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Cincinnati: Fountain Square: Development and News

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The fountain faces west because of Cincinnati's nickname as "the Queen City of the West" and serves as an important gateway for motorists approaching on Fifth Street.

 

if this is the case, then shouldn't the fountain face east, as to welcome people heading westward?

sounds like an afterthought to me. the whole plan is a joke anyway.

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I don't know if I'll be able to attended or not but the next Fountain Square meeting with the unvailing of the new plans is tonight at the old Crowne Plaza. Hopefully we can get some new renderings here on the board in the next few days.

 

Urbanists and 3CDC

An Evening with Stephen Leeper on the Future of Fountain Square

[email protected]

 

A year and a half ago, the Urbanists introduced to the public John Alschuler's Center City vision. With the help of organizations like Cincinnati Tomorrow, Downtown Residents Council, Build Cincinnati, the Cincinnatus Society and the Urbanists, Alschuler's vision has lead to the formation of 3CDC and the recruitment of its first CEO, Stephen Leeper. This new development corporation caused quite a stir with plans to redesign Fountain Square and Washington Park, two of Cincinnati's most cherished public spaces.

 

Now, after incorporating feedback from two very public forums on the new plan for Fountain Square, 3CDC is ready to unveil the revised Fountain Square plan to the Urbanists. On September 29 from 6-8 p.m. at the NEXT Hotel (formerly the Crowne Plaza), you'll get the first chance to offer insights on, or ask question about, the new plan.

 

Who should the square be designed for--urban dwellers or tourists? Why do they have to move the Fountain for $2.3 million (it's not for aesthetics)? Would you rather see retail or al fresco dining on the square? What are the plans for the Westin atrium--wouldn't a big bookstore/cafe be nice?

 

Whatever your passion, come connect with other Urbanists and share with Stephen Leeper your vision for the heart of our downtown. Christine Schoonover has generously offered to provide complimentary food and drink so we can settle in for a nice chat with Mr. Leeper.

 

We hope to see you all there.

 

 

--i--

 

 

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

WHO:

URBANISTS MEETING

An Evening with Stephen Leeper of 3CDC

 

TOPIC:

Discuss the Future of Fountain Square

 

DATE:

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

 

TIME:

6-8 pm

 

LOCATION:

NEXT Hotel and Residences

15 W. 6th St.

DOWNTOWN

Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Nobody liked it.  Everybody bitched.  Back to the drawing board.  So far Leeper is getting no love for his Fountain Square plan, his foisting of an OTR plan upon the residents with absolutely no public input, and the (erp) Banks...from the 10/2/04 Enquirer:

 

 

Square planning rejiggered

Developer says final version should be ready in early 2005

By Ken Alltucker

Enquirer staff writer

 

The final plan for renewing Fountain Square has been delayed until early next year.

 

The private development group in charge of revitalizing the riverfront through Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), has been tinkering with the plan since releasing an initial version this summer.

 

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/10/02/biz_biz1fount.html

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Guest Cincinnatus

How is putting the whole mess off unitl next Spring "rejiggering" anything? If they want to make some progress they should can that idiot Leeper for a start.

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This is good news. I wonder how drastic the renovation of the facade will be.

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

 

Westin to add dining places

Part of Square redevelopment

 

By Ken Alltucker

Enquirer staff writer

 

An upscale Portland, Ore., seafood restaurant is among the eateries that could find a home in downtown Cincinnati as part of an ambitious plan to renew Fountain Square.

 

Owners of the Westin Hotel hired BHDP Architecture to redesign the hotel's lobby and Fifth Street facade to make room for at least two restaurants, outdoor dining and potentially other uses to revitalize the square's south side.

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McCormick & Schmick!  WAHOO!


"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 haven't heard anything one this in awhile, but I did have a thought after doing some reading.  What about redeveloping one of the towers right on the square into residential?  Think about this:

Fifth Third moves it's headquarters to the yet to be built second tower of Queen City square giving them a prominent place in the skyline near the river.  The current Fifth third tower gets redeveloped into retail, small services oreinted business and restaurants on the lower two levels and residential on the upper levels (apartments and or condos).  This plan would provide the population right on the square to create the lively atmospehere so desired.  Large businesses that close at 5, retail stores and 2 hotels nearby are not enough.  You need a core group who have the square as their own personal living room.

 

I might be off base with this idea, but just thought I would see what others think.

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I haven't heard anything one this in awhile, but I did have a thought after doing some reading.  What about redeveloping one of the towers right on the square into residential?  Think about this:

Fifth Third moves it's headquarters to the yet to be built second tower of Queen City square giving them a prominent place in the skyline near the river.  The current Fifth third tower gets redeveloped into retail, small services orenited business and restaurants on the lower two levels and residential on the upper levels (apartments and or condos).  This plan would provide the population right on the square to create the lively atmospehere so desired.  Large businesses that close at 5, retail stores and 2 hotels nearby are not enough.  You need a core group who have the square as their own personal living room.

 

I might be off base with this idea, but just thought I would see what others think.

 

There's an 8 story building on 6th, next to the CAC that is being developed into condos.  It's right across from the 5/3 building.  I don't see the 5/3 building as somewhere I'd want to live.

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The people who work in the 5/3 building add a lot of liveliness to the square, especially during the summer.

 

I think the building is too large for residential development, especially when there is a slew of smaller buildings with more character that would make great residential conversions.

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This article appeared in the 2/23/05 Cincinnati Post.  Nothing really new, just a timetable:

 

 

New look Square possible by 2006

By Kevin Osborne

Post staff reporter

 

Cincinnatians could see a dramatically different Fountain Square by spring 2006 if a private development company's plans are approved by city officials.

The nonprofit Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. -- also known as 3CDC -- told city officials Tuesday that it is finalizing designs to reconfigure the square and will release a detailed proposal in late March or early April.

 

http://www.cincypost.com/2005/02/23/square022305.html

 

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A downtown bookstore would be great!  From the 4/23/05 Enquirer:

 

 

Bookshop weighs Fountain Square

Joseph-Beth talking with 3CDC

By Cliff Peale

Enquirer staff writer

 

Joseph-Beth Booksellers is talking about putting a location near Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati.

 

"We'd like to do something," owner Neil Van Uum said. "If it was the right deal put together and we were fronting the square, we'd sure look at it hard."

 

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050423/BIZ01/504230335/1076/rss01

 

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Joseph-Beth owner Van Uum considers opening high-profile downtown bookstore

Lisa Biank Fasig

Courier Staff Reporter

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, the chain of specialty stores that markets best-sellers, bath salts and burgundy, is in discussions to open a location downtown and could be weeks away from an agreement.

 

The store, which could be located in the Fountain Square district, would be about half the size of its location in Norwood at Rookwood Pavilion, said Neil Van Uum, owner of the Cincinnati-based chain. He said he has been in discussions with several property owners and the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., or 3CDC, the group charged with revitalizing downtown development.

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From the 5/8/05 Enquirer:

 

A Gathering Place

City leaders hope the new plan for Fountain Square will enhance the appeal of downtown

By Cliff Peale

Enquirer staff writer

 

As they prepare to unveil their plan for Fountain Square in the next few weeks, business and civic leaders have settled on a vision. They see a people magnet swarming with shoppers and diners, a reinvigorated gathering place filled with life well into the evening hours.

 

Visitors shop at a bookstore, then stroll over to a coffeehouse. They enjoy a drink after work with friends at Rock Bottom Brewery or take in dinner at a restaurant such as McCormick & Schmick's before a play or gallery showing.

 

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050508/NEWS01/505080411/1056/rss02

 

 

Fountain Square Historic Photos

Fountain Square diagram (PDF)

 

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Hmmmm, no mention of the 5th and Race site.  I think it is more important in the retail sense due to the fact that it can hold a huge anchor; and if something doesn't happen soon, you may see Sak's use it as leverage to either close or get more money to stay open.

 

 

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I loved this one:

 

Wasting water

With parking being so limited in the city, why waste the space with a fountain that also wastes water? Remove the fountain and put in a new parking garage.

Chris DiBennedeto, Clermont County

 

I trust the guy's joking...

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I agree with the guy that thinks the design has too much trees and that it needs to be more like a European square. I mean it is an urban envrionment and an urban square not a rainforest.

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I received this email and thought some of you might be interested in attending.

 

Dear Urbannatians:

The Urbanists are back!  After a long hiatus, we've got something special

for you--the chance to be one of the first non-Council members to hear

details of 3CDC's revised comprehensive plan for Fountain Square.

On Wednesday, June 1st, from 6-8 p.m. at McFadden's (formerly Nick & Tony's)

on 7th Street between Walnut and Vine, you will see the vision as presented

by Steve Leeper himself, president of 3CDC.  Steve needs our feedback and

ultimately our support if we want to see Fountain Square become the

entertainment center of our city.  Imagine cafes, nightclubs and a bookstore

ringing a newly green Square...now is the time to make it happen and support

the residential renaissance happening downtown.

McFadden's owner Tommy Flynn, someone who has put his money where his heart

is, has agreed to provide his 400-person back room, free appetizers and a

cash bar so that we can enjoy this urban focus group.

We hope to see all of you for this one-of-a-kind event, where our network of

passionate urban advocates can have fun and make a difference at the same

time.  And watch out for more emails (I'm just getting rolling again) and a

summer Urbanist party--we've got some big plans to liven up our side of the

Purple People Bridge for at least one hot night.

Take care everyone--it's good to be back.

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I agree with the guy that thinks the design has too much trees and that it needs to be more like a European square. I mean it is an urban envrionment and an urban square not a rainforest.

I've never been fond of totally treeless plazas, but I agree that too many trees are bad.  I think for a square like this most of the trees should be kept to the north and east edges (i.e. the edges that do not face streets), and they should be relatively small trees.

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I also agree that with the guy about the trees and the European influence.  I hope the parking garage guy was joking. Since when is the Visitor's Bureau moving.  I thought that was a nice addition.  I hope they don't kick everyone out just so the whole thing can sit empty for years without tenants.  That area really needs help though.  The Westin lobby needs to be gutted. 

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From the May 20, 2005 print edition

Square revival detailed

3CDC plan envisions bustling hub of activity

Dan Monk and Lucy May

Senior Staff Reporters

 

When the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. takes the wraps off its top-secret Fountain Square plan later this month, local business and civic leaders will see two important new elements: an operating plan and itemized bill.

 

"Downtown's not dead. It just goes to sleep early," said Jeff Ruby, one of several restaurateurs being courted to fill retail space on and around the square.

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From the Business Courier

 

 

From the May 20, 2005 print edition

Our Opinion

Not just another grand plan

 

Someday, an enterprising person will open a museum with exhibits consisting entirely of architectural drawings of Cincinnati projects that were announced with great fanfare but died for lack of funding. Since the city specializes in grand but ephemeral visions, there would be no lack of material. Admission fees could be used to actually make one of the plans a reality.

 

In the meantime, Cincinnati Center City Develop­ment Corp. (3CDC) will in June present a second plan for the revamping of Fountain Square -- with a financing plan attached. And this is not of the "OK, city, give us some money" genre.

 

As Senior Reporters Lucy May and Dan Monk report in this week's Courier, 3CDC wants to use parking fees to help pay for the square, which will be given a more congenial look and will be ringed, it promises, by stores, eateries and other venues that will draw crowds to the city's center.

 

The details of all this await 3CDC's announcement, when it hopes to have letters of intent from prospective tenants, as well. The group is wooing eateries like Jack Ruby's and Simone's, an upscale café in East Walnut Hills.

 

That includes whether the fountain will be moved, a highlight of the last plan opposed by practical Cincinnatians, who like it just where it is, thank you.

 

And the plan also will have details on how the square will be used, with what sounds like some innovative ways to provide entertainment and events.

 

While there are some controversial aspects to 3CDC's plan, the fact that it is actually grounded in reality is enough to make us want to support it wholeheartedly.

 

And, whether the fountain is shifted, we believe Fountain Square has much more potential, in keeping with the changing patterns of downtown life.

 

In the 1960s, when the square was first unveiled, people came downtown to work and shop. So, being state-of-the-art for its time, it's the perfect place to sit down for a few minutes, eat your lunch and people-watch.

 

But now, people are coming downtown to live. And they need a place to hang out, not just for a few minutes but for an afternoon or evening.

 

That's where a Fountain Square with cafés, more outdoor seating, more accessibility and entertainment will meet that emerging need.

 

We eagerly anticipate 3CDC's completed plan and Cincinnati City Council's abdication of any monkey wrench-throwing that might hold it up.

 

In short, nothing should stand in the way of an organization with a funding plan.

 

 

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Guest Cincinnatus

^ What a stupid editorial!  If you can pay for it, you can do anything you want to Fountain Square?  It is still public property, not a playpen for the rich to redo whenever and in whatever way they want. 

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From the 5/26/05 Enquirer:

 

 

Fountain Square ideas to be aired

By Gregory Korte

Enquirer staff writer

 

City Council will give citizens three opportunities to see and comment on the Fountain Square plan, beginning next week, Finance Committee Chairman John Cranley said.

 

A special joint meeting of the Finance and Community Development committees on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

 

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050526/NEWS01/505260371/1056/rss02

 

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From the 5/28/05 Cincinnati Post:

 

 

Fountain Square details coming

By Kevin Osborne

Post staff reporter

 

After nearly a year of planning and getting public input, a development group will unveil details next week about a proposal to redesign downtown's Fountain Square, including cost estimates and possible business tenants.

 

New amenities likely could include an open-air fresh fruit and produce market, a year-round ice skating rink, an eatery operated by area restaurateur Jeff Ruby and a jazz club.

 

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050528/NEWS01/505280340

 

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The fact that 3CDC's moving so quickly on this leads me to one of two conclusions: (1) They have all the details worked out and tenants ready to move in, as opposed to the normal wishful thinking; or (2) They need this thing done so they can reel in any potential tenants before they realize how long it takes us to get things done around here(or in the alternative, before any potential tenants realize what a bunch of fine, upstanding and competant individuals we have running our city government). Either way, I'm exciting because it really looks like this is going to happen. Of course I should probably reserve further comment until Knockout Reece and Slitherman get a chance to berate 3CDC for failing to compensate for the Honduran Gang threat or some other nutty, off-the-wall assertion. 

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Revitalization project would close city's heart for year

 

By Cliff Peale

Enquirer staff writer

 

PAYING FOR IT

How the proposed reshaping of Fountain Square would be funded

 

$15 million: Mortgage through Fifth Third Bank.

 

$10.75 million: New Market Tax Credits.

 

$4 million: Loan at below-market rate by Cincinnati Equity Fund.

 

$4.9 million: Corporate contributions, mostly from Fifth Third Bank.

 

$4 million: Ohio Urban Redevelopment loan.

 

$4 million: City of Cincinnati.

 

Total : $42.65 million

 

Source: Cincinnati Center City Development Corp.

 

http://news.enquirer.com/assets/AB4275531.PDF

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Restore square as our people magnet

Editorials

 

 

At the heart of most great regions, you find a vibrant square packed with people at all hours and seasons. This morning, Cincinnati City Council will be handed a much-improved plan to restore Fountain Square as that kind of gathering place. If developers can deliver on this plan, it should re-energize the heart of Cincinnati's central business district, and also provide more proof that Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky's comeback is for real.

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City Council mostly happy with concept

But few such proposals make it through unchanged

 

By Gregory Korte

Enquirer staff writer

 

YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK

City Council will give citizens three opportunities to see and comment on the Fountain Square plan beginning today.

 

Special Committee of the Whole meeting today at 10 a.m.

 

Public hearing at 5 p.m. June 6.

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I'd caution that materials are going to be critical. I don't want to see any sort of poured concrete made to look like brick or any such nonsense.

 

Can someone please explain this obsession with ice-skating? Why give up so much main plaza space? I suppose since it's winter, not much else would be going on, but still. I'm happy to say that is now my biggest complaint with the design.

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