Ave. to the south. 

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5 hours ago, SWOH said:

 

From an outsider perspective, it seems like with all of the development that has happened in Norwood recently it should be doing great. 

 

From what I have heard a lot of it has to do with pension obligations to police, fire, and schools.  

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Pension obligations are more a symptom than a cause.  If they had adequate income those expenses wouldn't be an issue.  Norwood was not a one-company town, its industrial base was a lot more diversified, even if GM was the standout.  The thing is that nearly all of that industry is gone.  Death by a thousand cuts.  Rookwood Pavilion and Commons were industrial sites before, and even though the shopping center is "the new shiny" they're quite low-value buildings and a lot of the sitework is nearly valueless parking lot.  With many fewer and low-wage employees, and I'm sure tons of tax incentives and reassessments over the years, the tax receipts very likely don't even come close to what they used to be, and these new commercial developments still need street upgrades, new stop lights, and all that too.  

 

So really a major issue is that the industrial tax base has withered away leaving mostly single-family housing to support the tax burden, which except in the most wealthy suburbs it can't.  They then seduced whatever commercial development they could to replace industry, accepting whatever deals came along due to desperation, and coming out in the negative in the long run.  I have little doubt that Rookwood (with the possible exception of Rookwood Exchange), Surrey Square, Paycor, and whatever you call that area where GM used to be, are all net negative financial moves.  To boot, what they have left of a walkable commercial spine along Montgomery Road just gets further rundown and eroded, despite very likely providing some of the highest taxable value per acre in the city, because of suburban zoning overlays with density restrictions and excessive parking requirements.  

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A lot of the office space in Norwood also seems to be used for housing "back office functions" which are probably lower paying than many of the more "creative" types of office jobs that are in Downtown Cincinnati. Like I suggested before, if they ever have the opportunity to redevelop Surry Square (currently a suburban strip mall) or Central Parke (a suburban office park) into a new urbanist mixed-use development, they could go all-in on the "live/work/play" thing and actually start to attract more creative and more higher-paying jobs, which will strengthen the city's tax base.

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There are quite a few high-paying medical and finance jobs in Norwood (Mayfield Clinic [spine surgery], Christ Hospital-affiliated offices by the White Castle, Urology Center, etc.), but not anything like what the big hospitals bring to Cincinnati. 

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1 hour ago, jjakucyk said:

Pension obligations are more a symptom than a cause.  If they had adequate income those expenses wouldn't be an issue.  Norwood was not a one-company town, its industrial base was a lot more diversified, even if GM was the standout.  The thing is that nearly all of that industry is gone.  Death by a thousand cuts.  Rookwood Pavilion and Commons were industrial sites before, and even though the shopping center is "the new shiny" they're quite low-value buildings and a lot of the sitework is nearly valueless parking lot.  With many fewer and low-wage employees, and I'm sure tons of tax incentives and reassessments over the years, the tax receipts very likely don't even come close to what they used to be, and these new commercial developments still need street upgrades, new stop lights, and all that too.  

 

So really a major issue is that the industrial tax base has withered away leaving mostly single-family housing to support the tax burden, which except in the most wealthy suburbs it can't.  They then seduced whatever commercial development they could to replace industry, accepting whatever deals came along due to desperation, and coming out in the negative in the long run.  I have little doubt that Rookwood (with the possible exception of Rookwood Exchange), Surrey Square, Paycor, and whatever you call that area where GM used to be, are all net negative financial moves.  

 

It's really, really tough to be able to match the equivalent earnings taxes of that industrial square footage with retail jobs.

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22 hours ago, GCrites80s said:

 

It's really, really tough to be able to match the equivalent earnings taxes of that industrial square footage with retail jobs.

 

Yea, cities still haven't learned that these big retail developments are net-negatives on their tax situations. They take up so much space, and so much of it is for parking. You have to add multi-family housing to the equation if you want it to be sustainable.

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On 10/23/2019 at 5:28 PM, troeros said:

 

I don't think their business district is that bad. Definitely not suburban..could be more urban but they do have that historic stock of buildings in their main business district that also has resturaunts and shops. 

 

The Kroger lot is bad, but that strip mall would not fly in the suburbs. Way to little parking. 

 

Also you have alot of pedestrian traffic from what I've noticed. Lot of kids, families walking on the side walks. It's really not that bad. Could use tweaks and reform but really think Oakley is worse in more ways than Norwood. 

 

Respectfully disagree. It is extremely suburban. It isn't Kenwood or Mason, but it is suburban. No one would ever mistake it for an urban business district. And what historic buildings remain are rundown and the upper floors are vacant. The strip mall has completely ruined the business district. But it has good bones and could be returned to its rightful place.

 

And Oakley has many sins, but Oakley Square blows it out of the water.

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19 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

Respectfully disagree. It is extremely suburban. It isn't Kenwood or Mason, but it is suburban. No one would ever mistake it for an urban business district. And what historic buildings remain are rundown and the upper floors are vacant. The strip mall has completely ruined the business district. But it has good bones and could be returned to its rightful place.

 

And Oakley has many sins, but Oakley Square blows it out of the water.

 

It's not very different from what passes for an urban business district in Columbus, like Clintonville, which is basically Columbus's Northside.

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4 hours ago, Robuu said:

 

It's not very different from what passes for an urban business district in Columbus, like Clintonville, which is basically Columbus's Northside.

 

Right. And Clintonville isn't very urban either. I just got back from DC. I go there every few months and often spend time in the Maryland burbs. There are tons of places that are firmly suburban, but that are 1000x more city-like than Norwood or Clintonville. More dense, better transit (obviously), buildings up to the street, etc.

 

EDIT: The point I'm making here is that despite being firmly suburban, they are better at being urban than a supposedly "urban" place like Norwood.  

 

 

Edited by DEPACincy

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3 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

Norwood and its business district blow away anything in...Nashville.  

 

I don't think Nashville should be anyone's standard of good urban development. Evan so, this is an exaggeration for sure. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Robuu said:

 

It's not very different from what passes for an urban business district in Columbus, like Clintonville, which is basically Columbus's Northside.

 

Columbus' Northside would be Olde Town East, not Clintonville.  Clintonville is like Cincinnati's Pleasant Ridge on steroids. 


"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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^ I was heavily weighting distance from downtown, and factoring in UC/OSU proximity. OTE would be more like Columbus's Newport-West End hybrid.

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Eh, demographically and trajectory it's totally Northside.  Columbus' Newport/West End hybrid is more Driving Park/Parsons (adjacent to the core; mostly African-American/former Italian neighborhood turning around).  Distance from downtown Columbus to Clintonville is about the same from downtown Cincinnati to P. Ridge.  OSU and Clintonville really don't mix, much like UC doesn't really mix with Walnut Hills, even though they are both adjacent. 


"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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2 minutes ago, ColDayMan said:

much like UC doesn't really mix with Walnut Hills, even though they are both adjacent. 

 

UC's instructional buildings still all line Clifton Ave. north/south, which is where the #17 runs, and that's why Clifton Gaslight and Clifton Heights have always been the student and professor neighborhoods.  The #31 connects Walnut Hills and UC, but along the south side of campus, which isn't convenient to DAAP or anything else along MLK.  

 

I believe the #51 used to come over from Avondale along MLK, but I'd have to check an old bus map since it was discontinued around 2012.  

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EXCLUSIVE: Local developer has big plans for former U.S. Playing Card site

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/11/13/exclusive-local-developer-has-big-plans-for-former.html?ana=twt

 

Quote

 

PLK Communities, a Sycamore Township-based owner, manager and developer of residential properties, has a contract to purchase the nearly 21-acre property for redevelopment. The property, which sits along Interstate 71 near the Norwood Lateral, is currently owned by Norwood Beech LLC. Chris Semarjian, managing member of Industrial Commerce Ltd., and his Cleveland-based company purchased the property from Jarden Corp. in 2014.

...

PLK will work to save the clock tower, the smokestack and the original factory that was built in 1903.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, jwulsin said:

EXCLUSIVE: Local developer has big plans for former U.S. Playing Card site

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/11/13/exclusive-local-developer-has-big-plans-for-former.html?ana=twt

 

 

My mom worked there for several years before USPC broke up the union that was in place. I'm glad to see something finally happening with that  property. It would be interesting to see photos of the inside as it is now.

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36 minutes ago, seaswan said:

Interesting. I'm glad to see it being redeveloped, I just hope they don't demolish too much. Better than being abandoned though

 

Based on the description, my guess is it'll be something like this.  I could see the left wing having potential for reuse, but of course I have no idea what it looks like inside.  The wings on the right look to be very chopped up with fire walls and different eras of additions, connectors, etc. 

playingcard.jpg

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On 11/13/2019 at 1:33 PM, jjakucyk said:

 

Based on the description, my guess is it'll be something like this.  I could see the left wing having potential for reuse, but of course I have no idea what it looks like inside.  The wings on the right look to be very chopped up with fire walls and different eras of additions, connectors, etc. 

playingcard.jpg

 

Unfortunately there are serious hazardous material abatement issues with the US Playing Card site.  It's too costly to save many of the buildings as abatement during demolition is significantly less expensive than abating in place.  I doubt they will even keep all the structures shown in blue above in full.

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