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Cincinnati: Downtown: Terrace Plaza Hotel

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While all these exterior additions are nice for the street front, they present no solution for the unusable interior space. It would be incredibly inefficient as a parking garage, and it obviously can't be occupied for anything too useful due to the lack of fenestration. Aside from a self-storage facility, I don't think there's a solution without putting holes in the wall. What it comes down to is how big the holes are, what pattern they create, etc... I don't think this building can get redeveloped without creating usable interior space in the currently window-less portion. 

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There are uses that don't require windows along the perimeter. Casinos, arcades, movie theaters, department stores, etc.

 

You can also bring real sunlight down from the terrace level via tubes to make the interior feel less enclosed. The southern side could also be opened up to provide real sunlight.

 

It would make a pretty terrible office to work in every day, but there are ways to make viable businesses without punching open the exterior.

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Here is a suggestion for some of the walled up space in part of the base(from Margy Waller on Facebook) an immersive visual art gallery. Almost like an indoor blink with changing shows. If we had something like this I'd probably check out every one depending on how it is priced.  https://www.artsjournal.com/brightride/2019/01/14/music-makes-art-magic-atelier-des-lumieres/

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I went to an urban putt putt golf course in San Francisco this past weekend. Seems like something like that would be a good fit for the windowless portion of the base. The problem is, there are plenty of individual users that could take some of this space, but it's very hard to think of a single tenant, or multiple smaller tenants, who could fill the whole thing. BTW, does anyone have floor plans for these bricked up floors? Are the floors largely wide open since it was formerly a department store, or are the spaces broken up into smaller rooms?

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I find it so odd that AT&T had a 700 employee call center inside the Terrace Plaza in Cincinnati, one of the few American cities where AT&T never provided telephone service. (Cincinnati Bell is one of only two telephone companies in the contiguous United States that was never part of AT&T.)

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They may not have provided local service, but they were part of the long-distance backbone?  AT&T still owned about 1/3 of the shares of Cincinnati Bell before the breakup, so it's not like they had no stake in the company.   

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Yeah, long distance was the only service that AT&T provided in Cincinnati at that time, as far as I know. There was no AT&T cellular service yet (Cincinnati was covered by Ameritech's cell phone service which later became a part of Cingular, and then finally a part of AT&T in 2007).

 

Speaking of telecommunications companies, another possible use of that windowed space would be a data center. It would be great it a local company like CBTS to occupy that space, but they are probably doing fine with their current location in the Cincinnati Bell building.

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I don't think it's that weird that the call centers were in another city. I've noticed that were you send your utility bills is almost always in a town not served by or not the HQ city of the company. Like, AEP bills go to Canton or something, Vectren bills go to Cincinnati or something, Columbia Gas bills go to Cleveland or whatever, maybe Duke Energy bills go to Akron? It's weird.

 

edit: OK, AEP bills go to Pittsburgh and Columbia Gas bills go to Cincinnati despite both being Columbus-based companies.

Edited by GCrites80s

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1 hour ago, GCrites80s said:

I don't think it's that weird that the call centers were in another city. I've noticed that were you send your utility bills is almost always in a town not served by or not the HQ city of the company. Like, AEP bills go to Canton or something, Vectren bills go to Cincinnati or something, Columbia Gas bills go to Cleveland or whatever, maybe Duke Energy bills go to Akron? It's weird.

 

edit: OK, AEP bills go to Pittsburgh and Columbia Gas bills go to Cincinnati despite both being Columbus-based companies.

It makes for longer hikes for those intending to take up pickforks and torches perhaps? That, or they are just looking for a cheap labor pool regardless what region it happens to be in.

 

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That's like the old trick where 25% of states mail their taxes to the IRS to a Cincinnati PO Box but the IRS is really in Covington. But to save on labor costs Columbia Gas and AEP could put their facilities in Obetz, Groveport or on Columbus' West Side where the same jobs don't pay nearly what they do in Dublin/Worthington/Westerville, Downtown or Grandview. I don't think Cincinnati is quite like that where the same job doing the same work in Milford, Blue Ash or the CBD pays 40% more than it does in Beavis. Maybe Pittsburgh is though. Like jobs closer to Mt. Morris pay half as much.

Edited by GCrites80s

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15 hours ago, edale said:

I went to an urban putt putt golf course in San Francisco this past weekend. Seems like something like that would be a good fit for the windowless portion of the base. The problem is, there are plenty of individual users that could take some of this space, but it's very hard to think of a single tenant, or multiple smaller tenants, who could fill the whole thing. BTW, does anyone have floor plans for these bricked up floors? Are the floors largely wide open since it was formerly a department store, or are the spaces broken up into smaller rooms?

I was hoping for an urban miniature golf course in that little might be a park but I think it's owned by CRC north of Panino.

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As legal battle over Terrace Plaza mounts, the building is literally falling apart

 

Last fall, a chunk of the building fell off, striking a car that was driving down West Sixth Street. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the city is pursuing the owners of the building, JNY Capital, to fix the building, which the Cincinnati Preservation Association calls “the most important Modernist building in Cincinnati” and “the most progressive hotel of its day.”

 

“We’re aggressively going after them for negligence and putting people at risk, literally almost getting three people killed,” Cranley told me. “This is a real public hazard.”

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Developer asks for judgment in Terrace Plaza lawsuit

 

The Indianapolis-based real estate developer that had plans for a massive overhaul of the Terrace Plaza is asking a federal judge to make a partial summary judgment to unwind the transfer of the former downtown hotel.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/01/30/developer-asks-for-judgment-in-terrace-plaza.html


"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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Historic Conservation Board just approved local landmark status for the Terrace Plaza in a 5-1 vote.
 

 

This would provide protections to the building should someone propose a renovation that modifies the exterior or proposes demolition. City Council still needs to approve of this for it to be adopted. I'm not certain, but Planning Commission may also have to approve it before it goes to council. I know they have to approve proposals for historic buildings being renovated or demolished, but I'm not sure if they have to approve the designation.

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Terrace Plaza should get historic designation, panel recommends

 

The former Terrace Plaza Hotel, Cincinnati’s most prominent Modernist building, should be landmarked by the City Council, the city’s Historic Conservation Board recommended Monday in a 5-1 vote.

 

The board heard about an hour of testimony and debate before taking its vote. The final decision will come from the Cincinnati City Council, but first, the city’s planning commission will have a hearing on it and make a recommendation.

 

The landmark designation would add another piece of intrigue to the future of the massive, International-style building at 15 W. Sixth St., which was the first major Modernist structure built in the city after World War II. Its ownership is currently disputed in a case in U.S. District Court, with Indianapolis-based developer Anderson Birkla trying to wrest control of it from New York-based JNY Capital. Meanwhile, the city has slapped JNY Capital with nearly $59,000 in fines for code violations, which its attorney, Brad Kaplan, said the firm is addressing. 

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/02/25/terrace-plaza-should-get-historic-designation.html


"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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The Union Carbide building in NYC, also SOM is slated to be torn down and replaced. I wonder what New York preservationists have to say about that project? It's a stunning building, unlike TPH, which now unfortunately may continue to deteriorate.

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8 minutes ago, Yves Behar said:

The Union Carbide building in NYC, also SOM is slated to be torn down and replaced. I wonder what New York preservationists have to say about that project? It's a stunning building, unlike TPH, which now unfortunately may continue to deteriorate.

 

The current owners stated at the HCB meeting that their current plans for the building don't involve major changes to the facade. Why would this designation prevent it from being renovated? A plan can always be approved despite exterior changes, it just needs to go through one more layer of scrutiny. 

 

Honestly, if you are proposing and multi-hundred million dollar renovation of a building, the HCB approval of your plan is the smallest problem you'll face.

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1 hour ago, Yves Behar said:

The Union Carbide building in NYC, also SOM is slated to be torn down and replaced. I wonder what New York preservationists have to say about that project? It's a stunning building, unlike TPH, which now unfortunately may continue to deteriorate.

 

There is a summation of that in this NYT Opinion piece: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/01/opinion/union-carbide-building-manhattan.html

 

Quote

The news prompted two immediate responses. The first was an outcry by preservationists. That part was predictable; what is surprising this time around was their wistful sense of resignation. Instead of campaigning to save the building, critics are already wading through its ruins, lamenting an earlier age when corporate skyscrapers married design precision with extraordinary material beauty and symbolized the collective spirit of a surging society. No battles will be waged over this building, which is not protected by landmark status: Everyone knows it is a goner.

 

I would say with Terrace Plaza, the situation is different. This building represents a movement struggling to find its footing near the end of the art-deco era. There is plenty in the design of the building to reflect the style and grace of that era. Still, the elephant in the room for me is the 7 stories of the windowless brick facade, which is just bad urbanism, regardless of architectural expression.

 

Sure, landmark designation will help prevent demolitions but it could also constrain efforts for rehabilitation. 


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

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I think this designation is good but also keep in mind that it doesn't prevent the developers from doing anything. I just adds another approval that the developers need to get, as @ryanlammi noted. If the developers come back and say they want to cover the brick section with Times Square-style video screens because that's the only way they can make the project work financially, I guarantee City Council would approve that plan.

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20 hours ago, ryanlammi said:

City Council still needs to approve of this for it to be adopted. I'm not certain, but Planning Commission may also have to approve it before it goes to council. I know they have to approve proposals for historic buildings being renovated or demolished, but I'm not sure if they have to approve the designation.

 

The Planning Commission will vote on the historic designation, however it goes to City Council whether the Planning Commission approves of the designation or not. If Planning does not approve of the designation then City Council has to muster six votes to affirm the designation. If the Planning Commission does approve of the designation then only five Council members are needed to affirm the designation.

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Terrace Plaza owners reveal design team for historic redevelopment

 

The owners of the Terrace Plaza Hotel property in downtown Cincinnati have assembled a design team for a “top-to-bottom” renovation of the historical property.

 

The planned renovation of the building at 15 W. Sixth St. will be led by the Terrace Plaza’s original architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, according to a news release from attorneys representing JNY Capital, which purchased the building in August 2018. GBBN will partner with SOM, along with a team of Ohio-based preservation specialists.

 

Ezra Unger, CEO of JNY Capital, said he thinks the people of Cincinnati will be “thrilled” with the plans.

 

“The Terrace Plaza is a distinctive part of the Cincinnati skyline and its redevelopment is long overdue,” Unger said in a news release. “We’ve put together an incredible team of design experts who will breathe new life into one of the most important Modernist buildings of its time.”

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2019/03/25/terrace-plaza-owners-reveal-design-team-for.html

 

terracehiltonext*1200xx1200-675-0-94.jpg

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"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 is great news, hopefully this one sticks. I feel like the fact that SOM is involved should help ease historic preservationists worries, as the original architect they should definitely respect the original design and why it's important as their first hotel ever.

 

Even if the brick base changes substantially, if it's the original architecture firm proposing those changes it somehow seems more palatable, like they are signing off on the changes (even if the original designer herself is gone). 

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It will be exciting to see the day when the macys store is fully redeveloped again (hopefully into a new tower), and the Terrance plaza hotel fully redeveloped and reactivated. 

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This project has had many owners, architects, and designs. Lets just keep our fingers crossed they can properly enclose the building and save it from the elements. 

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21 hours ago, Ucgrad2015 said:

Would love to see a rooftop bar. Would definitely make it the highest in the city. 

Both the Hotel lobby level outdoor area and the top Gourmet Room level are amazing spaces. I cant wait till they can be redone and shown off for their amazing potential. From the gourmet room level the Cincinnatian Hotel is WAYYYY below you and looks so tiny, plus there are great views everywhere but directly south.

 

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Quote

Is Terrace Plaza Hotel better or worse nearly a year after Cincinnati filed public nuisance claim?

 

As developers battle in court over who owns the Terrace Plaza Hotel and the city awaits trial on its public nuisance case, city officials say the iconic building is deteriorating and significant code violations remain.

 

"All of the conditions that led the city to file the public nuisance lawsuit, the falling of the concrete, the cracks, all those things still exist,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. "The current owner is clearly letting the building deteriorate and not investing anything.”

 

Also:

 

Quote

"All they got to do is fix it. You know, spend money. It's worthless,” said Batsakes owner Gus Miller, who has sold hats to presidents and celebrities for 69 years.

 

Thanks for the insight, Gus.

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The shady dealings of the building selling has angered alot of people in this city. At least Birkla has spent the time, money, and due diligence in order to invest in the property properly. To have the property sold out from under you while you were under contract is messed up. He has a track record of sticking to plans and go through with projects. This umbrella company in NYC just seems like someone buying property to hide money...

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On 1/29/2020 at 2:59 PM, savadams13 said:

This umbrella company in NYC just seems like someone buying property to hide money...


The group out of Brooklyn also has a design for the building that they can implement once the court ruling is complete. Their design is done by SOM (original designers) that doesn't destroy the building's history. That being said, I also hate how long the legal proceedings are taking. Cranley getting involved certainly doesn't help the deal look legitimate. 

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On 1/31/2020 at 11:27 AM, Largue said:


The group out of Brooklyn also has a design for the building that they can implement once the court ruling is complete. Their design is done by SOM (original designers) that doesn't destroy the building's history. That being said, I also hate how long the legal proceedings are taking. Cranley getting involved certainly doesn't help the deal look legitimate. 

Is this design anywhere on the internet? Curious to see SOM's renovation of their own work.

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On 2/3/2020 at 9:52 AM, surpriseitsminh said:

Is this design anywhere on the internet? Curious to see SOM's renovation of their own work.


They haven't made the design public yet, I believe they're waiting until the litigation sorts itself out before they release anything. However, I've seen their design and was impressed with the historical sensitivity and their reasoning behind design/programming decisions. They also seem relatively far along. What they produced goes beyond just a rendering or a rough layout. 

That being said, the characterization of JNY as "buying property to hide money" is pretty ignorant. To me, they seem very invested in making the project happen. Anderson Birkla kept kicking the can down the road and not finalizing any deals, so JNY capitalized on their inactivity and snatched up the property.

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