Residential development thriving in historic Over-the-Rhine

While Cincinnati deals with the news from the U.S. Census Bureau that the city lost 10 percent of its population over the past decade, there is positive news from the city’s urban core. The Central Business District had a gain of more than 20 percent, while Clifton Heights, University Heights, downtown Covington and Newport, and portions of Over-the-Rhine saws gains of 10-20 percent.

The news is particularly encouraging for Over-the-Rhine which has seen its population decrease from more than 50,000 people at its peak, to roughly 10,000 people today. The most growth in the historic neighborhood occurred in the areas where the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) has focused its energies over the past five years.

“The renaissance of Over-the-Rhine continues block by block and building by building,” says Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “It is clear that people want to live in our urban core and want to be a part of the rebirth that is happening. We are going to continue to restore this historic neighborhood back to a vibrant and active community.”

The next phases of redevelopment in Over-the-Rhine are just now coming to life along Race Street. On Tuesday, March 29 3CDC will gather with the NorthPointe Group and John Hueber Homes to celebrate the opening of Westfalen Lofts. The three previously vacant buildings have been transformed into nine residential units that include townhomes, flats and a single-family residence.

“This is the first development where we have partnered with John Huber Homes,” stated Chad Munitz, Executive Vice President of Development and Operations at 3CDC. “We feel they bring a new look to the historical residential units that we have not yet seen.”

Since 2005, 3CDC has spearheaded the creation of 234 new residential units. Of those 234 residential units, 74 percent of the 182 condominiums have been sold. Additionally, 100 percent of the 52 rental units, with the 32 units in Parvis Lofts being leased in just ten weeks.

Race Street redevelopment photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

  • Ian Webster

    I am one of the privileged tenants of Parvis Lofts, and love it. Hoping to see more rental units on Vine or Race streets in the near future. The demand’s there, just build/renovate the damn things!!!!

  • @Ian: I figured any rental unit development in OTR would fill up very quickly, but then I saw the quality of Parvis Lofts and knew it would be ligthening quick. With that said, I did not think 10 weeks was feasible, but clearly there is a lot of pent up demand for rental living in Over-the-Rhine. I wouldn’t be surprised if another 100 or so rental units could be developed and fully leased without any problem in 2011 alone.

  • Ian Webster

    Well, currently there are plans to build a (from scratch) building on the east side of Vine, slightly south of the Gateway Quarter office (about 13th and Vine). This will have a huge number of apartment units in it, as well as a bunch of parking spaces, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Zack

    Anyone have figures on how many of the condos are actually occupied? Just curious if some of these are being snatched up by an investor ready to squat for a while in hopes they can turn a profit in 2 years.

  • Jake Mecklenborg

    Yeah, the Parvis units are the best so far, and the back patio looks like it will get a lot of use. Some of the more eccentric units in earlier buildings were bad investments because they’d be so hard to resell.

  • I personally know 12 -18 people who’ve moved to the CBD/OTR in advance of the streetcar. I hope that doesn’t slow the momentum if/when it doesn’t happen.

  • Jim

    The development in OTR & central business district is a great and expanding success. If not for the recession, there would be hundreds more condos & apartments. The loss of population problem is killing the neighborhoods that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment of structurally sound homes. The city needs to instigate an aggressive urban homesteading program. Sell the houses for minimum cost to working people who can prove that they can get construction loans and use sweat equity to rebuild neighborhoods. That would be a positive first step to improving the city.

  • There are some non-3CDC rentals in OTR listed on craigslist – quality is of course hit and miss.

    On the question of whether the condos are occupied, anecdotally I know a few people who are renting condos. My guess is there are a handful of investors or unwilling landlords in these buildings, but the carrying costs of having a condo sit empty for a couple years can add up with the condo fees and cost of money.