Will Cincinnati hit another home run with Tower Place redevelopment?

Cincinnati’s efforts to transform its center city are being noticed nationally, and the recent sale of Tower Place Mall is just the latest action made by the City that is turning heads elsewhere. The question now is will Cincinnati hit another home run with Tower Place Mall as it has with Fountain Square, Washington Park, The Banks, Smale Riverfront Park, and Fort Washington Way? More from Bloomberg Businessweek:

The city has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into a major transformation that’s still under way. It began in 2006 with the reopening of downtown’s central Fountain Square after a $49 million renovation. Developers have spent more than $600 million on new apartments, restaurants and a park in the half-mile space between the Bengals and Reds stadiums. A $322 million, 41-story office tower that’s now the city’s tallest opened last year. And on Monday, a 156-room boutique hotel had its grand opening following a $51 million renovation.

Also in the works is a streetcar connecting several popular downtown-area spots slated to open in 2015 and a $400 million downtown casino set to open in the spring. In the nearby Over-the-Rhine historic district, dozens of shabby but beautiful buildings have been transformed into bars and restaurants popular among yuppies and hipsters, and a once crime-prone park underwent a $48 million overhaul to become one of the city’s favorite spots for concerts, outdoor movie viewings and flea markets.

As those projects thrive, popular retailers like Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret and Chic-fil-a fled from Tower Place mall, which sits in the heart of it all. Just a handful of businesses still operate at Tower Place, and foot traffic is low even during the holidays.

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  • I would rate Ft Washington Way a triple until the decks are covered and developed but yes hopefully Tower Place will be a homer!

  • Tower Place is going to be a really tough turnaround for anybody to tackle, let alone the City. I’m a little skeptical that it can remain all retail and work like Kathleen Norris alluded to in your podcast. With 3CDC adding more retail at the new dunhumby site and whatever the 2nd phase of the Banks gets, it’ll be an even more uphill battle. There’s also plenty of office competition surrounding it, already a hotel connected to it, and new residential at the Reserve across the street. What other uses are there? Storage? Data Centers? Fitness Center(although Atrium 2 just got one)?

    Maybe one day the City will use it for downtown’s subway station (instead of digging up Fountain Square again). That’s really the best idea I’ve got, but I doubt it’s on the City’s agenda.

  • There’s definitely a need for more residential in the area, but it certainly seems like it would be a hard conversion. I’m sure something positive will happen though.

  • J Noll

    I think it would lend itself well as an indoor water park or indoor recreational facility with indoor rock climbing/ indoor mountiain biking etc. That might be a good option to take a fill a void in the city

  • zschmiez

    Piggybacking on Matt Jocobs comment;

    Crazy idea of the day:

    Run the streetcar THROUGH Tower Place.

    couple that with ANY form of residential in the current building and it has to look appealing. Just imagine being able to go from your front door to Senate or Findlay or GABP in just a few steps.

    • Are there even any windows besides the skylight? A great second casino site (a la Cleveland’s Tower Mall) with the train station in the basement.

  • The national chains pulled out just as the downtown rebound was beginning, or at least before it was becoming clear. With the great collapse in 2008 many national retailers pulled out of their less profitable locations, as well. With online shopping, same day delivery, and declining wages, it is impossible to recreate the heady days of the late 90s and early 2000s for retail. One of a kind stores and services is probably the best bet, plus heavy and coordinated promotion. Personal shoppers, fashion shows, a ‘wedding mall’, unique collection of children’s toys and activities, spa/salon, pop-up stores, etc.

  • charles ross

    Missing a major point here – the Skywalk. Tearing it down may have helped some things but it starved Tower Place. I think several parts of the Skywalk that were removed should have been kept and it was especially great in bad weather.