Second phase of construction looms for The Banks

With the phase 1A of The Banks development now at capacity, the development team is gearing up to start construction on the next wave of vertical construction.

Project officials now say that there is a 60-person waiting list for the 300 apartments and 92 percent of the 96,000 square feet of retail space at The Banks are occupied. At the same time, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have finished work on the public infrastructure that will lift future phases of The Banks out of the Ohio River’s 100-year flood plain.

Developers are optimistic that work can soon begin on phases 1B and 1C which include an office tower at Second Street and Walnut Street, and a hotel at Freedom Way and Main Street.


Phase 1A of The Banks development is already at capacity, and investors are gearing up for construction of the next wave of buildings. Photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

“We are in active discussions with potential hotel developers, and we’ve been out there trying to sell that office pad site,” explained Libby Korosec, Public Relations Representative for The Banks development team. “The office market is tough in downtown Cincinnati right now with the Great American Tower coming online.”

Korosec says it will more than likely take a 60 to 70 percent pre-sale on the office building to make it a reality, but that they are moving forward with plans for phase two which will include another 300 apartments and ground level retail.

The second phase of work will take place along Vine Street in between Second Street and Freedom Way, and work is expected to break ground in December 2012. In addition to phase two work, passerbys will most likely see work begin on the second restaurant building pad in front of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the near future.

“The Freedom Center pads are part of phase one work, and we are in active discussions for the other pad site to compliment Yard House,” Korosec told UrbanCincy.

While phase 1A retail is nearly fully leased, all of it is occupied by bars and restaurants. In early 2012, the project’s commercial leasing agent said that has been the target tenant thus far, but the development team is now saying there may be some flexibility to that leasing strategy.

“Phase two will be mixed with retail of some type, but we’re not sure if it will be the same mix as phase one, or more of a service retail mix to service The Banks and Downtown,” Korosec clarified. “We’re out there right now taking a look at what that mix is, and what kind of density we want to build.”

Once complete, The Banks will be the region’s largest mixed-use development and will house more than 3,000 new residents. The economic impact of phase 1A work is already estimated at more than $91 million annually – a number that will grow to $276 million once the office tower and hotel are complete.

  • No mention of the fact that phase 2 will look identical to phase 1. Dissapointing for a city with such great architecture elsewhere.

    • I actually asked about the design of the next phase of construction, and was told that it has yet to be determined. Certainly it will look somewhat similar, but it will also be determined by the final building masses and types of end users.

    • nitpick but, no such thing as an end user, except the last tenant to occupy before tearing the thing down.

      Those that developed this city knew that, at least subconsciously, and we’d do well to practice today with that understanding.

      “A building is not something you finish. A building is something you start.” -Stewart Brand

    • Good point. In that case, they’re waiting to see what the first users they either sell or lease the space to will need. Ultimately that will also determine the design of the hotel and office tower as well.

    • Ronney (Queen City Disco) and I were discussing this one night walking to USBank Arena. If its successful no one will really care what it looks like.
      I’ve already forgotten that everyone hates it. (mostly)

    • You’re right. The people that don’t care how buildings looks still won’t care. But I think it’s a letdown compared to all the great low rise buildings in downtown, OTR and Covington. Maybe I shouldn’t compare it to traditional neighborhoods since after all it is a development.

    • That said, I’m still disappointed they didn’t try harder.

    • I actually like the rendering provided for the office. Has a nice Miesian quality and should add some diversity to the skyline.

    • Cincinnati Zoning Code only allows one “Primary Tenant” or designee to brand the building with signage.

    • All the renderings I’ve seen show almost an identical buidling type for the apartments. Massive buildings with oversized loading docs and no detail at the ground floor level.

    • I share your sentiments about the sterility of design at the street level. From a distance the only built evidence that there are bars and restaurants in the development is the signage, which at certain angles is invisible. Hopefully crowds of patrons will continue to be the giveaway.

  • Mark Christol

    Is there even a chance a business owner could get a Trollope Bazaar type of building down there?

  • One last thought on the Banks. Though it’s great that occupancy is filling up, are any of these uses, save for the wine and yogurt shop, there to serve the residents of the development? They’re there to feed of the stadium crowds, which is fine. But residents are going to have to go up to the 4th St Walgreens or across to Sunoco in Covington to pickup any convenience items. I wonder if they’ve had any say in how the ground floor space has been allocated.