Redevelopment work shifting north and west in historic Over-the-Rhine

The influx of investment in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood has been profound over the past five years. Hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed into the neighborhood introducing new residential units, office and retail space.

Much of that investment has come from the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). To date, the development corporation has rehabilitated or stabilized 74 structures throughout the historic neighborhood, and so far the success has been unprecedented for the long-troubled neighborhood.

Vine Street streetscape photograph by Jayson Gomes for Cincy Images.

More than 77 percent of the 186 condominiums have been sold, 100 percent of the 68 apartment units have been leased, and 64 percent of the more than 91,000 square feet of commercial space has been leased.

The work has primarily been focused in the southern portions of Over-the-Rhine along Vine Street and Main Street. Now development is shifting north and west as the success grows outward from the popular Gateway Quarter of Over-the-Rhine.

In the coming month work will begin on the $51 million Mercer Commons development, the second phase of Parvis Lofts and seven other projects that will introduce 98 additional residential units and another 9,300 square feet of office space.

Interesting to many is the fact that approximately half of them are located on Republic Street – the street where Cincinnati’s infamous race riots began in 2001. The street already boasts two sold-out condominium projects and has seen interest spike recently.

“It seems like every other week, we are opening newly renovated housing in Over-the-Rhine,” stated Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. “The transformation in this neighborhood is nothing short of remarkable, and we are just getting started.”

Photograph of completed townhouses within the City Home development [LEFT] by 5chw4r7z. Photograph of Cincinnati Color Building, by Jayson Gomes, where work will soon begin [RIGHT].

While much of the work taking place includes building projects that are either constructing new buildings or restoring historic ones, one of the most notable projects is the $48 million restoration and two-acre expansion of Washington Park.

Once complete, this project will include a new dog park, civic lawn, a performance stage, playground, splash park, historic bandstand and a 450-space underground parking garage. In all, 3CDC officials say that the amenities are meant to build upon the existing success and provide additional neighborhood assets for those currently living in the neighborhood.

The large investments are not limited to 3CDC though. The $100 million renovation of Music Hall and the $95 million Cincinnati Streetcar both have neighborhood residents and business owners excited about even brighter prospects for Over-the-Rhine.

“The streetcar is so important for the revitalization of this neighborhood,” says Over-the-Rhine resident and property owner Reid Hartmann. “Over-the-Rhine has the largest stock of historic Italianate buildings in the U.S. and is primed for redevelopment, and the streetcar will provide that needed step.”

  • Great photos…but his name is “Jayson”.

  • My mistake…thanks for the heads up Kevin.

    I’m curious about your thoughts on all of this recent work taking place in Over-the-Rhine. Do you like the quality? Are the locations in the right spots in the neighborhood? Would you like to see anything different happening?

  • Schmiez

    I toured about 8 of the condos, and the Bill Baum layouts are much more appealing aesthetically while embracing the older buildings than some of the other restorations.

    More outdoor space (either as rooftop terrace, private patios, courtyards) is always welcome. but maybe that’s less of a factor once the park opens.

  • Aaron

    Curious: are there figures for the rise of urbanization in Cincinnati? I mean, I know it’s happening and I love telling people about it, but has it been measured? That is to say, how many more professionals now live downtown than 10 years ago? It really feels like Cincinnati is experiencing a renaissance, but I haven’t seen it quantified.

  • chuck

    I think we should be focusing less on condos and more on rental building rehabs, due to the trend away from ownership. Just channeling Richard Florida I guess.

    Biz Courier article has 30% downtown growth in 2009.

  • Chuck:

    Couldn’t agree more. The market is riper for rentals, and developers should take the cash flows from the apts. for the next couple years until people are ready to buy condos again.

    And btw, it seems some developers agree:

    On another note: 9,300 sf of OFFICE space? I don’t know what the office market looks like in OTR, but for all the vacancies downtown I would think it can’t be much better just north. Is this first-floor office space that could be leased as retail instead, if the market demands it? Just wondering…

  • The 9,300sf of office space is being developed in the renovation of the Cincinnati Color Building on Vine Street. It appears that like OTR’s retail tenants, the office tenants are different from those in the CBD. Mostly smaller startup companies and the like.

  • ross w.

    It is wonderful to see what is happening in OTR. However, the new buildings at City Home don’t quite make it, at least from the outside. They lack character, they look dark and depressing and very boring, far from representing the name of the street… Pleasant. Color coded? How juvenile. And that hump in the sidewalk is just odd, it might read well on paper only. Not a fan of using soon-to-fade concrete pavers either when they still make bricks – especially for a small space at an existing historic structure. Maybe all the rest is good. But the exterior design is poor. Sorry.

  • Needs the streetcar.

  • The Douches of Hazzard


  • Here are the renderings and some photos of Gateway Quarter Phase V:

  • @Randy:

    Good point. There definitely are more start-ups in OTR, which makes sense due to both the culture of the neighborhood and the lower rental rates. But I wonder how the rental rates compare. At least in the Gateway Quarter, I would think retail would be in higher demand.

    @Anti-streetcar troll:

    Go find something better to do. It’s clear people like you aren’t trying to make an argument, you’re just trying to dirty up the site.

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