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Cincinnati: West End: The Gateway Park District (Union Terminal)

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A vision for Union Terminal

Plan revitalizes, expands facility

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070726/NEWS01/707260384

 

Operators of Union Terminal, home of the Cincinnati Museum Center, are working on a multimillion-dollar plan to renovate and revitalize the historic building, expand the museums inside and create a multi-use retail, housing and greenspace development in what is now the center's parking lots. Museum Center leaders - who lease the 74-year-old building from the city of Cincinnati - have commissioned a highly detailed report, compiled by Philadelphia-based Hillier Architecture and Cincinnati-based Glaserworks, that outlines the plan. In it, the proposed "district master site plan" calls several new and improved features for the approximately 130-acre campus.

 

Specifics include:

 

"The Gateway Park District," a mixed-used development of buildings - none more than three stories high - that would line the existing parking lots on the north and south sides.

 

Greenspace and a park in front of the terminal on what is now a circular drive, plus enhancements on the existing median landscaping.

 

New parking garages on either side of the terminal, with connecting bridges to the main building.

 

Safety improvements to the Dalton Street tunnel that runs underneath the front of Union Terminal.

 

A high-speed rail station on the rear of the building to service future high speed trains, if they are built.

 

More outdoor event and exhibit spaces, and better sight lines for the center from Interstate 75.

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This plan is fantastic in every sense imaginable...This is (imo) as important as The Banks, and could help to completely transform the West End into the neighborhood it once was.  I especially love that they have a HSR station marked on the plan...the return of Licoln Park also excites me!

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This could be a really neat project.

 

I've always thought Union Terminal is the reason I've developed such a love for art deco, so, in a way, I can now say that Jerry Springer is responsible for my art deco attraction. :lol:

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Cool.

 

And don't forget this could be the hub of a later (crosstown) streetcar phase - Museum To Museum - connecting the Museum Center and the Cincinnati Art Museum!

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Outstanding Idea!!!

I have a new found respect for Jerry!      Speechless right now!   Agree with Rando,  could be as big if not bigger than the Banks if somebody gets the ball rolling.  Would look great from I-75 too!

 

Art deco forever,    Stucco never!!!

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yeah, this is really a great vision.  such a building feels so out of place surrounded by modern and run down industral sites.  this project would really make union terminal "pop"

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This is a great dream, but for your own sakes, remember that's all it is. Incredible though.

 

Right now, the most viable parts of the plan are remaking the park in front of the building, with geothermal wells to provide heating and cooling for the building.

 

They're trying to position themselves to benefit from the reconstruction of 75 and any sort of rail development. w

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This strikes as about the most exciting thing that could transform the basin over the next couple decades. Put HSR and a trolley line and this development with a renewed Union Terminal in time for the 100 anniversary in 2030 and you have the core of a fantastic city. Of course it will interesting to see how the 75 rebuild will transform the neighborhoods around the terminal and potentially open up land or seal the center off more than it is now.

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God, that would be nice...


"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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This looks like an exciting plan and seems to help right some of the many wrongs in the area's recent development.  Like everyone else, I'm excited about the possibility of real rail travel returning to such a grand station.

 

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HDR's presentation to city council had a potential spur out to union terminal, that streetcar line could be the catalyst for this development.

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Here is a satellite image of the terminal.  Obviously this reveals a big problem, that several active businesses would have to be relocated.  Also, the approach to the terminal itself rises about 18 feet, forming a formidable wall for any buildings lining the park closer to the terminal building.  On this image you can see where the streetcar ramps rose from Hopkins and Kenner, although I think I read once streetcar tracks were never actually laid through the terminal as was intended.  Obviously using those exact ramps would mean using up some current exhibit space. 

 

unionterminal.jpg

 

Perhaps instead a streetcar track could be run through the redundant third lane of the Dalton St. tunnel and streetcar stops could be placed at the base of one of the old staircases that have been closed for many years:

 

zdalton2.jpg

 

This gives some idea as to what survived surrounding the park after the terminal was built (it also illustrates the tremendous amount of earth that was moved to build the station tracks and their approaches above the flood plain):

zdalton4.jpg

 

An old image of Lincoln Park.  The building at left I believe is still standing:

lincoln-2.jpg

 

Another image of the park:

lincoln-1.jpg

 

And lastly the demolished bridge that carried streetcars to the Art Museum & Mt. Adams (and the incline).  Not sure how wise a line heading between the museums via Central Parkway would be.  Probably wiser to operate two separate lines that both originate at fountain square. 

edenpark-1.jpg

 

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That aerial really illustrates how far a project like this would go in redeveloping the West End...put a cap over that portion of I-75 (thus reconnecting the West End) and then you REALLY have something going!  That would also lead you to having to tear down those crappy aluminum projects.  Those are ridiculously hideous, and have bothered me for sometime.  But that's neither here nor there...

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^If a cap with buildings on it were planned along with the I-75 reconstruction, a lot of money could be saved as opposed to doing later or with no planning in the reconstruction.  Plus it would avoid any opportunity for "signature" cable-stayed bridges!  Still, given the enormity of the cost of the other aspects of this proposal, these would be pretty major caps, wider than the FWW caps.  Perhaps one of the large local companies could be compelled to build some offices over in that area as part of the plan.  As is there isn't enough over there to warrant a streetcar line, but with more residential and some offices, there's more of an argument for it.     

 

Also I forgot to mention where you see the "13ft. 9in." sign, that is actually a bridge structure for the streetcar line:

zdalton2.jpg

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I LOVE the idea, too bad as some mentioned it sounds like too much of a pipe dream.  Those old pictures of Lincoln Park are amazing, what happend to our city?  On a side note, how many "Gateway" projects is Cincinnati going to have?

 

P.S. Long time, first time.

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that old non-flood aerial of UT and vicinity makes me sick every time i see it.  Everything start with a vision and as far fetched as some of these ideas may be...its great that at least someone is thinking about it.

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I LOVE the idea, too bad as some mentioned it sounds like too much of a pipe dream.  Those old pictures of Lincoln Park are amazing, what happend to our city?  On a side note, how many "Gateway" projects is Cincinnati going to have?

 

P.S. Long time, first time.

 

Good to see you've broken out of your lurker status!  This project does seem like a dream more so than reality, but there is one key thing behind this dream.  This effort is being funded by private entities and is not just some plan drawn up in charettes by community members.  Those are good to, don't get me wrong, but those plans often have little financial backing.  This, on the other hand, could potentially have some serious financial/political backing.

 

It seems like a stretch now, but out of nowhere this thing could just happen and be underway...much like the release of this plan.

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It amazes me how dense the West End was in that pic above!     Residentially speaking, it is a hollowed out shell of what it was in the early 20 century.

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What hapened to your city is what happened to many American cities.  Progress in the form of destruction. It really is a shame b/c had such destruction not occured in our cities, I think many American cities would compare very favorbaly to Europe's in terms of charm, archetecture etc etc.  Oh well.  What's done is done and at this point, we can try our best to learn from our mistakes. 

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I just thought I'd make it clear that the Enquirer still hasn't even addressed this story yet...day 2

 

Union Terminal proposal receives positive reviews

BY JOE WESSELS | CINCINNATI POST

July 27, 2007

 

WEST END - An $800,000 study that outlines a multi-million dollar plan to restore and revitalize Union Terminal and create a new neighborhood near it received positive reviews from local officials Thursday, although that was tempered by concerns about whether the project will ever actually happen.

 

"When you think about real estate and you think about development, it's all about location. And the Union Terminal has that in spades" said Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Bortz, chairman of Council's economic development committee. "It's one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. It's beautiful in it's own right. It's nationally recognized."

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I think it could be closer to reality than a dream.    This city has a love affair with some buildings that they seem to always find the funds to save it or in this case invest as a catalyst for urban renewal.     Think of the efforts of this city to salvage UT from the wrecking ball, even Music Hall brought people and money out of nowhere to help save it.   With the internet today and private firms now talking of embarking on projects on there own.       

With the planets lining up like they are!  This has the chance to get started soon and really blow the lid off on everything that will and is happening in the valley .      Banks, OTR, Eastern Ave, Uptown, streetcars, soon to be P-Hill entertainment district, West End projects,  a SUPER BOWL Championship trophy.         

My friggin head is spinning and I have 3 more hours of work to go!!

 

 

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Another issue that allows for this plan to become reality quicker than The Banks is that it will feature much fewer residential units and retail spaces to lease.  It will more than likely have an equal impact, but limiting the buildings to 3 or so stories with small footprints will keep the overall amount of units down.

 

That means that funding is needed to cover the:

 

-UT renovation costs (I doubt that will be much of an issue)

-Parking garages (always a tricky issue, but when teamed with a transit component more funding options open up)

-Park space/converting the parking lot(s) (park funds maybe, reclamation type funds, etc)

-Mixed-use portion (not a huge amount, and the scale of buildings isn't too much)

 

I really think this could be a huge tourist thing for Cincinnati.  The Banks will be a tourist spot too, but this is something different...something Cincy doesn't have.  Picture the International Mall in DC, or Centennial Park in Atlanta.  You could have tourist info shops maybe, possibly another museum type thing, streetcar connection, etc.  That could really be something special IMO.

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By the time UT was built, the West End was in really bad shape. Kenyon-Barr was at the bottom of the picture, which had replaced Bucktown (Eggleston and Sycamore) as Cincy's worst neighborhood. Lincoln Park was also a pale reflection of its late 19th century peak. When you think about historic Cincinnati, it really is important to realize that we once fit about 250,000 people into area not much bigger than that picture. Crazy. I actually think the drawing power of UT and the Museum Center means that you have the draw already there year round that doesn't exist in the Banks. I actually think a school of some sort, or a branch campus of one of the colleges would be a cool idea. A science and humanities school that could use the Historical Society and Natural History Museum.

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^ True.  What's lost in that aerial is what conditions were like at street level.  Think of the worst streets in the West End today, and a good portion of the houses in that aerial were just like that.  The overcrowding would have made Jacob Riis cringe, and the place lacked proper sanitation.  People on an entire block would share one privy, usually in an alleyway.

 

Still, what resulted was a horrible replacement.

 

Instead of calling this "Gateway" (unoriginal), why don't they go back to Lincoln Park?  It's not ever going to be the way it was, but it would be a good tribute to what was once there.

 

On second thought, Lincoln Park might be frowned upon because it might make people think of the projects.

 

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^I doubt that many people remember Lincoln Park as the name of the public housing in that area. I only remember because the CRC had a big pool in that area, Lincoln Pool. I think Lincoln Park would be more historically meaningful especially since Gateway is so overused these days. The West End has pretty much been the definition of poor quality urban management for most of the last 75 years. CityWest is about the only bright spot.

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Yeah, Lincoln Park equates to Chicago or the band (yes I know it is spelled differently UncleRando).

 

Just don't call it 'The Village at Union Termial' and I'll be happy.

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The Homes at Union Terminal

The Terminal Pastures

The Trees at the Terminal

 

let's see what other lame excuses for subdivision names there are...

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I think this obviously the most important project for the west side in a long time. It is very exciting to see the idea of redoing Lincoln Park (the stone bridge is awesome). I have some concerns though.

 

Where would the street car link to in the site, and where would it run too?

                -Potential Broadway Commons Development link?

Is it possible to get the state or feds to pay for a good portion of this because the historical significance, the socio economic importance, and intercity redevelopment opportunity?

 

Is I-75 too much of a barrier between this and downtown? Would it be possible, in conjunction with redoing 75, to burry it from there to the Brent Spence Bridge, to reconnect the west side?

 

Could it potentially be given to a developer with some tax incentives to catalyze the development?

 

Is the $110 million just for structural damage to the building or what does that include?

 

What would the time table for a development like this be? Hopefully not like the banks!

 

I think this is possibly the most exciting proposal on the table and hopefully some people with deep pockets feel the same.

 

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If I remember correctly, some of the realignment proposals actually call for elevating I-75 a bit...none suggest burying it down.  Unfortunately aesthetics and neighborhood impact are of little concern to traffic/highway engineers.

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The folks from UT are very involved with ODOT and other decision makers to try and improve both access and visibility from I75. Right now, it's tricky to get there from the south.

 

As for the repair and renovation needed, I wouldn't be surprised to see $110 million come in at the low end. There's been quite a bit of water penetration from the flat roofs that has weakened the structural steel. It's a big, big job, and not to rain on Rando's parade, but it is by no means a gimme.

 

Hillier's lead architect on the project also led the renovation of the US Supreme Court building and several other historic structures.

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^I'm not sure I ever said it was a gimme...I just said it might not be as much of a pipe dream as it may come off.  My point being that there are some significant players involved that could potentially get stuff going out of nowhere...without the political processes that have slowed The Banks down.

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-UT renovation costs (I doubt that will be much of an issue)

 

That's what I am talking about here. Strictly UT repairs and renovation. This will require funds from the City, County, State, and a handful of federal agencies, along with a huge capital fund raising campaign in the community that would dwarf pretty much anything a nonprofit has tried in recent memory in this town. It will hit around the same time the Symphony will launch a campaign to renovate Music Hall. Museum Center also stated that they would only seek one renewal of the county tax levy, in '09. Given the hubbub about the recent City budget and the tax climate in general, that could be a tougher get this time around.

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^Yes but with that said...it is an iconic/landmark building, and a great example of Art Deco architecture.  When you have places like that - in need of preservation/rehabilitation money - things usually seem to work themselves out in one way shape or form.  Some entity will step up to the plate and ensure that the building gets all of the money it needs in order to maintain it's beauty and history...be it the taxpayers, local/state/federal government(s), private donors, preservation groups or whatever.

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^When you have places like that - in need of preservation/rehabilitation money - things usually seem to work themselves out in one way shape or form.  Some entity will step up to the plate and ensure that the building gets all of the money it needs in order to maintain it's beauty and history...be it the taxpayers, local/state/federal government(s), private donors, preservation groups or whatever.

 

What about the Arcade in Dayton?... things are not always saved, even though they should be.

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^When you have places like that - in need of preservation/rehabilitation money - things usually seem to work themselves out in one way shape or form.  Some entity will step up to the plate and ensure that the building gets all of the money it needs in order to maintain it's beauty and history...be it the taxpayers, local/state/federal government(s), private donors, preservation groups or whatever.

 

What about the Arcade in Dayton?... things are not always saved, even though they should be.

 

Has it been demolished yet??

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Here is an expanded version of this concept that I would LOVE to see done.  This would completely reconnect Union Terminal and Lincoln Park with the rest of the West End.  It also knocks down some of that TERRIBLE low-income housing that sits adjacent to I-75.  The concept also has the streetcar tied in (blue lines), with an expanded Lincoln Park that stretches from Union Terminal to Lynn Street...thus creating a really grand corridor leading up the grand structure.  The idea also caps over I-75 (assuming this is the restructured I-75).

 

As for the knocking down the the low-income housing...I would suggest an affordable housing plan for the West End.  In my mind you could reduce the footprint of the low-income housing by building a little denser than the 2 stories or so now that exist...and then mix it in with market-rate (much like how City West has done it).  I have left out parking structures, but there is more than enough room behind the proposed buildings that could accommodate some garages and/or surface lot combination.

 

I think that this would REALLY help revitalize the West End and help City West and it's new retail spaces fill in nicely.  You could essentially see a complete transformation of one of Cincinnati's most messed up neighborhoods in terms of built environment...Thoughts?

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Rando have you been dreaming about City Beautiful plans for American cities. I love the idea but it looks straight out of the Chicago plans of the turn of the last century.

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Rando have you been dreaming about City Beautiful plans for American cities. I love the idea but it looks straight out of the Chicago plans of the turn of the last century.

 

Guilty!  :roll:  :-D

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Rando have you been dreaming about City Beautiful plans for American cities. I love the idea but it looks straight out of the Chicago plans of the turn of the last century.

 

"make no little plans"

-Burnham

-Chicago

 

worked for him..haha

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